The new line builds on Chobani’s previous investments. About a year ago, the company started making oat milk and creamers, an undertaking that required major changes to Chobani’s infrastructure: To make oat milk themselves, “we basically built a factory within a factory,” said Peter McGuinness, the company’s president and chief operating officer.
Coffee was a next logical step, he said.
Because of the changes Chobani has made for creamers and oat milk, it didn’t have to do that much more to be able to manufacture the ready-to-drink products, he explained.
Chobani has good reason to get into coffee. Ready-to-drink coffee “has been one of the fastest growing segments of the entire non-alcoholic beverage industry,” said Caleb Bryant, associate director of food & drink at Mintel. According to Mintel’s estimate, the US market is expected hit about $4 billion in 2020, up 7.6% from the previous year.
But it’s also a crowded market, and in launching its new product, Chobani will take on new, bigger competitors.
And others are vying for customers with their own spin on ready-to-drink coffee: Rise brews with nitrogen, Kitu Super Coffee is optimized for a keto diet, and Java Monster is a coffee/energy drink mashup.
To develop an expertise in coffee, Chobani drew from what it learned at its Chobani Cafe in New York City, which sells cold brew coffee. It’s been iterating the product and testing it out with consumers as well, said McGuinness. The coffee is made with premium, medium roast Arabica beans.
The company is confident that its products will gain traction with customers, even though they have so many choices already.
“We love going against big legacy [consumer packaged goods] companies,” McGuinness said. “We did it in yogurt,” he pointed out. “We’re a challenger brand. We like to disrupt and give consumers better choices. So that doesn’t deter us, it excites us.”