...But is the British economy saving Starbucks?

More

Earlier this week, British Business Secretary Peter Mandelson delivered an expletive-laden tirade about Starbucks CEO and Chairman Howard Schultz, who had given a dour assessment of the British economy. It was a bit strange.

But now I wonder if Schultz is regretting his comments for a reason that has nothing to do with Mandelson's ire. Starbucks has been rolling out a variety of new products recently, the most, um, original of which is a new brand of instant coffee called Via. For a company that once promised a caffeinated jihad of "hiring people who were fanatically passionate about coffee and celebrated their interaction with customers," the instant move seemed odd. Was Starbucks slumming it? But this article from the Economist shed some light on Schulz's plan:

Starbucks says it has patents that should prevent competitors from quickly replicating Via, which will go on sale in some American stores next month. The opportunity may, however, be biggest in other countries: in Britain over 80% of coffee sold is instant, compared with just 10% in America.

I had no idea. Schultz is presumably hoping that British consumers are "fanatically passionate" about consuming instant and not, as he put it last week,"very, very poor."

Jump to comments
Presented by

Conor Clarke is the editor, with Michael Kinsley, of Creative Capitalism. He was previously a fellow at The Atlantic and an editor at The Guardian. More

Conor Clarke is the editor, with Michael Kinsley, of Creative Capitalism, an economics blog that was recently published in book form by Simon and Schuster. He was previously a fellow at The Atlantic and an editor at The Guardian. He is also on Twitter.
Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Politics

Just In