There’s a battle brewing among America’s caffeine pushers. As fast food brands, coffee chains and retail coffee companies fight over bleary-eyed America, Dunkin’ Donuts introduced a dark-roast hot coffee that will be launched nationwide next month. The new coffee takes aim at Starbucks, especially in markets like California where the Seattle brand dominates, said Darren Tristano, executive vice president at food industry consulting company Technomic. “It gives them other options on flavor profiles … in retail or in their restaurants,” he said. Dunkin’ Donuts has plenty of company in both those arenas. Burger King confirmed on Tuesday plans to buy Canadian coffee-and-donut chain Tim Hortons, while last week, Kraft Foods Group, Inc. announced a licensing agreement with Keurig Green Mountain Inc. to make and distribute Keurig packs of its coffee brands, including Maxwell House, Gevalia and McDonald’s McCafé, along with a separate agreement to manufacture and sell McCafé coffee in retail stores beginning next year.
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--- Martha C. White