The decision to create an energy drink comes from the brand’s desire to follow “emerging trends,” which in this case are a “steady increase in energy drink consumption, and desire for functional ingredients” among consumers, according to Jenn Wong, VP of channel development at Starbucks.
Starbucks released Baya, which is Spanish for "berry," in January in collaboration with PepsiCo, with which the coffee giant has had a nearly 30-year partnership. Starbucks stated that the campaign is a “priority” in its partnership with PepsiCo. Baya initially got national distribution at grocery stores, convenience stores and gas stations and came to Starbucks outlets in March.
Starbucks is positioning Baya as a refreshing drink with flavors targeted to warmer months. Varieties include mango guava, raspberry lime and pineapple passionfruit. The drink still alludes to coffee in its ingredients, getting its caffeine from a stone fruit produced by coffee plants called the coffee fruit.
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The move comes as the energy drink market is rising rapidly. According to Allied Market Research, the category reached a $45.8 billion value in 2020 and is expected to experience a compounded annual growth rate of 8.2% from 2022 to 2031 to reach $108.4 billion. The U.S. market size is $16 billion with top brands including Red Bull, Monster Energy and PepsiCo-distributed Bang, according to Beverage Digest. The industry has seen startups using natural ingredients rise in market share, such as Celsius.
Expanding into energy drinks allows Starbucks to reach people don't like coffee, and also lure afternoon purchases from people who only drink coffee in the morning, said Duane Stanford, editor and publisher of Beverage Digest.
The campaign will run in stages through the spring and summer of 2022. It includes influencer marketing via a program called “Energy Makers Lab” handled by Edelman that began in March and involves endorsers such as musician and singer Jordan Fisher and video director Cache Bunny promoting products on their platforms.