China Food

What kind of fairy “ice” device is Starbucks’ legendary new product that “can drink all summer”?


Starbucks ice shock enrichment series is becoming a dark horse of this summer’s coffee track.


For more than a month since the launch of the new series, it has not only accumulated enough traffic on social platforms such as Weibo and xiaohongshu, but also set off a trend of “stars and fans” copying at home on Tiktok. In the current hot coffee market, how can this product be popular? What are Starbucks’ considerations behind the launch of this product? Now, let’s have a look.


Classic inheritance, innovation out of the circle


On June 14, the company’s new ice coffee series, Starbucks ice shock concentrated series, was launched nationwide. According to a data from Starbucks, less than a month after its launch, this series has surpassed the ice American style and become the first ice coffee product of the brand in the mainland market of China. At the same time, it has become one of the most successful new products launched by Starbucks in recent years.



One year’s plan is that summer has been the norm in the beverage industry, and in recent years, coffee has been “rolled” to a new height with rapid expansion. 2022 may become the “hottest summer in history”, and even turn Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Shanghai into “workers’ discount households”. Factors such as July, August and September, which are the most competitive seasons for strategists, have become the key moments for major brands to work hard and hand over excellent summer homework.


In this truly “white hot” summer of competition, what exactly are the outlets behind the emergence of Starbucks ice shock enrichment series?


According to the “2020-2025 analysis report on market demand and investment planning of China’s coffee industry” released by the prospective industry research institute, the average annual growth rate of China’s coffee market is more than 15%, far higher than the global average rate of 2%. Behind this double-digit high-speed growth is not only the improvement of China’s income level and changes in lifestyle, but also the enrichment and frequency of new categories on the supply side.


The research from CIC consultants further disassembled and subdivided the motivation of domestic coffee consumption: in addition to the functional demand of “life renewal”, which accounts for more than 80% of the hardest core, the leisure and social networking of “making a friend” (37%) and the obvious taste of “making a delicate picture” (13%) have also become the reasons for consumers to take out their wallets (payment codes) to pay. And interesting, soulful and innovative products are often the factors that pry and satisfy the latter two.


Focus on Starbucks’ strategy in the world’s second largest market, whether it is Howard Schultz, the soul of the company, who has long-term vision to “create an innovative growth platform commensurate with our coffee”, or the “Starbucks China Coffee Innovation Industrial Park”, which will take three years and will be completed and put into operation in Kunshan in 2023, or caidelin, CEO of Starbucks China, who emphasized “promoting the prosperity of China’s coffee industry with innovation that keeps pace with the times”, It can be seen that compared with rising stars, the “new” laid out by this industry leader is not only a single level of product innovation based on consumer insight and meeting consumer needs, but also a “big game” – reflecting its investment and commitment to the coffee industry and the Chinese market.



Thanks to this, the ice shock concentration series, which was born in the North American market in 2021, this time the “new life” of China can be described as a profound accumulation under this “big chess”.


In this product, the Chinese R & D team’s deep understanding of the taste preferences of the local market has achieved the “Oriental interpretation” of the classic espresso beans: mellow coffee and fragrant Oatmeal Milk complement each other; Two new flavors, sea salt caramel and Tahiti vanilla, are carefully selected based on thousands of “sweets”; As the core of this series, the espresso roasted coffee beans, which was published in 1975, reflects Starbucks’ foresight and ingenuity in the baking field.



Starbucks also said that “ice shock concentrated series has won the favor of young people at present because of its graceful flavor level and taste, as well as its very dynamic modulation”. It is understood that among Starbucks members in this series of consumption, young consumers aged 18-34 account for 64%. Xiaoshidai noticed that the trend of ice shock enrichment series is also sweeping all major social media, and triggered a discussion upsurge of “homemade ice shock enrichment”.


In hot summer, the ice shock concentration series is also like a “stepping stone”. Its listing has promoted a large number of customers who do not have coffee drinking habits to try coffee and convert it into coffee consumers, thus driving the sales growth of Starbucks’ entire coffee category.



The “third space”, which has almost become the synonym of Starbucks’ business achievements, also plays an important role in this series: the stage of interaction between baristas and consumers. At present, the epidemic situation is repeated, “fireworks”, “offline”, “noodle base” has become the most sincere desire of human beings, social animals living in groups, like a cup of ice in summer.


The scalding coffee concentrate “takes advantage of the ice” and “beautifully layered” after encountering oat milk of different densities. Coupled with the skilled deployment and personalized interpretation of the barista, this ornamental creative process brings an all-round “ice shock” experience of vision, taste and smell.


Every move of Starbucks baristas’ partners in the production process, shaking and shaking, not only opened curiosity and dialogue, but also triggered academic discussions on social media, from baristas’ gestures to the intensity of foam.



Innovation and star creation

The upgrading of China’s beverage industry in the past five years can be described as the speed of light. There are not a few players who push hundreds of new players every year. Starbucks does not blindly pursue speed, but has its own unique rhythm and playing method.


Starbucks’ innovation not only centers on the product itself, but also on its own brand concept to give new products more meaning.


On the one hand, through the planning and theme arrangement of dividing the whole year into nine schedules, Starbucks not only encourages consumers to try new products in the current season, but also advocates the mission and value of “humanity to be good, performance to be excellent, and environment to be green”. For example, the goodgood star foodism action in April every year encourages consumers to vote with their “mouths” as citizens of the earth and practice “green diet”.



On the other hand, the “limited” series launched by Starbucks, inspired by the traditional Chinese solar terms, gives more meaning to the “new product” by focusing on the innovative idea of selecting coffee beans and their special flavor in the current season, shortens the “fresh-keeping period” of the new product, and retreats behind the scenes before consumers lose their freshness, leaving the public still interested.


Under such a rhythm, the product innovation of this coffee company has obvious and unique brand genes. Starbucks is also creating “in addition to innovation”, and there are also bright new “stars” on this “Star” light Avenue. For example, the air cooled extract series in 2016 has “crowned” coffee with dense foam, and the whisky barrel brewed coffee launched in 2020 has created a unique coffee flavor with whisky aroma but no alcohol.  


失去了消费者和市场的创新也终将只是空中楼阁,纸上谈兵。相信此次的冰震浓缩系列在破圈自成话题的同时,也将引领冰饮品类进入高速发展阶段。在一边引领行业探索咖啡界限,一边为“咖啡因”这一刚需带来惊喜美好的天平之上,创新的意义或许从来不是只有卖货这一个维度。



Real innovation may be like a spark on Lush grass on the plains. The energy and changes brought by it not only benefit the individuals who light that fire. Just as Starbucks entered China in 1999, a country with a thousand year old tea culture, its creation of the coffee industry from zero to one and the establishment of industry standards have become a 100 billion market across the two major tracks of coffee and tea.


The combination of ice (ice) and fire (espresso) is by no means the first time, but innovation does not mean overturning and starting over. The right time, the right proportion, and the presentation of the right “system” are all challenges that need to be understood and handled properly on the road of innovation.


Reimagine coffee and redefine ice drink. Ice shock concentrated series let us see a more “exciting” Starbucks with its explosive power and potential. Looking ahead, there is bound to be a large number of new products in the next summer, holidays and solar terms. Maybe only if we keep going can we expect the future.


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