Lavazza enters US ready-to-drink coffee market with its latest launch

Dive Brief:

  • Italian coffee giant Lavazza is debuting its own ready-to-drink product tailored to the U.S. market as the company expands its offerings in the fast-growing category popular with on-the-go consumers. Lavazza already sells RTD coffee in countries such as England.
  • The cans will debut with four styles — Classic Cold Brew, Nitro Cold Brew, Cappuccino Cold Brew with Milk, and Double Shot Cold Brew with Oat Milk — that will be made with USDA certified organic, Rainforest Alliance certified Arabica coffee. Each can has between five and 70 calories.
  • Davide Riboni, president of BU Americas at Lavazza Group and CEO of Lavazza US, said the company spent two years studying the crowded RTD coffee market to develop an offering that was “distinctive and unique.”

Dive Insight:

Cold brew coffee has been among the fastest-growing beverage categories. In 2015, U.S. sales were around $110 million, according to data from Statista. By 2025, this figure is forecast to soar to more than $940 million.

PepsiCo has been selling Starbucks RTD coffees in stores for a quarter century. Coca-Cola distributes Dunkin’s bottled coffee in the U.S., and three years ago debuted Costa RTD canned coffee, the first major product since Coca-Cola acquired the brand. Nestlé acquired Chameleon Cold-Brew and a majority stake in Blue Bottle Coffee a few years ago. Danone has been expanding the reach of Stok cold-brew coffee, which it acquired following the $12.5 billion purchase of WhiteWave Foods in 2017.

But it’s not only large food companies taking advantage of this trend. Startups including Califia Farms and La Colombe also have launched RTD products.

Even as the market was expanding, Lavazza took time to assess the opportunities and market trends as it looked to find the right balance of protecting the heritage of the 127-year-old brand best known for espressos while expanding the usage occasions for its products.

In an interview, Riboni said the company wanted a product that catered to the U.S. market and consumer trends, eventually settling on a low-calorie, organic drink available in dairy and non-dairy options. While some brands dabble in one of two of these trends, very few have succeeded in bringing all of them together, he said. The new RTD cans further complement Lavazza’s single-serve, ground and whole-bean coffee products, whose consumption is largely confined to the home or office.

“We are trying to be present and relevant with the right proposition in the segments of the market where these consumers are looking for products,” Riboni said. “That’s ultimately the kind of adjustment that we have made in the last few years that dictate our extreme success in this market.”

Riboni said the family-owned company was careful to craft a product that spoke to the preferences of U.S. consumers while embracing the brand’s Italian heritage. To do that, each of the four offerings is adorned with distinctive imagery of iconic Italian cities: Tuscany, Venice, Capri and Milan. 

“We have to find our balance so we are a bit more contemporary,” he added. “We are leveraging our expertise to deliver the same experience in a slightly more adaptable way, a more relevant way to speak to the consumer.”