Maxwell House launched a line of coffee called Max Boost that contains varying levels of caffeine to allow consumers to customize their coffee experience at home, according to Beverage Daily. The coffee comes in three caffeine levels: 1.25x, 1.5x or 1.75x, and the company says the extra caffeine does not affect taste or how the coffee is prepared.
Maxwell House also has launched a parallel coffee line called Max Indulge in Mocha, Mocha & Salted Caramel and Mocha & S’mores flavors. Both Max Boost and Max Indulge are available in roast, ground and soluble varieties for $4.29 or $7.99 for the Keurig K-Cup.
"Younger consumers love the taste of coffee, but are looking to other beverage categories for functional benefits to address their different needs throughout the day," Luke Cole, a director of marketing for Kraft Heinz Company, told Beverage Daily.
Mainstream coffee companies can differentiate products in terms of flavor and origin, while offering caffeine at either decaf or regular levels. Some coffee varieties are available online — with colorful names such as Death Wish — that tend to contain a larger proportion of high caffeine robusta beans compared to smoother tasting, lower caffeine arabica varieties.
Now, mainstream coffee giant Maxwell House is taking its new high caffeine brew into mainstream grocery stores, squarely focused on millennials. The question is whether or not it will work with a group of consumers who tend to choose other coffee brands. Only 6% of consumers aged 18-29 say Maxwell House offers the best quality coffee — a lower proportion than any other demographic. Younger consumers also drink more coffee outside of the home than other generations, so the company is taking a gamble that added caffeine might increase in-home coffee consumption.
Its claim that younger consumers “are looking to other beverage categories for functional benefits” could suggest the company is taking aim at the energy drinks market rather than its competitors in the coffee space. Millennials are interested in high caffeine drinks, and are credited with driving a 56% increase in the energy drinks market from 2009-2014. Taking a chunk of this audience depends on whether this interest is based on caffeine content alone, or on other energy drink attributes too, such as refreshment.
When it comes to Maxwell House's Max Indulge flavored coffee range, younger consumers are likely to be core customers. According to Keurig, those aged 25-39 are the biggest daily consumers of gourmet coffee, and 86% of millennial flavored coffee drinkers will experiment with new flavors.