20th April 2022 By Bridget O'Connell | firstname.lastname@example.org | @foodtickernz
The combination of a global pandemic and premiumisation has prompted foodservice stalwart Kōkako Organic Coffee to branch out into the grocery channel with a new purpose-built brand.
The 20-year old Auckland-based coffee roaster, led by managing director and majority owner Mike Murphy, last month launched dedicated grocery speciality coffee Everybird.
After two years of disrupted hospitality sales – including the opening of two of its own outlets in 2020 – and huge changes to the coffee category with increased in-home consumption, Murphy said the launch was a way to both diversify income and grow the supermarket coffee category.
“We felt that there was room for a new brand in the grocery or FMCG sector, but because Kōkako is so tethered to hospitality we felt we needed to engineer a new brand from the ground up – everything from the flavour profile, the blend, the packaging and the marketing,” he said.
“We wanted to make sure it was fit for purpose rather than trying to put a round peg in a square hole.”
This meant bringing not just a new brand but also innovation to the category in the form of its ‘half caf’ blend – made with 50% full strength and 50% decaffeinated coffee.
“The half-caf is our answer to innovation and NPD – that’s where we feel we can help grow the category,” Murphy said.
“Hopefully people will buy their normal coffee and then buy this coffee to drink in the afternoon so they won’t still be awake at ten o’clock.”
He added that it also speaks to the moderation trend that is being witnessed across F&B, such as the growth in zero alcohol beers.
“[In coffee] it was either decaf or full strength coffee and nothing in the middle, and a lot of people were making it at home because no one was actually delivering it to the market.”
Alongside other changes – and growth – in the grocery coffee category over the past two years, Murphy believed it was also next in line for full premiumisation, already given a little nudge with the likes of Supreme entering supermarkets recently.
“There are quite a few major changes that are happening, but that the premiumisation you have seen in cereal, craft beer and the peanut butter category hasn’t quite hit the coffee section yet, we felt like that was the next thing to happen and we wanted to be at the party.”
Kōkako is working with its existing distribution partner, Ceres Organics, to get the six Everybird SKUs on shelf – whole beans, plunger and espresso across two blends comprising half-caf and everyday – and has so far been picked up by both Foodstuffs North Island and Foodstuffs South Island, where it is already in some stores.
Both blends have a recommended retail price of $10.99.
“The market sits at between $7.99 – $10.99 now, so we are towards the upper end of it but being BioGro, Fairtrade, organic and climate neutral and with that innovation with the half-caf we hope consumers will be into it.”
Kōkako worked with FMCG specialists Marx on the design, using Econic compostable pouches by Hamilton-based Convex packaging.
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