The past few months seem to have been a public relations nightmare for Keurig, makers of the popular coffee machine that require single-use K-Cups. The company admitted it screwed up with its latest incarnation of the popular machine. To please customers, Keurig plans to give them at least one thing they want: a reusable K-Cup for its 2.0 machine.
The problems leading up to this announcement seem to have started right before Christmas when the company had to recall 7.2 million coffee makers due to burn-related injuries. Then, the issue of the waste the K-Cups create resurfaced and received a lot of media attention.
A video titled “Kill the K-Cup before It Kills Our Planet” went viral. It featured all the single-use pods ever thrown away rising up against the people of Earth and attacking, "Independence Day"-style. In 2013 alone, Green Mountain, the maker of the Keurig, produced enough K-Cups to circle the Earth 10.5 times.
Probably the biggest broadside was a statement by John Sylvan, the inventor of the Keurig who sold his interest in it years ago. He said he doesn’t have a Keurig because they’re “kind of expensive to use” and he “feels bad sometimes” that he created it because of the waste it produces. Ouch.
In addition to the bad press, the company did itself no favors when it released the Keurig 2.0 line. What many people didn’t realize is that the new machines can’t use the older-style K-Cups or the reusable My K-Cup. My K-Cup allowed people to buy coffee in bulk and put it in the filter manually. The inexpensive device saved coffee drinkers a lot of money on the expensive single-use K-Cups and kept a lot of waste out of landfills.
Without the ability to use any other coffee in the Keurigs except the new-style K-Cups, consumers stopped buying them. According The Washington Post, sales of Keurigs and its accessories fell 23 percent recently and the company’s stock fell 10 percent. The company’s response to those who complained didn’t help. It said the new restrictions were for the consumer’s safety since “the brewer has no way of determining what beverage is being used or how much coffee is being added” and it could be a safety concern.
But after many complaints and a sizeable dip in sales, Keurig’s CEO Brian Kelley said they’re bringing back My K-Cup and making one for the Keurig 2.0.
“Quite honestly, we were wrong.” He said. "We underestimated the passion the consumer had for this. We missed it. We shouldn’t have taken it away. We’re bringing it back.”
Score one for consumers
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