Single serve pioneers Mocoffee are looking in some surprising new directions to chart their course for the future.
Founded as a partnership between single serve guru Pascal Schlittler and the inventor of the coffee capsule, Eric Favre, Mocoffee has made its name by being consistently ahead of the curve.
Which is why, at a time when capsules are the key innovation driving the industry forward, Mocoffee has shifted its focus to everything else.
“This is no longer our sole concern at Mocoffee,” says the company’s Chief Executive Schlittler. “Generation Y, changes in consumer habits, the emergence of new coffee drinking countries and new type of beverages are our topics and are what the coffee industry should be looking at.”
In order to find the answers to these questions, Schlittler says, Mocoffee is looking beyond finding the best blend or the ultimate packaging.
“It involves the community of customers and suppliers that converge in crowd innovation projects,” he tells GCR Magazine.
While a lot is made about coffee’s third wave in the café and barista culture, Schlittler says that many roasters and large companies have been slow to keep up.
He includes Mocoffee in this category, but says the company has been busy developing its offering to keep it at the cutting edge of its field.
“The game is no longer about creating convenience only, such as a capsule regardless of quality, packaging, origin etc.,” he says. “The trends are clear in the coffee industry: quality, sustainability, fair trade – long time retail markets and big players are challenged by the public and so are also many traditional businesses in the industry.”
In response to this, Mocoffee has shifted its strategic direction to focus on its own three Cs: community, connectivity and customisation.
“We believe that a given community needs to be created around a topic such as coffee, driving you to excel your products and grasp the needs at the root,” he says.
“Companies in the industry will need to face the challenges in relation to being constantly reviewed by their customers.”
In order to cater to this more completely, Mocoffee is now focused on creating machines that are a part of the Internet of Things, incorporating connectivity and themselves providing a platform around which communities can be built.
In order to increase its capacity for customisation, Mocoffee has recently teamed up with leading Brazilian green bean company, Tristao, enabling it to produce its products on the ground in Brazil.
This, Schlittler says, means the company will be far more flexible and responsive to changing consumer demands in the future, and have greater freedom to trial new and exciting products.
In line with this, Mocoffee has established a partnership with Isabel Raposeira, coffee specialist and owner of The Coffee Lab in Sao Paulo, a roasting laboratory for tasting and preparation of quality coffee, focused on micro lots with unique characteristics.
The Coffee Lab will support the Mocoffee team in designing new blends that can be tailor made to consumers’ preferences.
It also gives the company an edge in its commitment to sustainable practices, he says.
“Sustainability will be the big fight of the future,” Schlittler says, pointing to the fact that the new partnership with Tristao will enhance Mocoffee’s offer when it comes to coffee traceability, local blending, roasting and filling and cutting transportation and shipment times.
Another key step the company has taken to drive it forward is the appointment of Marco Miranda as its Head of Innovation.
With 14 years in the coffee industry, including the past six at leading Portuguese roaster Delta Cafés, Miranda comes to Mocoffee with a specific brief of helping Schlittler to realise his expanded vision for the company.
While at Delta, Miranda was involved in the creation of the Delta Q coffee capsule technology and helped the company to further strengthen its market leadership by expanding the business of a traditional coffee roasting company to that of a highly regarded manufacturer of coffee as well as of coffee capsules and coffee/tea capsule machines for the home-use market.
“Mocoffee managed to develop a business model that relied on know how, patents and networks implemented by Eric Favre, founder of Nespresso and inventor of the capsule system in general,” Miranda says.
In his new role, Miranda will take on the responsibility of continuing this legacy while also driving the company forward.
But, Schlittler says, the impetus for innovation at Mocoffee will not rest at the feet of just one person.
Schlittler says that the company will also focus on what it calls “innovation circles”, in the belief that open innovation and crowd-led innovation are be the best approaches for the future.
This approach, says Miranda, will push Mocoffee’s research and development in new and exciting directions.
“Companies capable and willing for open innovation will cooperate with external partners on R&D more intensively and more successfully than companies without this profile,” Miranda says. “Customer value increases when companies exploit new ideas and develop new products and technologies both internally and in cooperation with partners, such as suppliers, clients or competitors.”
Miranda says that Mocoffee is seeking to engage directly with their consumers through the creation of a new e-commerce platform that will connect a knowledgeable and appreciative audience that is not satisfied with the coffee sold in the mass-market circuit, and values exclusivity, quality and authenticity in the products that it intends to buy.
In this community, users can create individual profiles that reflect their tastes and individual preferences and not only optimise product suggestion processes, but also enhance the sense of personalisation of services, especially the tool’s availability which enable the consumer to create their own combinations and packaging.
“A constant interaction with the consumer is what we want,” Miranda says. “Indeed some products will sell well and others not, but what is important for the company is that the sets designed by users will allow for constant innovation, permanent loyalty and consumer involvement in the company’s innovation processes.”
On the machinery side, Miranda says that while connectivity is no longer new, it is still quite a way off being fully utilised in the marketplace.n
“We are passionate about technology and want to explore and provide a great product experience into the market,” Miranda says. “So, in general, a network-connected coffee machine should be designed to allow be remotely activated with the smartphone [or other device], send alerts when the brew is ready, and even detect when you’ve returned home.” GCR