February 13, 2009

Starbucks instant? Maybe soon …

U.S. coffee retailer Starbucks is preparing to test a new soluble coffee product, which may make an appearance in some stores next month, executives said.

The product is called Via. Three executives said it was a favored project for Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz, making it likely the product will get a significant marketing campaign, Advertising Age reported Friday.

Via is designed to imitate the flavor of Starbucks brand coffees and represents a breakthrough in soluble coffee, a source said to Advertising Age.

Starbucks is expected to announce the product next week and may reveal more about its intentions at the company's annual meeting March 18.

One question still unanswered is whether the product will appear in grocery stores or just in the company's cafes.