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    Cold Coffee Becoming a Hot Item

    Ready-to-drink beverage making headway in the market.

    WASHINGTON -- Accounting for $326 million of the $19 billion coffee market in 2003, industry experts say that ready-to-drink coffees have become hugely popular items in convenience stores and supermarkets, reported the Associated Press.

    "Coffee drinks just exploded," said Chris Testa, vice president of Yoo-hoo, in White Plains, N.Y. Watching other brands take off, Yoo-hoo took its traditional chocolate drink and added coffee, creating Dyna-_Mocha, which rolled out in c-stores and supermarkets in February.

    The growth in drinks that suggest a coffeehouse ambience and have caffeine content like an ordinary cup of coffee came in large part from Starbucks.

    In 1997, Starbucks teamed its product expertise and Pepsi's nationwide distribution system. Their joint venture, North American Coffee Partnership, moved a bottled version of Starbucks' milkshake-like Frappuccino coffee into stores in 1997. An espresso-based companion, Starbucks DoubleShot, followed in 2002.

    The two brands dominate the market. Leading competitors include Folgers' Jakada and Yoo-hoo's Dyna-_Mocha. Canned versions of Miami-based Rowland Coffee Roasters' Cafe Bustelo and Medaglia D'Oro were shown at the Food Marketing Institute's trade show in Chicago in early May.

    The ready-to-drink coffees are being marketed to people age 18 to the mid-40s. Industry executives say the sweet drinks also have fans among teenagers. The bottled Frappuccino's market is more female than male, and includes soccer moms, said Jeff Dubiel, North American Coffee Partnership's director of marketing.

    Some bottled Frappuccino drinkers could be the moms' teenage soccer-playing kids. Teenagers are "a part of our market" even though the company concentrates on adults, Dubiel said.

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