Toronto-based Club Coffee isn’t the only company denouncing industry giant Keurig over what it sees as monopolistic tactics in the market of single-serve pods.
Vancouver’s Granville Island Coffee, which partnered with Club Coffee for a single-serving pod, is throwing its support behind the fellow Canadian company’s coffee confrontation.
Club Coffee announced November 13 it has filed a formal complaint with the Competition Bureau of Canada, calling on Ottawa to investigate Keurig.
Granville Island Coffee CEO Darren Footz said his company supports Club Coffee’s fight and is “definitely” looking at joining the formal complaint against Keurig.
Club Coffee filed a $600-million lawsuit against Keurig in early October, alleging the Vermont-based company was misleading consumers by telling them only coffee pods they produced worked on Keurig’s brewing machines.
Furthermore, the lawsuit claimed Keurig was forcing retailers into exclusive agreements that would limit competition and drive up prices of single-serving pods.
“We believe in competition as long as it’s fair competition, as long as the market leader is not dominating the category,” Footz said.
It’s estimated Keurig’s single-serve brewing machines hold about 90% of the market.
The company’s patent on single-serve coffee pods expired in 2012, opening the door for other companies to produce own coffee pods compatible with Keurig machines.
Club Coffee said, on average, its customers pay about 40% less for its coffee pods than Keurig’s. But the Ontario company claims Keurig’s new brewing machines are designed not to work with competitor’s pods.
Footz said his company is still deciding whether it should join Club Coffee’s lawsuit.
“It affects our business and the bottom line is, single-serve coffee is here to stay,” he said.
“People are gravitating and evolving from drop machines to single-serve machines and so if Granville Island doesn’t have a channel available to it, we consequently will be squeezed out of the market.”
In an emailed statement, a Keurig Canada spokesman described Club Coffee's complaints as "without merit" and the company would "address the legal proceedings as appropriate.”