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Meet Keurig 2.0
By: Maryann Fabian
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The single-serve coffeemaker company has a new name, new machines, and a new attitude. It's even taking on the two S's: Starbucks and SodaStream. Now known as Keurig Green Mountain, the company is breaking ties with the Seattle giant as the provider of its premium coffee “pods.” This effectively calls off a five-year arrangement the two companies reached only last year. Did you know Starbucks has sold over one billion K-cups so far? Maybe this is payback for Starbucks pushing its own single-serve coffeemaker called Verismo.

The other big news? Keurig is taking back the K-cup. It allowed the patent to expire in 2012, which opened up the market for imitators. But Keurig 2.0 will erase the competition again with a new machine that only uses proprietary pods. New technology inside the machine will scan the K-cups for specific recipe instructions and lock out unlicensed ones. According to Keurig spokesperson Suzanne DuLong, “It is critical for beverage quality that the system only brews Keurig brand packs.” The new machine will also have the ability to make a whole carafe or a single serving.

Keurig is expanding its co-branding relationships. Those just happen to include Starbucks’ rival Peet’s Coffee & Tea as well as a new agreement with Krispy Kreme. Oh — and the number-one beverage brand in the world for another major reinvent project.

Enter Coca-Cola and a chance to take on SodaStream. SodaStream estimates the at-home carbonation market to have the potential to top $260 billion worldwide. Coca-Cola must agree, because it recently bought a 10 percent stake in Keurig and will help the company introduce the new Keurig Cold machine — probably due out this fall — which will allow customers to make their own Coke and Diet Coke at home.

Not to be outdone, rival Pepsi will one-up everybody to get its new product to market first. Pepsi is teaming up with a company called Bevyz to put out a “multi-drink countertop system that combines a water cooler, coffee/tea machine and a soft drink/juice dispenser” that will hit stores in May.

Keuring investors are enjoying all the innovation news. Shares were up 8 percent at the end of last week (while Starbucks was flat, by the way). 

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About the Author
Maryann Fabian is a copywriter who has crafted the voice of some of this country's best brands.
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