“What we decided was we have an intention for innovation to drive ... growth across the North American business through coffee," Kannan said. "We said because coffee is a growing CPG business, and we’ve got great brands to play with, and one of them is Maxwell House, we're looking at how to reinvigorate this brand.”
The at-home experience gets the cold-coffee treatment
This week, Kraft Heinz introduced the Maxwell House Iced Latte instant coffee in Vanilla, Hazelnut, and Caramel flavors, available in a box of six one-ounce pouches. While traditional at-home cold coffee options were often cumbersome, the Iced Latte with Foam takes “three simple steps; you need to just pour the powder into a glass, add cold water, and stir, and voila, you have a café-style latte,” Kannan said.
Though the instant coffee segment is only a sliver of the overall coffee market, it was worth $1.89bn in 2023 and is expected to grow by a 1.58% CAGR between 2023 and 2028, with volume dipping slightly by -0.2% in 2024, according to Statista data.
However, recent innovation in the space has brought more flavor variety and options to the consumers, and the market didn’t have many options for fans of cold coffee, Kannan noted. In fact, 31% of coffee shop beverages are now cold, but only 7% of at-home beverages are iced, according to NPD Group data, she shared.
Just as consumers behaviors around hot and cold coffee have change, “people are starting to reevaluate instant because... they’re seeing that exciting innovations are happening around instant, and [they] are starting to look at instant in a new and exciting way,” she said.
Looking at the broader market trends, consumer coffee behaviors have changed since COVID, and more recently, have evolved in response to inflation, Kannan said. From a brand strategy perspective, Kraft Heinz is working to “democratize the coffee category and have quality options available for [everyone],” she added.
“Inflation has really adjusted consumers views on what they look for when it comes to their coffee, and people are looking for more value. There was a point in time when your only options if you wanted a fancy drink, you'd go to a coffee shop, and if you wanted a regular drink, you seek out a value brand, and those boundaries are blurring. What we wanted to do was we said that we have brands for every price point, and we have brands for every tier.”
Investing in growth, preparing for a brand revamp
Kraft Heinz is building on the momentum of Maxwell House by reinvesting in a rebrand set to launch next year, Kannan said. But as often is the case, rebranding can be a difficult process, so Kraft Heinz is taking its time to create a new look and feel that attracts new customers and doesn’t alienate loyal customers, she added.
“We invest in that growth [and] ensure that it's lasting by creating an ongoing portfolio of products that can build upon that growth momentum that we're creating. And as part of that more innovation so some that we think will give people strong reasons to believe in the Maxwell House brand promise.”