Roastworks Coffee was not selling enough units to justify its Tesco listing

Speciality coffee brand Roastworks Coffee has confirmed its products are no longer listed in Tesco

The brand, which launched in Tesco in 2022, said the investment required to improve its rate of sale in the retailer would “make no financial sense as a small, self-funded business”.

Writing on LinkedIn, founder Will Little said Roastworks was “not selling enough units to warrant having shelf space in the largest retailer in the UK”.

He said the brand was selling around three units per store per week, as opposed to the at least four to five units per store per week needed “to be in the running in Tesco”.

“It’s important to clarify, we haven’t been delisted and the buyer made it very clear to us that we had an opportunity to improve our rate of sale,” Little said. “However, the amount of money we’d have to pour into brand activation to improve our ROS would make no financial sense as a small, self-funded business.”

Little said Roastworks Coffee had elected to go into Tesco as part of a trial “to test the appetite for independent and speciality coffee brands in a major multiple”.

It initially launched in 62 of the retailer’s highest-indexing coffee stores, before going on to secure a national listing for four of its products.

“It’s abundantly clear that most consumers discover speciality coffee in independent coffee shops, but we’ve always had a hunch that there might be another way to do this – through the grocery multiple retail space,” Little said. “Many other challenger brands have achieved this in other categories. Not least BrewDog, who in 2009 began a revolution in craft beer thanks to a Tesco listing.

“We’ve often wondered, is the price of speciality coffee the limiting factor in getting customers to trade across from mainstream brands? Would a bag of speciality coffee at £5 be the game-changer?

“Turns out that theory was wrong. We were wrong.”

Roastworks Coffee’s products were last stocked with Tesco on 3 January, according to Assosia data.

They remain listed with Waitrose and Ocado, however.