I got inspired to craft this image after meeting with a friend at a beautiful coffee shop this week. Lately, I've been drawn to gorgeous coffee like this mocha I was lucky to get my hands on. As most students are, I am a religious coffee drinker who needs a daily dose. I can't imagine that any adult in this fast-paced world we live in has not tried coffee.
Coffee is not just a pick-me-up drink. It is truly a global commodity. Coffee is the world's second most valuable traded commodity, behind only petroleum. There are about 25 million farmers and coffee workers in over 50 countries around the world that grow, process and trade coffee. Harvard School of Public Health tells us that 54 percent of Americans over the age of 18 drink coffee every day.
So now that we can establish that over half of the American population is drinking coffee every day, it sparks an immediate question. How are Americans getting their daily coffee? While reading The Washington Post article, "America's favorite coffee trend may be coming to an end," I was curious to see how coffee could possibly be losing popularity. The coffee pod, coffee's most convenient form, was once invincible. According to data from market research firm Euromonitor, the sale of coffee pods tripled between 2011 and 2013. Simultaneously, the coffee pod machine sales were soaring, too, growing from 1.8- 11.6 million from 2008-2013. Today, however, with an increasingly stable economy, coffee trends are emerging to a more delicately prepared cup of java from the convenience of someone else's preparation.
Keurig, the company which dominates coffee pods, recently reported that this is the sixth straight quarter where it's sales have dropped.
The decline is in part due to Keurig's production behavior. When it's patents expired in 2014, competitors entered the picture causing Keurig to launch Keurig 2.0. This innovative system requires the use only Keurig coffee pods, as opposed to cheaper competitors pods. This caused an outrage of angry reviews on Amazon.
As a communications specialist, my advice for Keurig would be to respond by showing concern. Keurig needs to express that the organization is not indifferent to a problem without admitting guilt. I would also suggest that Keurig uses rectifying behavior to restitute the situation back to it's earlier condition. This is a public relations strategy to make amends by compensating or restoring a situation to its earlier condition. With this reactive strategy, Keurig could alter Keurig 2.0 to work with any coffee pod. This way customers are happy and restore trust in the coffee trend they once fell in love with. In order to regain a loyal audience, Keurig should focus on innovation and manufacturing improvements for their coffee makers, which make up about 80 percent of the companies sales.
Keurig needs to regain the trust of loyal customers. My suggestion would be for Keurig's CEO Brian Kelley to comment in the next press release. Kelley's statement should reinforce that the next steps will include innovation that serves customers needs and wants. For example, Keurig is bringing new premium coffee brands and dispensing technologies that will bring significant cash value to shareholders. This will offer an exciting new chapter for customers, partners and employees.
Coffee pods may not be forever. Americans seem to have bigger wallets and want to indulge on gourmet caffeine hits. Coffee trends will come and go as technology changes and the economy fluctuates. One thing I know for sure is that I promise I will always be a consumer.