As of today, British coffee brand Costa Coffee is also active in Belgium. Owner Coca-Cola has launched its coffee brand in the hospitality industry and through vending machines. However, there will be no separate Costa Coffee bars (for now).
200 locations by the end of the year
Belgium is a coffee country: consumption there is on average a quarter higher than in the rest of Europe, accounting for a total retail value of around two billion euros. Coca-Cola already has taken a part of that market with Chaqwa, but thinks the time is right to also introduce Costa Coffee to the Belgian coffee drinker. The ambitions are high: "We want to make Costa the most popular coffee brand in the country", Christophe Cuyx, director of hot drinks at Coca-Cola Europacific Partners Belgium, says.
Costa Coffee will first be launched in four 'anchor cities': Antwerp, Brussels, Ghent and Liège. The launch will be modest, with just a few dozen establishments. However, Costa should be available in 200 Belgian locations by the end of the year. "We have already signed agreements with more than 100 customers," Cuyx says. "By mid-October they will all have been installed." This does not only concern bars and restaurants, but also locations for coffee machines.
Make the market bigger
Despite the size of the market in Belgium, Cuyx is convinced that there is still room for a new coffee brand. "Of course we will encounter competitors everywhere, but our goal is mainly to create new coffee moments, and thus increase the market", Cuyx says. With a global coffee market growing at an annual rate of 6 %, Coca-Cola still sees plenty of room for further growth.
However, one of those "competitors" in Belgium is also another coffee brand from the Coca-Cola stable: Chaqwa. Is Cuyx not afraid that both brands will cannibalise each other? "We do not see Chaqwa as a competitor of Costa Coffee, but as a complementary offer", he responds. "Chaqwa is mainly aimed at companies that want to offer their employees free coffee in the workplace. With Costa we are aiming more at the barista experience, so we are more in the higher market segment."