The decision to create an energy drink came from the brand’s desire to follow “emerging trends,” which in this case are a “steady increase in energy drink consumption and a desire for functional ingredients” among consumers, according to Jenn. Wong, vice president of channel development at Starbucks.
Starbucks launched Baya, which means “berry” in Spanish, in January in conjunction with PepsiCo, with whom the coffee giant has a nearly 30-year partnership. Starbucks said the campaign is a “priority” in its partnership with PepsiCo. Baya first gained national distribution in grocery stores, convenience stores and gas stations and arrived in Starbucks outlets in March.
Starbucks is positioning Baya as a refreshing beverage with targeted flavors for the warmer months. Varieties include mango guava, raspberry lime, and pineapple passion fruit. The drink still alludes to coffee in its ingredients, getting its caffeine from a stone fruit produced by coffee plants called coffee fruit.
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The move comes as the energy drink market is growing rapidly. According to Allied Market Research, the category reached a value of $45.8 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 8.2% from 2022 to 2031 to reach $108.4 billion. The US market size is $16 billion with top brands such as Red Bull, Monster Energy and Bang distributed by PepsiCo, according to Beverage Digest. The industry has seen startups using natural ingredients increase their market share, such as Celsius.
The energy drink expansion allows Starbucks to reach people who don’t like coffee, and also attract afternoon purchases from people who only drink coffee in the morning, Duane said. Stanford, editor and publisher of Beverage Digest.
The campaign will roll out in stages through the spring and summer of 2022. It includes influencer marketing through a program called “Energy Makers Lab” run 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.