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Beverage Innovation

Tracking The Drinks Marketplace


Coca-Cola Has Big Plans For Honest Tea, Including Rebranding

Reacting to changing times and an evolving market, Maryland’s Honest Tea company – purchased by Coca-Cola in 2011 – is rebranding, according to former Coke executive and current general manager Clare Koller. The rebranding will transform Honest Tea from a healthful, organic drink provider to a “health and wellness megabrand” selling teas, kids’ juices, lemonades, and sports drinks. The new mission involves making its products more widely available and recognizable, but doesn’t involve a reformulation. The rebranding will involve new packaging, new beverage lines and new categories – possibly kids’ snacks – and an integrated marketing campaign. Founder Seth Goldman, the company’s “TeaEO Emeritus,” says U.S. sales have surpassed $500 million and the brand is sold in 40 major European cities plus Canada, Mexico, Singapore. Coca-Cola’s goal for Honest Tea? Making it a a $1 billion brand in the next 10 years.


Monster Sues California’s Bang Energy Drink Company For False Advertising, Trade Libel

Monster Energy has filed a lawsuit in a California district court against Vital Pharmaceuticals aka VPX Sports, maker of the energy drink Bang, and founder Jack Owoc, alleging unfair competition, false advertising and trade libel that “disparages” energy drink companies. VPX markets Bang through 15 store distributors in California and also nationwide. Owoc is a former middle school and high school science teacher who founded the company in 1993 and is listed as chief scientific officer. Monster challenges VPX’s claims that drinking Bang can “reverse mental retardation ... can also help cure Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and other forms of dementia” and is “the healthiest energy drink.” Monster says in the complaint that it is “likely to suffer, has suffered, and will continue to suffer damages to its business and goodwill” and “the loss of sales and profits” because of VPX’s actions.


Nestlé Acquires Majority Stake In South America’s Terrafertil Plant-Based Beverages Company

Nestlé has acquired a majority stake in Terrafertil, a South American provider of natural, organic, plant-based foods and healthful snacks and a global producer of goldenberries. Terrafertil collaborates with hundreds of small growers and local communities in Colombia and Ecuador to hand pick and carefully dry the goldenberries to ensure quality. The company was founded in 2005 in Ecuador by five entrepreneurs and has expanded to the United States, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Chile, and the United Kingdom. It is also present in 17 other markets through third-party alliances. The company continues to operate independently and will be managed by two of its three founding brothers, David and Raul Bermeo.

Other Companies

Boost Drinks Adds Grape-Cherry Variant To Its Energy Beverage Line

British energy beverage company Boost Drinks has added a limited-edition sugar-free grape-cherry variant to its lineup. The launch campaign will include POS tools for retailers, a video campaign across Boost’s social media platform and outdoor advertising, and a sampling campaign at students’ nights and in university accommodations across Northern Ireland. The new flavor will be available in a $0.64 250 ml can. According to the company, the new flavor is designed to appeal to consumers looking for “deeper flavors in the winter months.”

Coca-Cola A Major Contender For Kraft Heinz Consumer Products In India

Coca-Cola is competing against Indian pharmaceutical company Zydus Cadila Group to purchase the Indian consumer portfolio of Kraft Heinz for approximately $1 billion. The portfolio includes the children’s milk drink Complan. At one time, suitors included Tata Group, Wipro Consumer, Dabur India and Danone, companies that have been shortlisted along with Coca-Cola and Zydus Cadila. Other contenders have included Nestlé, Emami, and ITC. Some potential purchasers have expressed concerns about the future of products like Complan as consumer preferences continue to evolve. Coca-Cola India is also pursuing GlaxoSmithKline’s consumer nutrition business, which owns malted milk brand Horlicks. The asking price is reportedly $4 billion. Coke’s strategy is to acquire established or high-potential brands in India’s non-soda beverage space, especially health-based hydration that includes glucose and milk-based drinks.

Detoxwater Adds Aloe Shot To Its Portfolio

New York-based Detoxwater has introduced an aloe supplement shot containing 1.7 fluid ounces of highly-concentrated aloe vera extract. Veralixir is a vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free prebiotic with zero calories. It contains “clinically-proven” ACTIValoe hand-harvested aloe that, the company says, delivers optimal benefits for immune, skin, and digestive health. The company recommends that the beverage be taken once a day before or after a meal “to promote digestive health, skin elasticity, nutrient absorption, and immune health.” In addition to aloe-based probiotic Detoxwater, the company produces Cryptokiwi, a beverage made with kiwi and cucumber.

