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Green Mountain Whisper

Green Mountain Whisper

Research Question: Will private label manufacturers choose to partner with GMCR or compete with them head to head?

Companies Covered: Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR)

Report Available: October 10, 2013


Blueshift’s initial research shows GMCR trying to license private labels to expand its empire, but large companies pose the biggest hurdle for GMCR to overcome as private labels continue to gain market share.



  1. GMCR’s most recent earnings call shared that unlicensed K-Cup producers are taking a bigger portion of the K-Cup market, now encompassing 8% of the at-home channel with GMCR estimating it will grow to 11% by the end of the third quarter. GMCR is looking to convert these private-label producers into licensed partners, decreasing the amount of competition in the marketplace. The company is currently in talks with private-label companies offering two benefits: better/consistent quality and access to advanced technology moving forward, though few details have been offered on the size and scope of the companies GMCR is targeting.
  2. Large private-label K-Cup manufacturers like Kraft’s Maxwell House and Benckiser’s Peet’s’ recent entry into the market have the ability to under-cut GMCR prices and appeal to price-conscious consumers.  Lower-priced K-Cups, together with the loyal consumers these established coffee companies have developed through the years, pose the biggest threat to GMCR coffee sales, especially when compared to smaller, regional private-label upstarts.
  3. Two grocery executives in Blueshift’s August report said they would consider licensing from GMCR to preserve their private-label franchise, if necessary. None of the sources would alter their investments in private label K-Cups, due to GMCR’s rumored move to bar code K-Cups, though two sources said it might limit new entrants from coming into the market.


Blueshift will gather data and issue a market research report from independent sources in the following areas: private-label manufacturers, private-label buyers for grocery stores, coffee category managers at non-grocery retailers, online distributors, office supply channel, and grocery store personnel.


To see other ideas Blueshift Research is currently working on, please click here.