June 11, 2012 / 1:10 PM / in 6 years

RPT-Kroger plans coffee K-Cups: spokesman

By Martinne Geller

NEW YORK, June 8 (Reuters) - Kroger Co, the biggest U.S. supermarket chain, is planning to introduce store-branded single-serve coffee cups compatible with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc’s popular Keurig brewers, a company spokesman told Reuters on Friday.

In addition, the Keurig system may not be the only system for which Kroger will introduce cups, spokesman Keith Dailey said.

Kroger is one of many companies including Nestle, Kraft, Sara Lee, Green Mountain, Starbucks and privately held Mars looking to tap the growth of single-cup coffee.

While increased competition has some industry watchers worried about the sustainability of current profit margins, many point to consumers’ growing desire for convenience and high-quality coffee at home.

Earlier this week, No. 1 coffee chain Starbucks said its stores will begin selling single-serve K-Cup coffee pods for Keurig brewers on June 12, months earlier than some on Wall Street had expected.

Single-cup brewers make fresh cups of coffee, or even espresso drinks, in seconds. The single-cup category is small compared with the overall coffee sector, but growing rapidly.

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