How about Starbucks “natural” energy drinks?


New line of “natural” energy drinks, Starbucks Refreshers

Starbucks is expanding into the fast-growing energy drink category.  The 40-year-old company, which has seen shares rise more than 50 percent in the past year, plans to keep growing sales and profit by introducing new products.

Starbucks returned to profit growth in 2010 after a two-year restructuring that involved slashing costs and closing nearly 1,000 cafes around the world.

Starbucks’ new line of “Refreshers” beverages targets the $8 billion U.S. energy drink market that includes products such as Red Bull and Rockstar.

The fruit-flavored drinks are made with a virtually flavorless extract of green, unroasted coffee, and pack less caffeine kick than coffee drinks made from roasted beans. The drinks are sweetened with stevia.

The 12-ounce canned refreshers have 60 calories. They are lightly sparkling and come in three flavors: raspberry pomegranate, strawberry-lemonade and orange melon.

The Refreshers debut comes as the Seattle chain goes after new drink categories and seeks to sell more products outside the four walls of its cafes.

Starbucks also announced plans for Verismo at-home espresso and latte machine earlier this month, ending more than a year of speculation.

Analysts expect the machine to compete with Nestle’s Nespresso machine, the leader in Europe and around the world, and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc.’s Keurig brewers, which dominate in the United States.

Single-serve brewers make fresh cups of coffee, or even barista-worthy espresso drinks, in seconds. The single-cup category is small compared with the overall coffee sector, but growing rapidly.


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