They have already irrevocably changed the American consumer’s view of what coffee can or should be, and now Starbucks has taken aim at two more major non-alcohol beverages: tea-based beverages and soda.
Recently, the mega-chain unveiled a selection of new summer beverages, expanding its cold portfolio with the addition of Fizzio Handcrafted Sodas and Teavana Shaken Iced Teas. Fizzio Sodas are carbonated fresh in three flavors – Spiced Root Beer, Golden Ginger Ale and Lemon Ale. Each Fizzio soda contains no artificial flavors, no preservatives, no high fructose corn syrup and weighs in at 100 calories or less per 16 fl. oz., (“Grande” in Starbucks lingo).
For Teavana, Starbucks has added Teavana Blackberry Mojito Tea Lemonade along with the returning favorites Teavana Peach Green Tea Lemonade and Teavana Shaken Iced Black Tea Lemonade.
“We have heard from our customers that they’re looking for more refreshing, cold beverages, especially during the warm summer months,” said Cliff Burrows, group president, U.S., Americas and Teavana, in a release. “Fizzio Handcrafted Soda is unlike any soda in the marketplace because it’s handcrafted and made-to-order each time. The addition of Fizzio and Teavana Iced Teas gives our customers more refreshing beverage choices made with the premium ingredients they expect from Starbucks.”
Starbucks also is introducing Teavana Shaken Iced Teas, featuring teas slightly sweetened teas hand shaken ten times by their baristas “to help ensure all the ingredients are cooled down quickly and mixed perfectly to bring out their distinct flavors.” The company has flooded social media with commercials for the hand shaken teas, and both they and the sodas once again that the chain knows how to combine novelty, customer service and the sizzle of the new to energize a moribund category dominated by financial deals that lock chain units into deals that leave customers with few choices.
The most overlooked aspect of Starbucks’ domination of the casual beverage world is that they are training entire generations of consumers to expect more, and to be willing to pay for it. Yet few chain restaurants have aggressively followed their lead. Most already have shakers and bartenders who know how to use them, so that could be an easy pick up from Starbucks’ lead. It’s less likely that freshly-made sodas are in the offing, but let’s watch to see if fresh-shaken tea lemonades catch fire.