Green Beans and a Boulangerie

Starbucks’ recent moves shift from its coffee core

Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher

SEATTLE -- From beer-pouring baristas to its first Evolution Fresh juice store, Starbucks’ mission to “inspire and nurture the human spirit” increasingly means more than a hot cup of joe. Three recent movements further expand its focus beyond coffee to non-coffee drinks, CPG products and even a bakery-cafe brand.

Last week, Starbucks rolled out nationwide its Starbucks Refreshers beverage, an innovative drink that uses green (unroasted) coffee extract and real fruit juice. The drinks, available in Very Berry Hibiscus and Cole Lime flavors, taste nothing like coffee, yet offer its natural caffeine boost.

Already looking beyond the café, Starbucks has made Refreshers available in instant form under the VIA platform at participating Starbucks stores and at starbucksstore.com for $5.95 per 5-pack. A ready-to-drink, bottled line is available in lightly sparkling Raspberry Pomegranate, Strawberry Lemonade and Orange Melon flavors at select grocery locations and Starbucks stores in the United States.

The launch of Refreshers comes a month after news of Starbucks purchasing La Boulange Bakery to help elevate its food offerings while building the La Boulange brand.

Starbucks plans to introduce many of the bakery chain’s products into its U.S. company-operated stores under the La Boulange brand, while also accelerating the expansion of La Boulange’s retail footprint over time in key U.S. cities to “further build a differentiated brand and customer experience unique to the premium retail bakery cafe category,” according to a company statement.

“This is an investment in our core business. After more than 40 years, we will be able to say that we are bakers too,” said Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman, president and CEO.

To bring La Boulange to Starbucks stores, the company will invest in broadened distribution capacities and work with outside suppliers to produce La Boulange products.

Food now accounts for $1.5 billion in revenues in U.S. company-operated stores and has grown by double digits in each of the last two fiscal years.

Meanwhile, the company is also making purchasing all those Refreshers and croissants easier, rolling out its mobile payment app for Android to the U.K. and Canada markets.

Upgrades to the U.S. app include a widget, PayPal support, PIN code protection and a My Starbucks Rewards history dashboard.

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