Keurig Canada Inc.
Keurig Canada Inc. is the Canadian branch of Keurig Green Mountain Inc., a leader in specialty coffee, coffee makers, teas and other beverages based in the United States. The Keurig innovation dates back to the early 1990s, when roommates at Colby College, Peter Dragone and John Sylvan, began developing a Keurig single-serve brewer to tackle the problem of stale, cold coffee in the office. Lacking coffee expertise, the partners turned to regional coffee roasters, including Green Mountain Coffee Roasters.
Together the roommates developed and formulated the portion packs for the Keurig system. Keurig was acquired by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters in 2006. Today, Keurig Green Mountain Inc. operates from office and production locations throughout Canada and the United States, including Canadian principle office in Montreal, Quebec.
Stéphane Glorieux, president of Keurig Canada, has been with the business since 2012 and was appointed to his current position in spring 2014. Before joining the Keurig team, Glorieux spent 21 years working with Kraft Foods in Montreal, in Toronto and abroad in Europe. Glorieux sees continued potential in the popular brand, a factor that drew him into the business and has supported his continued dedication to Keurig.
“This company began as a strategic alliance between a few U.S. and Canadian-based roasters,” Glorieux explains. “In the 25 years I have been in this business, I had never seen anything like this happen. Since then, because of the broad array of brand and beverage choices brought by collaborative partnerships with other coffee and beverage brands, Keurig has inspired consumer passion for its products by revolutionizing beverage preparation at home and in the workplace both in the U.S. and Canada.”
Standing out from the competition
Keurig has an enormous selection of beverage choices available for the well-known line of K-Cup packs. The business offers a personalized approach to the standard coffee machine, providing hot beverages in both single-serve and larger carafe formats. With strong strategic alliances and 30 brands, Keurig machine users can brew their favorite drinks at home.
“We differentiate ourselves with close to 170 beverage varieties from great brands consumers know and love and no one else does that,” Glorieux explains. “We partner for mutual success, which is really foundational, because the success of the Keurig system comes from the broad choice of beverages in the system, which in turn comes from Keurig’s ability to collaborate with other brands. In addition to our deep coffee experience, we bring consumers the collective benefit of many great coffee brands and given coffee is the fastest growing beverage sector in North America; this is really the key. We partner with major brands, such as Starbucks, as well as Folgers. We’ve opened up our system to other beverage partners, giving their brands a new means to reach and delight their consumers, as we do ours. And we collaborate with our retail partners to ensure their shoppers have access to a great variety of products.”
While selection is a key component to Keurig Canada’s growing success, Glorieux says above all else, the company stands apart through innovation and technology. In 2014, Keurig Canada launched three new platforms, different brewing machines to meet the needs of different customers. Keurig Canada is continuously in a state of research and development, improving its products and adding new options for consumers machine by machine.
In March 2014, in collaboration with Lavazza, the team launched the Keurig Rivo platform as a response to growing demand for espresso at home. The Rivo is a full cappuccino and latte system, allowing users to brew the perfect serving of espresso and integrate these brews into frothy, delicious hot drinks. The machine includes an espresso brewing component, as well as a steamer to froth any kind of milk at the touch of a button.
Toward the middle of 2014, Keurig launched the Bolt platform for the away from home end-user, typically for business offices. Bolt brews 64 ounces of coffee in less than two minutes, bringing the convenience of speed and taste to boardrooms across North America. Offering offices a variety of blends and flavors, Bolt packs are larger than K-Cup packs, designed to fill a convenient thermal carafe that keeps coffee at the optimal temperature for longer than traditional glass coffee pots.
In August 2014 the team launched the Keurig 2.0 platform, which offers the same great choice, quality and convenience of its predecessor, and allows users to brew both a single cup or a whole carafe of coffee at the touch of a button. The Keurig 2.0 system offers new high tech features – the machine can read the lids of K-Cup packs, making the system completely automatic and able to transition between beverage types and brew portions. A larger water reservoir makes it easier to brew in larger quantities; meanwhile a full color touch screen improves usability for consumers.
“We are really pushing the envelope in terms of innovation and listening to our customers,” Glorieux says. “By the end of 2015, we are looking to launch Keurig Cold, which is a concept of creating a carbonated soft drink or flat drink at a controlled temperature with a repeatable experience. Keurig Cold will offer consumers a convenient, sustainable way to enjoy freshly-made cold beverages including carbonated drinks, enhanced waters, juice drinks, sports drinks, and teas at home with the one-touch simplicity, quality and variety that North American consumers love about the Keurig brand hot system platform. Keurig Cold will include beverage brands from The Coca-Cola Company at launch, as well as great new cold beverage brands from Keurig.”
While the Keurig brand is an international entity, Glorieux is focused mainly of development at home in Canada. “Because of the intense competition, I would argue that Canada has created a more dynamic and more in-tune customer around the single serve experience than that of the U.S. market place,” he elaborates. “Adoption of single-serve systems is almost two times more evolved in Canada than the U.S. Our branch of the operation has continued to invest tremendously in infrastructure, which has been the key to growing at the rate we have.”
Glorieux also manages the U.K. branch of the business and says the market place across the pond is starting to have a revolutionary realization of the coffee shop industry. Keurig is coming into the market place with humble ambition because of the level of competition but the team offers low-pressure filtered coffee that is unique and more in line with the UK taste than espresso is.
“Over the coming years, I can see the U.K. market place moving in the same direction as Canada, but it will take a while,” Glorieux details. “Our focus right now is on growth here, in North America. We plan to continue to boost our carafe brewing capabilities that come with the Keurig 2.0 and the project we have in the works with the cold side of the beverage industry.”
The Keurig 2.0 line has already taken off, proving a major hit around the 2014 holiday season. Looking ahead, the international brand has great potential throughout North America and Europe as Keurig Canada Inc. and international affiliates continue on a course of innovation.