Starbucks VIA Taste Promise Launches in the U.S. and Reinforces Taste, Quality and Customer Satisfaction

SEATTLE, February 01, 2011 - Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) today introduced the Starbucks VIA® Taste Promise, encouraging coffee drinkers to discover the great taste of Starbucks VIA® Ready Brew. Starbucks VIA® is 100 percent natural roasted arabica coffee in an instant form that is rich and full-bodied just like a fresh-brewed cup of Starbucks® coffee. The key to Starbucks VIA® is a proprietary, U.S. patent-pending microgrind technology that preserves the coffee's taste and quality. Beginning today through August 31, 2011, if customers are not satisfied with the taste of Starbucks VIA® Ready Brew, Starbucks will replace their purchase with a free bag of ground Starbucks® House Blend (12 oz.)*. The introduction of the Starbucks VIA® Taste Promise further reinforces Starbucks belief that, with Starbucks VIA® Ready Brew, customers can enjoy a great premium single cup of instant coffee any time.

“Starbucks has maintained the same high-quality products since 1971. The Starbucks VIA® Taste Promise backs up what customers have told us about the taste and quality of Starbucks VIA® Ready Brew. For any reason our Starbucks VIA® has not met their expectations, we’ll replace it with a bag of our ground coffee,” said Annie Young-Scrivner, Starbucks global chief marketing officer. That's how strongly we feel about Starbucks VIA® Ready Brew and how committed we are to customer satisfaction.

Starbucks VIA® Ready Brew represents a broad and innovative coffee platform that recently surpassed $135 million in global sales for Starbucks since its launch. According to SymphonyIRI Group, U.S. products that generate in excess of $50 million in first-year sales are recognized with a “mega hit” benchmark status. Starbucks VIA is among the top three percent of all new products with sales well in excess of the $50 million threshold as defined by SymphonyIRI, illustrating that Starbucks VIA® Ready Brew is resonating with consumers and meeting untapped demand. In fact, one of Starbucks VIA®’s most recent product innovations, Starbucks VIA® Christmas Blend, beat expectations during the 2010 holiday season.

“Our customers are looking for convenient, high-quality coffee solutions, and we have seen an increase in interest for instant coffee since we introduced Starbucks VIA® to our grocery shelves last year,” said Kelly Griffith, President Corporate Perishables for Safeway Inc. “The opportunity to try a new product backed by a Starbucks VIA® Taste Promise is a great way to introduce coffee drinkers to the new Starbucks VIA® Ready Brew format."

Continued Global Expansion

In November 2010, Starbucks and NS Hispeed announced the expanded distribution of Starbucks VIA® to the Netherlands on the Fyra high-speed train service between Rotterdam, Schiphol and Amsterdam. Passengers traveling on the route can enjoy Starbucks VIA® Ready Brew coffee during their journey. The expansion builds on successful international launches and more than 50,000 points of distribution, including multiple CPG channels in Canada, the U.K. and Japan, as well as Starbucks stores throughout Canada, the U.K., Japan and the Philippines.

Starbucks VIA® Receives Top Honors

Since its launch in September 2009, Starbucks VIA® Ready Brew has re-defined the instant coffee category. Starbucks VIA® has received critical acclaim from a variety of industry and consumer groups, and recently was named one of the 10 most memorable product launches of 2010 by Schneider Associates and the No. 6 new product according to Nikkei Business Magazine in Japan.

The Starbucks VIA® Portfolio

Innovating to meet the needs of coffee drinkers everywhere, Starbucks has expanded the product line beyond the original Colombia and Italian varieties with the introduction of Starbucks VIA® Ready Brew Decaffeinated Italian Roast, Starbucks VIA® Iced Coffee and Starbucks VIA® Flavored Coffees (available in Vanilla, Mocha, Caramel and Cinnamon Spice) to coffee drinkers in North America.

Most recently, Starbucks launched Starbucks VIA® Christmas Blend in time for the 2010 holiday season and Starbucks VIA® French Roast, a special blend with an intense, smoky flavor, to kick off 2011.

For more information about Starbucks VIA® and the Starbucks VIA® Taste Promise promotion, visit

*Includes 5, 6, 7, 8, 12 count; 12 oz. House Blend. Proof of purchase and UPC required. Expires 8/31/11.

About Starbucks Corporation

Since 1971, Starbucks Coffee Company has been committed to ethically sourcing and roasting the highest-quality arabica coffee in the world. Today, with stores around the globe, the company is the premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in the world. Through our unwavering commitment to excellence and our guiding principles, we bring the unique Starbucks Experience to life for every customer through every cup. To share in the experience, please visit us in our stores or online at

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