Starbucks Adds Pumpkin Spice K-Cups

Paul Ausick

Starbucks Corp. (NASDAQ: SBUX) has reached an agreement with Keurig Green Mountain Inc. (NASDAQ: GMCR) to sell its popular pumpkin spice latte in Keurig’s K-cup format. The flavor is one of four that the coffee giant will make available in its own stores and other locations later this summer.

The pumpkin spice K-cups won’t be available until this fall as a seasonal offering. Starbucks first introduced the drink in 2003 and it has become a customer favorite. Other seasonal favorites like gingerbread and eggnog await their chance.

Keurig, which was acquired by Dutch holding company JAB earlier this year in a deal worth $13.9 billion, has just named a new chief executive officer. Robert Gamgort, currently the CEO of Pinnacle Foods Inc. (NYSE: PF), will take over at Keurig in early May.

Starbucks is trying to cement its customer relationships by appealing to repeat customers, and it also recently announced an expanded rewards program that includes a prepaid, Starbucks-branded Visa card that can be used at any retailer that accepts Visa cards. Reward points will be awarded for all purchases and can be redeemed at any Starbucks store. The new cards are expected to become available by the end of this year.

At its shareholders meeting on Wednesday, the company also announced a deal with Nestle to sell pods for that company’s Nespresso home coffee machines. This is the first offering from Starbucks on the most popular home coffee brewer in Europe.

Starbucks stock traded down about 0.2% on Thursday, at $58.70 in a 52-week range of $42.05 to $64.00.