It has already sold 150,000 machines in Italy since their launch there in February and said it was bringing the machine out in the UK in response to the “exponential growth” currently being enjoyed in the UK pod sector. The machines will be priced at £119, or £159 for a higher-spec model, and the coffee, which will be available from today at supermarkets and c-stores, comes in four variants, rsp £3.59 for a pack of 16.
“This was a natural next move for us,” said UK sales and marketing director David Rogers. “It is the right time for us to move from our focus on out-of-home and office coffee and increase what we are doing in the home market.”
The company does not expect the move to affect its performance in coffee shops, said Rogers. “We see this as being incremental to our existing business, bringing in new drinkers to the brand rather than taking away from out-of-home sales. I think this has certainly been the experience of our competitors as well.” A £1.5m print and TV campaign will begin on 14 October to promote the new range in the run-up to Christmas, as part of a £3m spend earmarked for the next six months.
The company is also redesigning its roast and espresso coffee packaging, in its first “significant tweak” since the UK launch 14 years ago. The new design emphasises the brand’s Italian roots and includes information about the characteristics of each of the blends on the packs.
Coffee pod cartridges account for £1 in every £8 spent in the roast and ground coffee sector, according to Mintel, while sales of pod machines rose from 130,000 in 2002 to 470,000 in 2006.
“Pod machine sales show no signs of slowing,” said a Mintel spokesman.