Although consumers are quite particular when it comes to choosing coffee, understanding the criteria they base their choices on – particularly what causes them to consider coffee 'authentic' – can be difficult. Spurred by the convenience store industry's very successful move into the Japanese coffee market, Coca-Cola Japan (CCJC) saw offering its own 'authentic' coffee as an important growth opportunity. This paper describes how using innovative methodologies, CCJC/ INTAGE successfully gained insights into the above criteria and developed a new serving model.

The growth and evolution of the coffee market in Japan

The custom of drinking coffee started in the late 1700s in Japan, but it wasn't until the early 20th century when coffee shops first opened in large numbers, that the custom spread to the general population. For a long time, coffee remained something drunk in coffee shops. With the introduction of instant coffee in 1961, however, it became a household drink. Shortly afterwards, in 1969, the world's first canned coffee, "UCC Coffee", went on sale and immediately became a huge hit. With ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee, the beverage became something that can be drunk conveniently at any place, and the coffee market expanded greatly, driven by this convenience. As the market grew and evolved, the range of packaging also diversified to include carton packs, plastic cups, PET bottles, and "bottle cans" (metallic cans with a screw cap). (See figure 1.) Total coffee consumption volume increased steadily.