Starbuck’s ‘Trenta’ Size: New Product Marketing Raises Both Excitement & Concerns

Coffee drinkers, unite! For those of you who are loyal to Starbucks…this is probably already old news.

Starbucks, one of the most prominent coffeehouse chains in the world have served its loyal customers since 1971. Atmospheric, cozy rooms, a wide variety of cold and hot drinks, baked pastries and snacks, and even some of the latest selection of hip, urban music for added ambience.

Current sizes at Starbucks (from l-r): Short, Tall, Grande, and Venti (20 US fl oz.)

After releasing its new logo in 2011, Starbuck’s next marketing task for the new year is to gradually introduce its new cup size, the trenta (Italian for thirty, although it is 31 US fl oz.) to customers in the United States. The company hopes to debut the new marketing product nationwide by May 3rd.

New Starbucks logo for 2011

While some customers may be jumping with glee (I know I am), the company seemed to have overlooked the fact that our nation is among one of the most health-conscious; consistently rooted in the notion that living well equates to consuming less calories. Trenta have been under attack by dietitians, and graphs have sprung up that provide visual comparisons of the size of a human stomach to trenta (the average stomach capacity at 900 ml, while the trenta size is 920 ml). Starbucks have claimed that they will only be utilizing the trenta size for drinks that are under 230 calories, but some have contested that extra additions (such as sugar, cream, milk, or flavoring) that customers put into their drinks will increase the calories overall.  Others believe that the new size might make its way to drinks of higher caloric content in the long run. Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, defended the new product by stating that “the 31-ounce beverage was a response from customers who wanted iced coffee and iced tea only in a larger size.” In order to generate customer excitement for the arrival of trenta, Starbucks recently launched the Starbucks Card eGifts on Facebook, where Facebook users can now connect their accounts to eGifts and send Starbucks gift cards to their friends without knowing their email addresses.

Taking these arguments into account, how do you think the Starbucks ‘trenta’ will fare in the future – short-term and long-term? What are some alterations or additional marketing techniques the company should adopt in order to appease the health concerns of our nation, and to make the product more appealing to its consumers?

As a final note, be on the lookout California. You are next on the list as the trenta will be arriving to your local Starbucks on February 1, 2011…you might want to save room in your stomach for that day!

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8 Responses to Starbuck’s ‘Trenta’ Size: New Product Marketing Raises Both Excitement & Concerns

  1. menewell says:

    Okay, my initial thought is that Starbuck’s is coming a little bit late to the “Super-Size” me game, but they are dealing with a different market segment than your typical fast food chains, so it will be intriguing to see what happens here. The one thing that did jump out to me from your post is their logo change for 2011, I think it’s a terrible move! They are removing the trademark Starbucks Coffee name that circles the border and the image that they are going with, in my mind is weak and doesn’t make me thing of Starbucks. It is a change from their roots and their classic logo, and a change that I think they will be regretting. What do you think? Why do some companies feel a need to change or update their logo when it has become a staple in society i.e. Nike, McDonald’s, Kleenex etc.

  2. bephelps says:

    I agree with menewell. The logo change is a bad idea. A few years ago Starbucks reintroduced their original logo from the 1970s. As far as I can tell, it was a failure (they switched back to their current logo almost immediately). In this case, removing the company name is a mistake. For some brands the logo can stand apart from the name (Nike and Apple jump to mind) but for others the logo is not that well established. While dedicated Starbucks customers may be familiar with the mermaid logo, many others are likely not. In this case, I think Starbucks should have kept their name!

  3. shotlowr says:

    Wow. I hadn’t seen the new logo for Starbucks (even though I’d seen chatter about it on the internet). I definitely think that Starbucks should have kept their name on logo…it is an iconic part of their brand! Also, regarding the new trenta size…I think it’s very curious also for Starbucks to be going in a decidedly “unhealthy” direction…especially in light of new laws in California, Portland, Seattle that are requiring food vendors to post mandatory nutrition facts.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=calorie-labeling-menus

  4. Cadonna Dory says:

    I’m just wondering what kind of market research did Starbucks do before introducing the trenta. I know the CEO said the bigger size was a response from ice coffee drinkers but I really want to know how they collected their data. It would be interesting. Was their target audience really looking for it or is it just another way for them to make money? While they are not exactly like the fast food industry, I’m curious if the backlash will spread. Maybe down the road they too will be forced to get rid of their “super size” ploy.

  5. Katie Chamberlain says:

    I think the argument about the Starbucks name being removed can somewhat be related to the discussion we had on Monday about Song (Airlines). I agree with everyone that it may not have been the best move to eliminate the Starbucks name but do you think this could have something to do with emotional branding? The name of the coffee company is no longer necessary because loyalists know the logo and love the coffee inside. To them, it is more about how the company and coffee make them feel than overtly promoting the company.
    As Sasa points out, Starbucks has been around since 1971. Maybe Starbucks thinks that after four decades (as of this year), their following is strong enough that it no longer needs to stamp its name everywhere. It is now on every street corner and pretty much everyone knows what the logo represents. So it is no longer about creating awareness about the brand. It is about creating a strong connection between the product and consumers, and this could be Starbucks’ newest strategy to create that bond.

  6. Vukic says:

    As someone who used to visit Starbucks three times a day I’m happy I’ve broken the habit. And yes, most times we patron Starbucks more for the social content it provides, rather than the coffee quality-let’s be frank. Trenta? Come on. Really? What’s next? A gallon? Why do we have to supersize everything in this country? Wouldn’t it have been better to improve the quality of coffee already offered ? Maybe try to lower the prices, as a way of meeting people half way in these economic times. Starbucks could have based their new marketing campaign on that. Better and cheaper? But i guess that’s out of the question.People are already paying more for a cup of coffee than for a gallon of gas. And if I have to pay the price, I’m looking for the closest Peets where coffee quality is better.Sorry Starbucks

    • sasamao says:

      Haha, you make a good point. The prices at Starbucks are outrageous. Since I’ve moved to LA, I have to admit, my loyalty shifted somewhat toward coffee bean & tea leaf (we don’t have it in Washington). I think their coffee definitely tastes a lot better (and not as over-roasted). Their prices are somewhat the same, but perhaps a tad cheaper for the signature drink I usually get. I agree with you completely though on Starbuck’s ‘super-sizing scheme’. When you’re operating a business specializing in coffee, the focus should be on the quality of the drinks, not the quantity.

  7. xueruixi says:

    Why should people get excited about super-size coffee? Do they need more coffee all in once to get energy? Drinking lots of coffee is not a healthy habit from the start. If drinking one cup to get energy in the morning is reasonable, buying a super-size cup seems just too indulging to be justified. Do they need to save time for waiting in the coffee stand so that they buy the large size for the whole day ? I wonder how many people like to drink cold coffee( which taste different from ice coffee) and hold the paper cup for a day. Thus this idea is not tempting for me. I would only care whether they have a new coffee flavor.

    However, if they make some promotion along with the super-cup, things might change. If they want the cup to be special, then make it special. For example, the super size could come as s souvenir for special occasion, or people could refill coffee for free with these special cup. The cup should not look like the same as the regular one. Besides the size, special design or theme need to come along. Don’t just make a bigger cup with more expensive charge. Who will get excited?