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Beverage Innovation

Tracking The Drinks Marketplace


Several Popular International Sodas That Are Not Sold In The U.S.

The U.S. certainly does not lack soft drink variety, but it does lack access to some brands in demand around the globe. India’s popular Thums Up soda, owned by Coca-Cola, resembles a traditional cola, and the ingredients are similar, but it reportedly has a spicier, more complex flavor with milder carbonation. Other international sodas not sold in the U.S. include: Lemonsoda (Italy), apple-ish Manzan Lift (Mexico), champagne-flavored Pommac (Sweden), cream soda-flavored Sparletta (South Africa), guarana-flavored (and caffeine rich) Kuat (Brazil), Melon Fanta (Japan), and orange-cola blend Mezzo Mix (Europe).

Coca-Cola India To Once Again Test Dairy Products

Coca-Cola India continues to pursue a portfolio expansion strategy, this time testing re-entry into the dairy business despite a failed attempt with the flavored milk Vio in 2016. The company has been test marketing new variants of Vio, including a chocolate flavor, as it seeks “a presence in every drink category, including the dairy segment,” President T Krishnakumar said. Three months ago it launched Minute Maid Vitingo, a formulated product available in single serving dilutable sachets that contain an array of vitamins and minerals. It also introduced Aquarius Glucocharge, a non-carbonated, low-sugar beverage with glucose, minerals (potassium, sodium, calcium), and fruit juice.

Coca-Cola Sees No Price Pressure In Asia Pacific Market

Coca-Cola’s Asia Pacific president told CNBC that the company does “not see a similar impact” on supply chain costs from President Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum, CEO James Quincey had said earlier  that cost pressures were likely to force price hikes across its beverage lines in the U.S. However, John Murphy said that was not the case in Asia Pacific. “Aluminum prices are quite stable for us for the rest of the year," he said. "Overall, we don't see additional pricing outside of our normal cycle for the rest of the year here in Asia Pacific." He also noted that the Asian market presented opportunities to diversify the company’s portfolio with beverages such as tea, and with more healthful offerings. 

Coca-Cola India Invests In Apple Cultivation For Its Fruit-Based Beverages

Coca-Cola India is partnering with an Indo-Dutch agribusiness to expand apple cultivation – via 110 orchards – in the northern hilly state Uttarakhand to locally source pulp for its fruit-based drinks. Project Unnati Apple was created as a catalyst to help India achieve self-sufficiency in apple production. The country ranks second in terms of area under apple cultivation, yet it imports the fruit and its concentrate as the average productivity per hectare is low. Coca-Cola has been investing in fruit-based beverages as consumers worldwide switch to more healthful beverages. In India the company agreed to nearly $2 billion to source fruits locally while diversifying its portfolio. Researcher Euromonitor expects sales of sodas in India grow at 3.4 percent by 2022, half the pace of the previous five years.

Some Burger King Locations Are Serving A Soda Relic Of The 1990s: Surge

Coca-Cola has re-introduced Surge, the failed 1990s-era answer to Pepsi’s Mountain Dew soda, in a limited distribution deal with Burger King. The beverage was discontinued in 2003, but Amazon began carrying Surge in 12-packs in 2014 for Prime members. In 2015 it became available in some East Coast convenience stores, and then in frozen drink machines at some fast-food locations, including Burger King. Now, according to Delish.com, Surge will be available in its original form at Burger King restaurants that have Coke Freestyle machines.


Packaged Beverages Lead All Revenue Sources In C-Stores

Health-conscious consumers continue to drive sales of low-sugar drinks at convenience stores, as sales of flavored waters, sparkling waters, and ready-to-drink coffees remain healthy, buoyed by “an onslaught of new product introductions” and emerging new categories. Overall in the C-store channel, packaged beverages remain a leading source of revenue (15.8 percent) and gross profit (20.1 percent), with enhanced water showing the strongest annual increase in 2017 (9.1 percent). Other fast-growing beverage segments include ready-to-drink iced teas (3.5 percent), alternative beverages (3.5 percent) and bottled water (0.6 percent). RTD coffee showed a 12.3 percent increase in sales volume and 14.4 percent increase in retail sales. Enhanced water also saw double-digit growth. PET/still-bottled water dominated the bottled water segment in C-stores. Top performers in sparkling water include Pepsi’s Bubly, Coca-Cola’s Dasani, and Nestlé Waters’ various regional sparkling brands.

