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The Chicago Sun-Times reports this morning that Starbucks will look to re-energize its sales today with “a new line of made-to-order protein shakes called Vivanno. The product name, which Starbucks created, comes from the Italian word for life (‘viva’) and is intended to evoke a feeling of healthful vitality … The new Vivanno drinks will come in flavors such as Orange Mango Banana and Banana Chocolate and will be made with the same equipment used for Starbucks' trademark Frappuccino coffee drinks. The Vivannos will include ingredients such as whey protein and fiber powder, as well as fresh bananas. Customers can customize their Vivannos via the addition of a shot of espresso or green tea powder too. The drinks will retail in the U.S. for between $3.75 and $3.95.”

The Sun-Times suggests that this new product could work against CEO Howard Schultz’s stated plan to return the company to its coffee-driven roots: “Not only does it infringe in a big way on Jamba Juice's well-defined turf, but it also seems to shift focus from the coffee drinks that are the heart and soul of the Starbucks brand. When he retook the reins as CEO of Starbucks last winter, Schultz suggested he was going to intently work on improving the brand's coffee and the whole coffeehouse experience. Now he seems to be veering from that course with this protein shake tactic.”

KC's View:
If Starbucks starts thinking tactically instead of strategically, it could end up making mistakes. If Starbucks mistakes tactics for strategy, it potentially is looking at what the great Bob Murphy used to call “nine miles of bad road.”