September 29, 2009

Starbucks goes national with instant Via

U.S. Coffee giant Starbucks said it introduced its instant coffee throughout the United States and Canada Tuesday after seven months of product testing.

Via Ready Brew will be sold at Starbucks, Costco Wholesale, Target and REI stores, the Seattle Times reported Tuesday.

Via marks Starbucks' foray into the $20 billion instant coffee market, Starbucks Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz said in a conference call.

We're sitting on perhaps the biggest opportunity our company has ever had, Schultz said.

Via will be offered in two flavors and cost $2.95 for a three-pack and $9.95 for a dozen single-packet servings.

The instant coffee is named for its developer, Don Valencia, who died in 2007.

Starbucks said sales exceeded expectations in three test markets -- Chicago, Seattle and London.