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Starbucks Hopes For an Instant Hit

Caffeine addicts nationwide got their first taste of Starbucks’ newest offering - VIA.

The coffee giant blanketed the nation with thousands of free samples of the instant brew today. Starbucks hopes to drum up support in a market that presents big opportunity for the company.

On Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo, the Founder of Starbucks Howard Schultz said “instant coffee is a $20 billion category that hasn’t had any innovation.” Schultz said “instant coffee hasn’t had any innovation for 50 years and we have a huge opportunity here.” Looking ahead, the CEO expects VIA to hit grocery stores in 2010. And when it comes to the big opportunity in instant coffee, Schultz expects even more demand from such markets like the U.K., Russia and China.

Outside of the new brew, Starbucks has some more positive news on the horizon. Schultz told Maria that Starbucks “is going to start growing the company again in the U.S.” He also remains cautiously optimistic about 2010.

Whether Via will be a home run remains to be seen. But with power-hitter Howard Schultz behind the plate… it wouldn’t be surprising if it is.

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