Starbucks' Chocolate Culture

Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX  ) is introducing a new drink, and it looks like it has another big hit on its hands.

Just the other day while I was walking back from my local Starbucks and enjoying a cup of caramel apple cider, I mused that everything at the coffee purveyor's omnipresent cafés is pretty overpriced. But then again, every item I've ever had at a Starbucks, from the coffee to the baked goods to the candies, has tasted pretty darn good. And I'll keep going back and paying those inflated prices, which are about to get even higher.

Now, the firm is introducing a new chocolate dessert drink that it's calling Chantico. The beverage is made from whole milk, cocoa butter, and cocoa powder. If this latest concoction is as delicious as Starbucks' other products, then it may be tapping into a major growth opportunity. Like coffee, chocolate appeals to a lot of people, and I'm betting consumers will be willing to pay up for a premium taste. What's more, chocolate drinking has the potential to become as addictive as coffee drinking. After all, it offers a caffeine jolt and a sugar rush.

The one potential drawback to Chantico is in the calorie department. According to USA Today, one six-ounce cup of the stuff has 390 calories, along with 21 grams of fat and 51 grams of carbohydrates. Obviously this is likely to deter the more diet-conscious from consuming Chantico liberally.

Nevertheless, Starbucks seems to be on to something. No, Chantico is not likely to displace coffee as the company's signature drink, but if properly marketed, it could be a big success. The potential sales for Chantico may even give the company's doubters reason to be more optimistic.

Fool contributor Brian Gorman does not own any shares of Starbucks.


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