Nestlé continues to hold a strong position in global coffee by value. While it is desperate to address its weakness in the US pod market, soon-to-be merged entity Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE) is likely to post a real threat to Nestlé’s global leadership. Technological innovation is a constant challenge and opportunity to sustain consumer loyalty and fend off compatible products. Nestlé’s VertuoLine and Keurig 2.0 marked the highlights of coffee pod systems in 2014.
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Nestlé’s instant coffee dominance and the Nespresso and Nescafé Dolce Gusto’s expansion, firmly underpinned the company’s clear leadership in global coffee; in off-trade value terms. However, while the company has the most balanced geographic coverage, it is weak in coffee beans and shows no clear intention to develop the beans category further.
The pending JDE deal shows that private investors can be instrumental in shaping the market landscape. The potential opportunity for leveraging Mondelez and DEMB’s facilities, can make JDE a number one coffee player in off-trade volume terms and therefore JDE can become a real threat to Nestlé.
The US pod market continues its boom and attracts considerable investment and market development. Keurig is continuing to establish alliances with mainstream brands to sustain consumer loyalty to the Keurig system. The launch of Keurig 2.0 is the latest attempt to fend off growing competition from compatible products and also shows the importance of product differentiation.
Nescafé’s solid position in instant coffee is unlikely to be challenged by JDE in the immediate future; the combined geographies of Mondelez and DEMB are still not wide and powerful enough to take on Nestlé and instant coffee is not a strength of either partner.