BrandIndex provides "coffee wars" data to Reuters

Starbucks, McDonald's carve coffee niches


LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - When the dust from the great coffee war that wasn't settles, McDonald's and Starbucks will find that each plays on a slightly shifted field, but neither side has captured the spoils -- the other's customers.

Legal secretary Krishna Anderson, 35, started her coffee habit three years ago at Starbucks and continues to buy a caramel macchiato from the coffee chain every day.

She occasionally visits other cafes and tried McDonald's new premium coffee when the hamburger chain gave out free samples. Anderson said she didn't like the taste of the coffee, and the smell of French fries in the morning turned her off.

"I'm one of those people that if I go to Taco Bell, I want a taco," Anderson said. "If I go to McDonald's, I want a hamburger. If I go to a coffee place, I want coffee. That crossing over -- it doesn't do it for me."

Research from YouGov Plc's BrandIndex shows that McDonald's is the hands-down winner on value perception while Starbucks has a substantial lead in quality perception.