Kraft Says Tassimo Beverage Sales Increase in Europe

(Corrects dateline.)

Kraft Foods Inc.’s revenue from its Tassimo beverages in Europe rose more than 20 percent in the first eight months of the year, helped by expansion in Spain and Greece, according to Mike Clarke, Kraft’s European president.

The number of Tassimo machines sold in Europe last year surpassed Nestle SA’s Nespresso brewer sales, Clarke said in an interview today. Tassimo sales rose more than 20 percent in Europe in 2009.

Europe’s single-serve coffee market is growing as consumers seek convenience and cut restaurant spending, Clarke said. Nestle said in August that first-half Nespresso sales rose more than 25 percent. This year, Sara Lee Corp. and Casino Guichard Perrachon SA began selling capsules that work with the Nespresso system. Tassimo machines are available in Europe starting at 69 euros ($95), compared with 149 euros for Nespresso in France.

Because Tassimo machines can make beverages other than coffee, including hot chocolate, “the whole family can experience snacking occasions at a reasonable price,” Clarke said. Nestle has also been expanding its Nescafe Dolce Gusto system, which makes a range of drinks.

Clarke spoke in the Swiss town of Eysins, where the world’s second-largest food company opened a research center for chewing gum and confections.

Nestle has sued Sara Lee, Casino and Ethical Coffee, the producer of the capsules that Casino is selling, in France for alleged patent infringement.

Kraft, which makes pods that are compatible with Sara Lee’s Senseo system, doesn’t make Nespresso-compatible capsules.

“We will make sure our brands are available in every platform that we can make them available.” Clarke said. “We will only do it in the areas where we believe it’s legally sustainable.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Tom Mulier in Geneva at tmulier@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net.

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