Oct 29, 2012 / 5:00 pm
When McDonalds first charged into the Canadian coffee market with a new focus on the morning staple four years ago, it faced a country notorious for its loyalty to double-doubles and Timbits, but an influx of new options are giving coffee aficionados plenty of other ways to get their caffeine fix.
It began with a sweetness for premium-priced specialty brews, in particular those fancy candy cane and pumpkin lattes that spruce up the holidays, and continued with a revamp of the way people drink coffee at home with single-serve coffee machines.
Gone are the days when java lovers had three basic options: the local java shop, bitter instant formulas or the kitchen coffee pot.
In today's coffee world, even a fast food giant best known for its Big Macs and Happy Meals has the ability to corner a segment of the market, and has quite successfully, with major publicity campaigns that included giving away its brew for free.
McDonalds will tap into another segment this week. Once again, its embarking on a free small coffee campaign, every day until Friday. The promotion is timed to coincide with the launch of McDonalds' take-home ground coffee on Nov. 5, a product that will be exclusively available in Canada.
Each bag is priced at $6.99 for 340 grams, and is a shot aimed at its biggest competitors, Tim Hortons (TSX:THI) and Starbucks.
"They're very successful companies and they've got great connections with consumers," said John Betts, president and chief executive of McDonald's Canada.
"We had to do something dramatic."
In some respects, its the evolving at-home coffee market that serves up the most potential for growth.
Coffee drinkers average two cups per day and two-thirds of them are brewing some of their drinks at home, according to a report by the NPD Group released in July.
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