Case: How we helped Belmio coffee position their premium capsules

The premium coffee brand Belmio faced a difficult challenge: marketing high-quality aluminum coffee capsules in a crowded market of lower-grade plastic alternatives. Should they wade into the retail fray, or shift to a direct selling model? How should they adjust their branding to differentiate themselves sufficiently from large international players? These types of questions required evidence-based answers.

To achieve a greater strategic focus, Belmio enlisted the help of Needle. We began by adopting a customer-centered approach, diving into existing research for insights into why consumers choose coffee capsule machines. We also researched future trends and developments in coffee consumption on an international scale. Lastly, we complemented this data with an overview of the coffee market, focusing in particular upon Europe. This involved a detailed analysis and comparison of Belmio’s main competitors. Through this approach, we were able to identify promising branding and distribution opportunities.

For example, one of our key findings was a growing consumer preference for gourmet and premium coffee. Repeatedly, surveys have revealed that taste is the primary determining factor when consumers choose coffee (trumping brand, price, and availability), and these tastes are now entering an era of connoisseurship. This trend was particularly relevant for Belmio to capitalize on, as their aluminum capsules help maintain freshness and aromas.

Guided by the findings of our report, Belmio has chosen to keep distribution in supermarkets, and develop their brand identity around the advantages and quality of the aluminum capsules. These decisions have the virtue of being backed not by gut intuition, but by careful empirical research and market analysis.