Friday, February 10, 2017

Coffee wars.

For a while there it seemed that every cable show was about war. Cake Wars, Cupcake Wars, Storage Wars, Shipping Wars, Parking Wars, Undercover Boss Wars. Why there's been no Coffee Wars show I cannot say, because there are coffee wars and they are heating up, man.

Dunkin' Donuts like to say "America Runs on Dunkin'."

Here's the starting line.

But the number of stores make that claim a bit tenuous. Dunkin' is king in the northeast -- there are more than 500 in New York City alone -- but the almost 12,000 Starbucks in the U.S. is more than Dunkin' has worldwide. Foreign invaders like Tim Hortons and Second Cup, and victim of overexpansion Krispy Kreme, are always circling around, looking for weaknesses in the big guys.

Dunkin' may be #2 in the United States, but it is fighting back. I think it did a much better job at getting its coffee into supermarkets, although it was late to the K-Cup party. Now it's going after some of Starbucks' other supermarket money:

Bottled by Coca-Cola, the iced coffee drink -- a bargain at just 290 calories -- has started appearing in stores near me, anyway. I bought this one, cooled it in the fridge, and enjoyed it.

Sort of. I mean, it's very similar to the bottled Starbucks stuff, in that it's okay if you like milk flavored with a little coffee.

The craziest new weapon in the coffee wars is Dunkin' Donuts Pop-Tarts, a production with Kellogg's. These have latte-based flavors, and I guess are aimed at your older, more discriminating Pop-Tarts eater.

Not sure where this is all going, but I won't be surprised to see frozen Starbucks meatballs in my grocer's freezer.

While all this is happening, another fast food outfit has been sneaking its coffee products right into supermarkets -- McDonald's, under the McCafé brand. They won't bottle the Special Sauce but they'll do this.

I confess that Mickey D's coffee has gotten much better over the years; when I was a kid it was like hot water with a little dirt mixed in for flavor. With McD's 14,000+ U.S. locations, they could be the third-place coffee giant that changes the direction of the coffee wars.

Meanwhile, all is quiet on the tea front... TOO quiet...

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