Honestly, Keurig is going a little Mean Girls on us, here. I’m all for a good Regina George quote here and there, but some people just take it too far. I’m looking at you, Keurig.
In all seriousness, Keurig is making a controversial and exclusive move as early as this fall by preventing any coffee company not licensed by Keurig from making pods suitable for their machines.
I know, right? Talk about catty.
The single-cup market is a rapidly growing one, especially after the expiration of certain exclusivity patents that ended in 2012. Once competitors had the opportunity to produce the extremely popular K-Cup, they jumped on the bandwagon to produce generic pods for a much cheaper price than Green Mountain Coffee (the brand of Keurig coffee pods).
Though, technically, Keurig and Green Mountain Coffee have merged to form one, more recognizable name in Keurig Green Mountain in an effort to further assert their dominance as the top contender in the K-Cup market.
We get it, Keurig! Jeez.
Naturally, in their attempt to beat out the competition, Keurig has caused quite the uproar among their competitors. One in particular, TreeHouse Foods, is not going down without a fight. As of last month, TreeHouse Foods is suing Green Mountain Coffee (or Keurig Green Mountain) on the ground of initiating of anti-competitive acts to unlawfully maintain a monopoly over the cups used in single-serve brewers.
According to the lawyers representing TreeHouse Foods in their court case:
“TreeHouse asserts that these actions are an attempt to eliminate consumer choice and to coerce Keurig 2.0 brewer owners into purchasing only Green Mountain owned or licensed K-cups. In addition, Green Mountain has announced plans to eliminate the current lineup of K-cup brewers, which function with competitive cups, to exclude competition and force consumers to purchase higher-priced Green Mountain cups. TreeHouse’s lawsuit maintains that any supposed consumer benefits from the new technology are more than outweighed by the harm to competition and consumers by eliminating their choice and forcing them to pay higher prices for Green Mountain cups.”
So, to play Devil’s Advocate, Keruig comes up with this successful product and has to watch a million and one other coffee companies take advantage of their product and make millions of bootleg K-cups. I guess I can kind of see where they’re coming from (not really, I think it’s silly, I’m just trying to be understanding). I suppose I’d be a little protective over my billion dollar enterprise.
On the other hand, however, is just that: This is a billion dollar enterprise. In this video from the Times Herald, a small coffee business owner from California discusses how Keurig’s monster profit grossly overshadows their own, despite his independent company making several million a year.
With this in perspective, we can more easily realize that although Keurig may be trying to protect the profit they make, the profit they make outweighs any of their competitors profits’.
It really just depends on who you sympathize with. I’d be interested to hear who everybody sides with! Let’s hear it people, will you back up the new Regina George of the coffee industry? I mean…she IS pretty fabulous.
As early as next fall, Keruig will only take certain K-cups.