Business and Operations
From the Editor’s Desk: April/May 2007
By Cam Wood
Time For A New Combo
By Cam Wood
Admittedly, I am a soft drink junkie. It started off
innocent enough, back as a youth with those stubby glass bottles in a
red plastic case from a particular outlet promoted by a favourite NHL
Admittedly, I am a soft drink junkie. It started off innocent enough, back as a youth with those stubby glass bottles in a red plastic case from a particular outlet promoted by a favourite NHL star.
By the time I had reached my teen years, it was a staple in my diet … much to the chagrin of our local plaque-scraping masochist. Every six months, he would pull down that white mask to ensure I could see the full expression of disgust as I received the same lecture about what “soda” was doing to the Canadian masses’ oral health.
But lately, I have found myself falling into what must surely be a commonality among those of my demographic. These days, despite the sweet pull of the carbonated nectar, I am more often than not filled with a slight sense of guilt over consumption.
Soft drink sales are declining for the first time in decades. And the bottlers are positioning themselves to capture the lost market through new beverages, such as coffee-based iced drinks, energy drinks and bottled water. South of the border, where statistics reign, sales of packaged coffee goods are valued at $1 billion US and growing annually with double-digit increases. In Japan, one major soft drink bottler is enjoying market dominance with a coffee drink.
In Canada, daily consumption rates of other beverages are 36 per cent for soft drinks, 53 per cent for juice, 39 per cent for milk, 36 per cent for tea or iced tea and 30 per cent for bottled water.
Whether straight up or on ice, Canadians love their coffee, the 2005 Canadian Coffee Drinking Study shows.
More than 80 per cent of Canadian adults are occasional coffee drinkers and two-thirds have it daily, making coffee the number one beverage of choice, far surpassing other common beverages. In addition, the popularity of iced coffee has doubled in the past five years, with 27 per cent of Canadians now enjoying these hot weather alternatives.
Which leads to the question of: is it time for us to offer a new combo? One of the traditional mixes has been to add-on the 2-litre bottle of pop. And no doubt, sales of this remain steady.
However, does the opportunity exist to repackage such offerings? Are we offering the 2-L combo because it’s an easy package? Because there’s a good margin? Because that’s what our customers want?
Of course, it’s easy to prophesize while secretly sipping on a carbonated beverage from a used paper coffee cup. But as consumers’ habits change rapidly around us, the new marketplace calls for even greater communication with our customers.
What is it that your customers want? Is it that 2-L combo, or is there something else they would like to see offered? The easiest way to find out is to ask … maybe they’ll share a few more profitable ideas over a cup of coffee.•