Less than one year after launch, Starbucks-owned Seattle’s Best Coffee reports that its radically simplified packaged coffee line is making a significant impact on the coffee aisle – proven by double digit sales growth that is outpacing the premium coffee category,1 and recent recognition as one of the top products of the year by Progressive Grocer magazine.
Seattle’s Best Coffee launched the Level System in January with a stated mission of bringing simplicity to premium coffee – the "Level System" uses numbers and bold colors to show the roast of each blend – and to expand the Seattle’s Best Coffee offering to include lighter blends that appeal to mainstream coffee consumers.
“As we enter the heaviest coffee-buying season of the year, we are expecting to see continued enthusiasm from consumers for our Level System,” said Jeff Hansberry, president, Seattle’s Best Coffee in a prepared statement. “When we introduced Levels, our goal was to fill a gap in the packaged coffee aisle with an approachable premium coffee. Initial research indicates that our strategy is resonating with consumers – approximately 30 percent2 of all Levels purchasers are new to the Seattle’s Best Coffee brand.”
Early research shows that the new Level System is winning over a new, younger consumer. Additionally, the lighter blends that Seattle’s Best Coffee created to meet the tastes of consumers who are new to premium coffee, Levels 1 and 2, are proving their appeal – sales of Levels 1 and 2 account for 16 percent of all Levels sales.
The grocery industry is taking note of this coffee aisle game changer. Progressive Grocer, a leading grocery industry publication, named the Level System one of the best new products of the year in its August 2011 issue. As an Editors’ Pick, the Level System was recognized as one of the best new consumer products that deliver on innovation, taste/functionality and value. Editors received hundreds of entries for this year’s awards, and praised the Seattle’s Best Coffee Level System for its ability to enable consumers “to explore different premium coffee taste profiles with confidence and ease.” Progressive Grocer’s editors also applauded its “bold packaging that includes an array of numbers and vivid colors that tell consumers exactly what they want to know: which type of coffee fits their taste profile.”
To engage consumers in a dialogue about the brand, Seattle’s Best Coffee deployed a social media strategy that has also quickly gained momentum. Seattle’s Best Coffee launched the Level System by taking to the keyboard with an announcement and celebration on Facebook. Since then, the brand has used its growing Facebook community to get the Level System into tens of thousands of consumers’ hands. The brand, which began with around 20,000 Facebook fans when Levels launched, rapidly expanded to attract more than 225,000 fans. For more information, please visit www.facebook.com/seattlesbestcoffee.