The UK food and drinks market tends to follow similar patterns to the US. I’m thankful for this as cold brew coffee is a well established product there. The only risk with imitating their markets is simply that the result in the UK might be different, and often it is. Most people jump to the conclusion that maybe the product just doesn’t work over here because of our taste and cultural differences. However, I’m starting to think that it has more to do with timing than the product itself.
When UK brands copy the US market, they copy its current market and forget the introductory phase it undoubtedly had to endure. For example, when we look to the cold brew market in the US, we see supermarket shelves bursting with different varieties of bottled cold brew coffee, so what do we do? We make some cold brew, put it in a bottle and start cold calling the poor product buyers at the supermarkets starting our pitch with “it’s huge in the US”. Forgetting that the nation became familiar with the product through cafés, not supermarkets.
Forcing a new product into the supermarket doesn’t work (that well). It’s like going to a party you’re not invited to: it’s an awkward introduction at the door and you probably won’t get in but if you do, nobody knows or trusts you, the party will only speak to the people they already know and will avoid you, and eventually they will say does anybody know this person and you’ll get kicked out and reduced to clear. The more natural way of going to a party is by becoming so familiar with someone that they come to enjoy your company until they actually invite you to their party and introduce you to all their friends.
So, if you’re still reading after that painstaking analogy, our strategy is to take cold brew coffee to the places where people are open to try new ways of drinking coffee… Cafés. I know that is stupidly obvious, but somehow it slipped our mind. Drinks companies are more focused on supermarket listings than actually addressing where people are most likely to drink their product. I think that a supermarket listing for us would only ever be useful when the nation is familiar enough with cold brew coffee that they actually have the thought to go to a supermarket to get a coffee. For now, a bottled coffee is not going to win the impulse buyer.