Other Companies

Nomad Rebrands, Reformulates Cascara Tea Into Energy Drink

Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Nomad Trading Co. is rebranding its Cascara tea, made from upcycled coffee cherries, into a canned fizzy energy beverage called Nomad Energy. The company’s founders – they call themselves “crunchy people” because of their active lifestyle – say the rebranded beverage offers a “superior functional replacement for whatever someone consumes for energy,” whether coffee, energy drinks, yerba mate, or guayusa. The new version of Cascara maintains the fruity, black tea note from the coffee fruit, and contains fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and light maple syrup. The beverage will be available in September at an SRP of $2.99 at retailers in the New York and on Nomad’s website.

Juicy Juice Organic Line Contains Half The Sugar

Stamford, Conn.-based Juicy Juice has unveiled a line of low sugar, organic juices, Splashers Organics, that are blends of organic fruit juice and filtered water with less than half the sugar of leading fruit juices – nine grams versus 21 grams. They are non-GMO, and contain no HFCS or artificial sweeteners or colors. The Splasher Organic products are USDA-certified and come in fruit punch, berry lemonade and tropical twist flavors. The Fruitfuls Organics lines come in 6.75-oz. eight-packs in single-serve and multi-serve formats. Flavors include apple quench, berry cherry burst, orange strawbana blast and punch splash.  Juicy Juice is a part of the Harvest Hill portfolio of brands.

Focus Brands Acquires Jamba Juice Chain For $200M

Atlanta, Ga.-based Focus Brands Inc., owner of multi-channel foodservice brands such as Carvel, Cinnabon, and Auntie Anne’s, has agree to acquire smoothie and juice chain Jamba Inc. for $13 a share in cash, or about $200 million. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2018 and will be funded by FBI using cash on hand and available borrowing capacity under its existing credit facilities. Jamba will become a privately-held subsidiary of FBI and will continue to be operated as an independent brand. Focus Brands is majority owned by private equity firm Roark. Jamba Juice has more than 800 locations worldwide. 

Humm Develops Technology That Prevents Secondary Fermentation Of Kombucha

A major technical challenge in making kombucha a mainstream beverage is alcohol content and a problem known as secondary fermentation. Because it is fermented, all kombucha contains low levels of alcohol. But if not properly refrigerated and stored, in-bottle secondary fermentation can cause ethanol levels to rise. Now Oregon-based kombucha company Humm has developed a fermentation process that prevents any increase in alcohol content when the container is left unopened at room temperature. The process, in use since April, maintains the ABV at an acceptable 0.5 percent. The company says it is trying to figure out how to make the process and technology more accessible to other kombucha brewers.

Costco Is Now Selling Its Own – Cheaper – Version Of The LaCroix Sparkling Water Line

Membership warehouse company Costco has launched its own line of sparkling waters whose flavors are “suspiciously” similar to those of competitor LaCroix, according to a Spoon University writer. The Kirkland Signature sparkling water is calorie-free sodium-free, sweetener-free and comes in lemon, lime, and grapefruit – LaCroix’s best-selling flavors. A Costco Connoisseur taste test found the flavors of the two brands to be pretty much the same, but the Kirkland version was fizzier. It was also a lot cheaper. According to the Costco Connoisseur, the KS version is $7.49 for a 32-pack, or $0.23 a can, compared to $0.33 a can for the $7.99, 24-pack of LaCroix sold at Costco.


Wahaha To Introduce Functional Probiotic Beverages For Women, Children, Elderly

China’s Hangzhou Wahaha Group is targeting women, children, and the elderly with three new functional probiotic beverages packaged in sachets. The products contain several probiotic strains, including several Lactobacillus and bifidobacterium strains. The children’s and women’s products contain five types of probiotics and three types of prebiotics (fiber). The product for the elderly claims to help to reduce blood sugar level and promote the absorption of calcium, while the product for women is said to aid detoxification. China accounts for almost half of all probiotic sales in the Asia Pacific region, at $8.3 billion. The Asia Pacific probiotics market is forecast to grow by a CAGR of 8.3 percent over the next seven years, but China will continue to track higher than the average.
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