March 10, 2009 // Franchising.com // Contrary to popular belief, all coffee is not the same, according to the leading independent research company specialising in taste comparison tests.
The cappuccino handcrafted by Costa's highly skilled baristas beats that of Starbucks and Nero by an unprecedented margin.
A staggering 7 out of 10 - more than two thirds - of people who defined themselves as "coffee lovers" preferred Costa cappuccino to that of its leading competitors in comprehensive blind taste tests across a number of British cities
The margin of preference over Costa's competitors astounded Sean Chamberlain, MD of Tangible Branding, who has 10 years of experience running scientific taste test comparisons. He commented: "Costa is the most successful winning product of any direct product test we have ever run across like for like food and drink products. We have never seen such a substantial win."
Costa is celebrating the research findings with a series of impactful advertising executions, which launch on March 9th and will run throughout the UK in national press, posters, radio and online.
The reason for Costa's large margin of victory is down to the chain's focus on the 'three Bs', believes Gennaro Pelliccia, Costa's Italian Master of Coffee.
He said: "Delicious coffee comes from having great beans, a great blend, and great baristas. We scour the world to buy the best beans and blend them into our unique Mocha Italia taste profile. This enables our baristas to produce superb coffee every time."
"I personally taste every single batch of raw coffee beans that comes to our roastery in Lambeth, London and am responsible for making sure that we maintain the Costa taste profile. This ensures that our customers can consistently enjoy our top quality cappuccino."
"These test results show that what we're doing is right. Even with the other options out there, customers know that when they come to us, they really are getting the best quality - and this test proves it."
Costa Coffee's Managing Director John Derkach, added: "To be successful, you need to meet customer needs and offer real value. For us, that means serving the best-tasting coffee every time, and in every store."
334 coffee shop users in Sheffield, High Wycombe and Glasgow were asked to indicate a preference between Costa, Nero and Starbucks. This sample provides highly robust and accurate data.
In blind head-to-head paired comparisons, Costa is the clearly preferred cappuccino at the 95% confidence level. This means that if the test was repeated 100 times, the same or very similar results would occur at least 95 times.
Preference for Costa's cappuccino is remarkably strong in comparison to competitors among those who identified themselves as "Coffee lovers", With 7 out of 10 preferring Costa (with 72% preferring Costa versus 28% Starbucks; and 69% preferring Costa versus 31% Nero). Significantly, coffee drinkers who prefer Caffè Nero and Starbucks as their main outlets preferred Costa cappuccino over their preferred retailer's product.
TANGIBLE BRANDING LIMITED is a consumer-centered marketing consultancy that enables brand owners to realise top-line business / brand growth in increasingly complex and competitive markets. Tangible has offices & research facilities based in Windsor, Sheffield and Birmingham.
Tangible has experience of product testing, including the following markets:
(n.b. results of other companies' testing will not be divulged)
At the venue, unbranded sleeves were placed over the cups and lids were removed to ensure all products were blind tested. The only marking on each cup was a code letter (J,K,L) to indicate which product was being tasted 1st / 2nd. The order of tasting was rotated across all sessions.
Respondents were informed that they would be asked to taste two cappuccinos (either Costa vs. Nero or Costa vs. Starbucks) and that they could drink as much of the product as they wished (as opposed to a sip test). The first cappuccino would then be presented to each respondent.
Once appearance and smell had been rated, respondents were allowed to add sugar to taste, if desired. Respondents answered questions based on the tasting attributes, and upon completing the questions relating to the first cappuccino, the second cappuccino was then presented. The same questions were then asked of this product.
They were then asked to identify which they preferred.
Number of respondents = 334 across three locations, the required number to ensure scientific accuracy.
Costa was founded by Italian brothers Sergio and Bruno Costa in 1971.
Costa's in-store baristas are all coached in the art of coffee making at the company's unique Costa Coffee Academy based at its own roastery in Lambeth, London.
Costa Coffee was the first UK coffee shop chain to commit sourcing Rainforest Alliance Certified Coffee.
Costa set up a registered charity (no.327489) in 2006 called 'The Costa Foundation' to help the communities within the countries from which Costa sources its coffee beans. The Costa Foundation has now built and runs 12 schools, with more planned.