Next year, you'll find McDonald's at your grocery store—but not in burger, fry, or McNugget form. The fast-food giant is joining forces with Kraft to test sales of packaged coffee it will sell under the McCafé brand of coffee drinks it offers in some restaurants.
"We want to work with McDonald's to help consumers enjoy McCafé premium coffee in the comfort and convenience of their own homes," said Kraft Foods CEO Tony Vernon in a call with analysts today.
Packaged McCafé products will include bags of whole-bean and ground coffee, as well as pods for single-serve brewers, and will make their way onto the shelves of grocery stores and other retail locations across the U.S. sometime next year. The McCafé brand will be wedged between similar grocery store offerings from brands like Dunkin' Donuts and Starbucks, who ended a distribution deal with Kraft in 2011.
McDonald's has been serving McCafé coffee and espresso drinks for years, so U.S. consumers will find the brand familiar when they see the label on store shelves. It offers McDonald's a chance to reach the home-consumer market, which hasn't yet been explored by competitors like Burger King and Wendy's which, along with other, smaller competitors, have spent much of 2013 rushing new products to market in search of newer, younger customers. This year, McDonald's saw the launch of the chicken McWrap; Wendy's had the Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger with a launch campaign starring celebrity Nick Lachey; and Burger King has experimented with various French fry dishes like the $1 "French fry burger" and the lower-calorie Satisfries.
[Image: Flickr user lana Peralta]