Coca-Cola: Growing with coffee and capturing the opportunities of a multibillion dollar category

Coca-Cola HBC will roll out Costa products across all of its 28 markets over the next 3 years. Pic:Coca-Cola HBC.
Coca-Cola HBC will roll out Costa products across all of its 28 markets over the next 3 years. Pic:Coca-Cola HBC.

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Coffee represents a huge growth opportunity for Coca-Cola: not least with its acquisition of Costa coffee last year. In this guest article, Coca-Cola HBC's Group Coffee Director, Prodromos Nikolaidis, explores what is so attractive about the category.

Coffee has been with us since the 9th century, when, according to legend, an Ethiopian goat herder called Kaldi noticed the alertness of his goats late into the night after eating red berries from a tree. Fast-forward over a thousand years and coffee is one of the most popular drinks on the planet, with around two billion cups consumed every day.

One of its attractions is the diversity of occasions on which it is consumed – hot or cold, at home, breakfast on-the-go, at work, in a restaurant, even in the evening as a cocktail mixer. For a business like ours, it also represents a significant growth opportunity, with the total coffee category in Coca-Cola HBC markets estimated to be worth around €35bn ($41bn).

'Long gone are the days where the question was 'with or without milk'...'

What I have always loved about coffee is that it is a culture, not just a drink. And people are really getting to know their coffee. Long gone are the days when you were asked the simple question ‘with or without milk’ when ordering one!

For example, while instant and ground coffee still dominate at home consumption, the highest growth can be found in beans and capsules, pointing to consumers seeking out higher quality and more premium coffee experiences.

This trend is also true of other occasions such as at work or when socializing with friends. Consumers are more open to experimentation, seeking out specific beans and blends, specific origins, preparation methods, serves and types of milk.

This means that while coffee quality is of the utmost importance, coffee lovers are also looking for brands that are innovative, playful, responsible and source their beans sustainably. This has led to coffee bean certifications such as The Rainforest Alliance becoming a requirement for an ever-growing consumer segment.

We began working with Costa Coffee last year after it was acquired by The Coca-Cola Company​ and I am delighted that it matches all of the above. It has a 50-year legacy of delighting consumers and fantastic brand love and recognition in most of our markets.

As we started the roll-out of a new range of Costa coffee​ – in the form of beans, roast and ground, capsules and on the go via Costa Express and a variety of other top quality solutions, I have found the response from customers and consumers hugely exciting.

The new range is now available in Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, Greece, Switzerland, Romania, Croatia, Slovenia, Czech, Slovakia and Russia, with more to come by the end of the year. This move has reinforced the strength, breadth and flexibility of our portfolio and marks the start of our long-term growth plan to provide Costa Coffee, whatever and wherever the occasion, across all our 28 markets within the next three years.

Costa Coffee 2

Energy moments

Partnering with a brand with the quality and sustainability credentials of Costa is undoubtedly a great starting point and we are following a multi-platform approach to further accelerate the growing demand for quality coffee experiences and capture all the opportunities in this challenging and dynamic category.

Coffee is primarily routed in energy moments, with the biggest value opportunities being found in the early or mid-morning when people are looking for an energy boost to start their day or in the afternoon after lunch. The more mature the coffee culture in a market, the greater the number of consumption occasions throughout the day outside of the home.

To cover all consumer groups and drinking occasions we offer a wide range of coffee blends and formats as well as best in class training, service and technical support. This means that you can buy Costa Coffee to make at home and you will be able to enjoy it at the office, on the go, in bars, restaurants and everywhere else there is demand for great coffee.

Launching during the pandemic

Launching these brands in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic with many workplaces and outlets closed has been a huge challenge. I am lucky to work with a great team including young coffee enthusiasts and experienced coffee professionals, two of which used to run their own roasteries.

Seeing the first Costa Coffee packs on the shelves was a huge moment for us all and we can’t wait to bring the experience to more markets and more consumers.

And when the stresses of the day ahead seem too much, I never tire of taking a moment with a cup of coffee and to thank Kaldi and his goats for their discovery.

About the author: ​CCHBC Group Coffee Director, Prodromos Nikolaidis is responsible for the Coffee strategy of CCHBC and for the Costa Coffee launches across CCHBC markets. He orchestrated the coffee capability development in CCHBC from scratch over the past four years.

Prodromos Nikolaidis - Group Coffee Director - CCHBC
Prodromos Nikolaidis, Coca-Cola HBC

Prodromos is an FMCG experienced leader having assumed more than seven different roles within the Coca-Cola system in 20 years, including Sales Director, Country Field Sales Manager, Commercial Capabilities Director, Category Development Director, Region Finance Manager.

CCHBC's 28 markets are: Austria, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Switzerland, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Moldova, Montenegro, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia and Ukraine.