Tim Hortons Joins QSRs Taking Over Grocery Stores’ Coffee Aisles

Tim Hortons cold brew coffee

As restaurants look to expand their reach to more parts of consumers’ day-to-day routines, many fast-food chains are getting into consumer-packaged goods (CPG). Take, for example, the coffee aisle, which is filling up with restaurant brands.

Tim Hortons, the North American coffee chain with more than 5,400 locations around the world, owned by quick-service restaurant (QSR) giant Restaurant Brands International, recently announced an expansion of its CPG efforts, taking on the U.S. market with the launch of cold brew coffee concentrate at Walmart and smaller grocery chains.

“Consumers will love every delicious sip,” Markus Sturm, head of CPG at Tim Hortons, said in a statement, adding that the “flavor experience” is “inspired by” the cold brew sold at the chain’s restaurants.

This move marks the first Tim Hortons CPG product to be available throughout the U.S., with the press release citing “strong demand” in the country from both consumers and retailers.

Coffee has been a popular category for QSR chains looking to enter the grocery store, and it stands to reason — many consumers drink coffee every day, or even multiple times a day. By becoming part of these coffee drinkers’ routines, restaurants can drive interaction with their brand every day.

Starbucks, for instance, has many packaged coffee products, ranging from ground coffees to ready-to-drink beverages. McDonald’s has its McCafé at Home line. Dunkin’ has its Dunkin’ at Home products, which run the gamut of coffee categories.

In fact, Dunkin’ has even expanded into boozy coffee drinks. On Monday (Aug. 14), the café and donut shop chain announced the launch of Dunkin’ Spiked, a brand of canned alcoholic iced coffees and teas in 12 states.

“The growing appetite for adult beverages inspired us to put a twist on our customers’ favorite Dunkin’ Iced Coffee, Iced Tea and Refresher flavors,” Dunkin’ Vice President of Retail Business Development Brian Gilbert said in a statement.

The beverages will soon be available in grocery stores and liquor stores, but not in the brand’s restaurants.

It is not only QSRs looking to get in on consumers’ day-to-day coffee routines — some full-service restaurant (FSR) brands are also looking to establish a presence in the space. Earlier this year, Kraft Heinz shared that it is launching a line of coffees partnership with casual dining chain IHOP.

These entries come as consumers increasingly brew their own coffee at home in an effort to reduce their expenses amid inflation.

The J.M. Smucker Company, on a call with analysts in June discussing its fourth-quarter 2023 earnings results, noted that consumers are increasingly shifting to drinking coffee at home.

“Overall, at-home coffee remains strong, with at-home consumption representing 71% of all coffee drinking occasions,” Chairman, CEO and President Mark Smucker said. “The at-home retail coffee market is positioned for continued growth, as macroeconomic conditions and changes in consumer habits all largely benefit at-home coffee.”

These trends will likely continue, given that consumers are continuing to feel these pressures. Research from the latest edition of PYMNTS’ Consumer Inflation Sentiment Report, “Consumer Inflation Sentiment: The Great Resignation is Not Over,” which draws from a survey of a census-balanced panel of more than 2,200 U.S. consumers last month, reveals that shoppers’ purchasing power is 11% lower than two years ago.