Ugly Drinks’ Sparkling Water Succeeds With No Nutrition, No Sugar, No Calories

U.K.-based Ugly Drinks, launched last year with the help of venture capital funding, is doing well selling three flavors of sparkling water that contain only one ingredient, other than the water: natural fruit flavors derived from fruit-based essential oils. The “totally unsweet” beverages are now available at 3,500 locations in the U.K., as well as Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Holland & Barrett, and Whole Foods Market. The products debuted in the U.S. in May and are now sold in New York City. Offered in triple berry, lemon & lime, and orange and tropical flavors, the drinks not only contain nothing nutritional, they contain none of the “bad stuff,” the company says, including propylene glycol, a compound used in food processing. However, the products sold in the U.S. are manufactured in Canada using cans lined with bisphenol A (BPA), which the company wants to replace.

Midwest Coffee Shop Chain Adds New Flavors To RTD Lineup

Michigan coffee shop chain Biggby Coffee has partnered with Illinois-based Berner Food and Beverage to add two cold brew coffee flavors to its line of RTD beverages, which includes Caramel, Chocolate and Slightly Sweetened. Created with the help of Guernsey Farms Dairy, the line is available at Meijer locations throughout the Midwest. The new Mocha and Vanilla flavors, a combination of iced coffee, natural and artificial flavor, and milk, come in 13.7 oz bottles, each with fewer than 300 calories. The Biggby chain includes 275 cafes open or under contract in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Florida, Texas, and New Jersey.

Plant-Based Beverage Company Elmhurst 1925 Adds To Line Of Nut Milks

Plant-based food and beverage company Elmhurst 1925 (Elma, N.Y.) has added unsweetened milked walnuts and unsweetened milked cashews to its range of nut milks. The sugar-free drinks are made with only two ingredients: water and walnuts or cashews. The company says the drinks are suitable for drinking by the glass, stirring into coffee, adding to hot and cold cereals, blending into smoothies, and cooking into sauces. They are made using the HydroRelease method, which separates the components of a nut, grain or seed, before reassembling them as a creamy, beverage-ready emulsion. Both variants will be available in the U.S. in the fall in 32 oz cartons, retailing for $5.99.

Chameleon Debuts Cold Brew Single-Serve Lattes

Chameleon Cold-Brew of Austin, Texas, has unveiled a single-serve latte complete with a lawyer of foam and made from organic cold-brew coffee and organic whole milk. The company uses a proprietary technology that creates a foamy, creamy coffee latte in the can when it is shaken before opening. The new latte line includes the original flavor (cold-brew coffee blended with frothed whole milk and sugar), Mexican (cinnamon, almond and vanilla), and pecan. Each can will retail for a $2.99 MSRP and contains 90 to 100 calories and four grams of protein per 6.2 fl oz serving. The products are available nationwide at Whole Foods, Target, Kroger, Safeway, Walmart and online.

U.S. Entrepreneurs Explore The Market For Premium Instant Coffee

A gaggle of startup companies in the U.S. is focusing on producing premium instant coffees using proprietary freeze-drying and dehydrating methods. Companies advancing this new Third Wave – it refers to the demand for quickly brewed, instantly available coffees – include Swift Cup Coffee, Sudden Coffee, Voila, and Chicago-based Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea. The latter has partnered with San Francisco-based Sudden Coffee to launch a line of instant in a crystallized, single-serve format. A four-pack of single-serve Rayos Del Sol, a single-origin coffee from Peru, sells for $13, packed in airtight, compostable tubes. The company’s initial order sold out online, and supplies at Chicago-area coffee bars are limited. Starbucks is thought to be the pioneer of premium instant coffee, having introduced Via in 2009. Nearly half of all coffee consumed globally is instant; it is preferred over fresh-brewed in Mexico, China, Russia, and Australia.

Oregon’s Clutch Coffee Roasters Unveils Coffee Soda

Portland, Ore.-based Clutch Coffee Roasters has introduced a small-batch craft soda made with cold brew coffee, agave syrup, ane sugar, and organic spice extracts. Clutch Coffee Soda Pop is available in select Portland-area stores in 12-ounce bottles with two flavors, original and double clutch. Original has about the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee (80mg), and 90 calories per bottle. Double clutch has a stronger coffee taste and double the caffeine (160mg).

Koios Beverage Will Introduce A Line Of Functional Sodas In January

Canada’s Koios Beverage Corp. said it will begin production of a new line of functional beverages under the brand “Fit Soda” in the first quarter of 2019. The soda will be produced using only organic ingredients and manufacturing methods, without any artificial preservatives, colors or flavors, and will focus on physical wellbeing with high levels of nutrients, amino acids, proteins, electrolytes or probiotics. The company said the Fit Soda line is the second phase of a Koios product launch that began in early 2018 with the production of the company's line of nootropic beverages intended to increase mental focus and acuity. The company also expects to introduce a line of THC and CBD infused beverages through its wholly-owned subsidiary Cannavated Beverage Corp.
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