Keurig’s newest coffee brewer was expected to be a top-selling item this holiday season, but it might end up alienating the company’s loyal customers.
The new $US189 machine, called Keurig 2.0, launched in August and it has already racked up hundreds of scathing online reviews from unhappy customers.
“This machine is a total waste of money and I will not be a party to lining Keurig’s greedy pockets by keeping it,” one customer wrote on Amazon. “I’ve been happy with Keurig in the past, but this model is going back and I will find another manufacturer to purchase from.”
Unlike Keurig’s single-serve machine, Keurig 2.0 can make up to 30 ounces of coffee at once using a K-Cup that’s about twice the size of its traditional coffee pods.
Many customers are upset that unlike other Keurig brewers, the new machine doesn’t accept non-Keurig brand K-Cups. A box of eight carafe-size Keurig K-Cups costs about $US15.
“If you don’t mind zip-tying your hands behind your back when browsing your grocery store for K-Cups, then the 2.0 is for you,” one reviewer wrote. “Feel like supporting Keurig’s tactical attempt to increase the price of these little coffee pods? Or maybe you just need Keurig to lighten your wallet every week? Enjoy your new and unimproved brewer that does less for more of your money.”
Others complained that the machine doesn’t work well.
“Heats up slowly. Brews slowly. Doesn’t make good coffee,” wrote on reviewer. “This new system has effectively undone all the great benefits of the old machines.”
“There are countless retail legends about the [holiday] season being saved by a Salad Shooter, Fry Baby or similar item that was must-have in December and can’t-find by the following March,”Warren Shoulberg wrote earlier this year in the industry newsletterThe Robin Report. “And certainly, big-box stores [such as Target and Wal-Mart] still nostalgically recall the heyday of the single greatest selling small electrics product of all time: The George Foreman Lean Mean Grilling Machine.”
More than 100 million George Foreman grills have sold since 1994, according to Foreman’s book, Knockout Entrepreneur, which was published in 2009. A 2002 New York Times article called the grill “the largest-selling household appliance in the history of the world. Ever.”
“Retailers would kill for another Foreman Grill,” Shoulberg writes. “They are hoping Keurig 2.0 is it.”
Keurig Green Mountain has also put a lot of stock in the success of its new machine.
“Retailers are very excited about the launch of Keurig 2.0, and have been very supportive by highlighting the product with advertising, promotion, and merchandising, as we move through the holiday season,” Keurig CEO Brian Kelley said during an earnings call Wednesday.
The brewer is “by far the largest and most significant product launch we’ve ever accomplished,” he said.
Two years ago, the company launched another machine that made larger servings called The Vue, and it never caught on.
Shoulberg blames The Vue’s failure on the fact that “It was expensive [and] it didn’t have the endless choice of flavours and blends the single-serve machines offer.”
The Keurig 2.0 has some new customisable options that allow users to adjust the temperature and strength of each batch of coffee. The machine also remembers preferences with the touch of a “favourite” button and it still has the capacity to brew smaller batches using regular-sized K-Cups.
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