One of the few coffee brands that can challenge Starbucks in terms of scale and global image is Costa Coffee. This UK-based chain has spread to nearly 4,000 locations in 31 countries, making it a formidable rival to the Seattle-based megacorporation. Costa has never made it to the United States before, though, but thanks to Coca-Cola, that may be changing very soon.
The beverage giant just bought Costa Coffee for a whopping $5.1 billion US Dollars, according to Food Dive. With the acquisition of the second-largest coffee chain in the world, Coca-Cola just became a relevant coffeehouse player in virtually every continent, save for North and South America. They are looking at expanding the chain, though, meaning that Costa Coffee locations are likely heading to the United States very soon.
Coca-Cola doesn't have to wait until then to begin challenging Starbucks stateside, however. They can leverage their massive talent and size in the consumer packaged goods space to start developing bottled Costa Coffee products, like iced coffees. These could make their way into US markets sooner than a storefront, and at a much wider spread.
Costa's strong international brand image makes it a formidable opponent to Starbucks, especially when leveraged with the capital and resources a massive brand like Coca-Cola can supply it with. The fight to be the world's top coffee chain just got a whole lot more interesting, that's for sure.