SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — Not long ago, Lays began offering potato chips with some interesting flavors including Sriracha, Mango and Cheesy Garlic Bread, but that’s not the only company that’s been trying to mix things up.

But now Starbucks is perhaps raising the bar by adding a Guinness-flavored latté to the menu that already includes the very popular Pumpkin Spice, and Salted Caramel Mocha.

KCBS spoke with Kit Yarrow, professor of psychology and marketing at Golden Gate University in San Francisco as well as the author of “Decoding the Consumer Mind,” said that Starbucks is looking to expand its consumer base.


“There two biggest flavors, which are the Salted Caramel Mocha and the Pumpkin Spice are both really, really sweet and I think they’re thinking maybe, if they get the Guinness flavor in there, that’ll be expanding the appeal,” she said.

“If you sort of keep within the realm of what consumers would expect, and I think flavored coffees are within that realm, but then give them lots of choices, that both satisfies their needs for something adventurous but it also feels safe because it matches the brand really well—and I think mostly, it’s mostly a good way to get consumers and social media. It keep the brand top of mind.”

Interestingly, Yarrow pointed out that Guinness has been doing some of its own brand experimentation introducing a blonde version that’s not done well.

The new flavor, called a Dark Barrel Latté, is only being tested in a handful of markets in Ohio and Florida. No cities in California were included and Yarrow said “representativeness” is reason why.

San Francisco, she said, is almost never picked as a test market because the city is number 50 on a scale of 50 cities that are representative of the rest of the country.

“They know the basic demographic of their base and they pick test markets that kind of match up or align,” Yarrow said.

“If it’s something seasonal, then they might throw in a weather cue.


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