Around 100 Esso-branded forecourts are among 150 Tesco Express stores to offer Coffee Nation’s self-serve gourmet coffee stations by March 2005.

The deal marks Tesco’s first steps into the premium coffee-to-go market and Coffee Nation’s first major presence in the UK high street. Founded in 1999 by entrepreneur Martyn Dawes, Coffee Nation started with its self-serve coffee bars in Welcome Break motorway service areas and Texaco petrol forecourts. After four years of continued growth and with almost 200 sites now in place, the deal with Tesco is set to make Coffee Nation one of the biggest players in the UK coffee-to-go market, giving them a total of 340 concessions trading by mid 2005. A £4m venture capital investment has enabled Coffee Nation to develop a sophisticated operating system that includes remote fault monitoring and control via the internet, 24 hour call-centre support (Coffee Nation ‘Angels’), preventative maintenance, fully integrated supply chain & logistics and dedicated site support (Coffee Nation ‘Brand Guardians’).

Tracy Parker, who is leading the project for Tesco, said: “Tesco wants to capture a significant share of the UK coffee-to-go market. Coffee Nation was the logical choice – the company has a unique concept, a growing brand and is highly committed to the company’s development.”

The first 70 Tesco Express stores should be selling Coffee Nation by the end of this month, and trials are also underway in Tesco Metro.

The UK branded coffee bar market is currently valued at £327 million with 43% of consumers buying to take-away.

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