Starbucks Smooths Out

Starbucks‘ recent move to feature healthful smoothies is a good bet. So, when Matt Andrejczak from MarketWatch called to discuss it, it gave me a chance to re-consider the idea of “meal replacement.”

A few years a ago, my firm worked with a candy maker on a yogurt confection infused with vitamins and nutrients. The product was a response to the obesity crisis. Our job was to help bring it to market. We considered a meal replacement strategy. Harried consumers will grab a semi-healthful, filling item to replace the meal they didn’t have time to sit down for. If the item is filling enough, and healthy enough, a consumer will pay more for it because, hey, it replaces lunch.

The last few weeks, I’ve changed my mid-day routine. Gym, shower, then to the local coffee bar for a blueberry protein smoothie. I skip lunch. I am not alone. Other men and women drop by, and local teen athletes have discovered them, since the athletic field is a block away.

After Matt and I spoke, I went back the next day and asked the proprietor if people were buying smoothies and sandwiches, or salads. Sometimes, she said. Mostly young fathers with kids who use the smoothies to appease the tots while their sandwiches are prepped.

Breakfast sammies didn’t thrill Starbucks customers. Smoothies are a better bet. It’s a meal in a cup. And that’s worth making a second trip to Starbucks for later in the day.