Coffee drinking is part of French culture, which makes hot coffee ranges in foodservice an important consideration. On the one hand traditionalism means consumers often stick to country-specific classics, on the other hand it is likely that younger or more experimental consumers would seek novelty. 

French coffee is typically served short and black, with milky coffee consumption limited to breakfast occasions. Such specifics influence hot coffee menus of quick service restaurant (QSR) chains by limiting the number of options offered. For example, Starbucks’ hot coffee range in France currently includes 11 espresso-based hot drinks, while the chain’s US website lists 41, including 12 variants of latte. 

We ran a Score steer with the available 11 options and found out that cappuccino is the top scorer, followed by café latte. Originally Italian rather than French, both coffee formats are characterised by long sizes and milk content. Could this mean that French consumers are currently open to new hot coffee introductions, influenced by foreign cultures? 

As it is similar to both cappuccino and latte, the flat white could be seen as attractive, but would it make a successful addition to Starbucks’ menu in France? Flat white is an espresso-based drink originating from Australia or New Zealand that contains steamed milk. 

Starbucks started serving the beverage in London stores in 2010, and made it part of its year-round menu in American stores in 2015, having gained a specialty café standard status. Has the time come for the coffee chain to launch the drink in France? We tested the Flat White option within the score steer and obtained the following result:

The new option ranks fifth out of twelve with a score of 6.67 and 59% of consumers in France likely to buy it. A score of nearly 7 is a sign that the flat white could be successful in Starbucks’ cafes in France.

Additionally, the menu description can be optimised by split-testing consumers’ reaction to suggested text variants. We picked two descriptions from the product’s English language marketing literature and translated them into French: ‘not-too-strong, not-too-creamy, just-right flavour’ and ‘a smaller, stronger latte’. The two descriptions were shown to two separate consumer subsets, along with the question “Would you buy this product?”:

‘Not-too-strong, not-too-creamy, just-right flavour’ is the descriptor that would influence more flat white purchases in France.

Vypr Score can be used as a tool to provide a snapshot of a category and inform decisions about ranging for both packaged products and foodservice items. This test can be followed by split steers to establish most effective packaging and claims. Vypr is currently expanding into France and Germany in addition to its long-established business in the UK.

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