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Starbucks Brewing New Non-Coffee Products

Even as McDonald's (see above) and others try to beef up their coffee offerings to compete in the caffeine-crazed world that Starbucks has wrought, the Seattle-based behemoth is moving on to new products to fuel growth. The latest -- "Starbucks signature hot chocolate - will be unveiled today in North American stores.

"What got us to this place is no longer going to be exactly the model as we're going forward," says Michelle Gass, Starbucks svp senior vice president of marketing. And chocolate has great power to detour people into a cafe, according to Rachel Antalek, Starbucks' director of espresso.

The new hot chocolate contains four types of West African cocoa and is less based on milk than the original beverage, which will still be sold. It's also customizable. Sprinkled atop the whipped cream is French sea salt that is smoked over burning chardonnay barrels and blended with Hawaiian Turbinado sugar. Why bother? "Because it tastes good," says Antalek.

Another product to be unveiled today, writes Andrea James, will be Italian-inspired square sandwiches that come with either sausage, egg and cheese or portabello mushroom, spinach and ricotta cheese.



Read the whole story at Seattle Post-Intelligencer »

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