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Beverage Innovation

Tracking The Drinks Marketplace


Coca-Cola’s Top “People Officer” Dons Global Ventures Hat

Coca-Cola’s recent acquisition spree led to the creation last month of the Global Ventures group to make sure acquisitions, investments, and partnerships are connected and globally scaled. Heading up the new unit is Jennifer Mann, the company’s “chief people officer,” who has been vice-president and general manager of Coca-Cola Freestyle and chief of staff. In announcing the change, CEO James Quincey said Mann’s unit “will focus on ensuring we get the maximum value from acquisitions and investments” and will also “partner with colleagues around the world to identify and nurture the next series of fast-growing opportunities.”

Coca-Cola Said To be In Talks With Dirty Lemon About Acquiring A Stake

CBD-infused and wellness beverage company Dirty Lemon has been talking with Coca-Cola about the possibility of an investment, according to a report, though Coke has declined to comment on the rumor. Coca-Cola's potential investment would be included in Dirty Lemon’s Series A funding round that may also include several celebrity backers. Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey has said the company has no plans to enter the CBD-infused beverage segment, despite a Bloomberg News report that Coke was in discussions with Aurora Cannabis. A final twist on the story further supports the possibility of a Coca-Cola-Dirty Lemon deal: CEO Zak Normandin said it is dropping its best-selling “+CBD” beverage from its lineup to remove any barriers to a Coke investment. Beverage companies are concerned about the legal and regulatory hurdles associated with CBD-infused drinks; the delayed 2018 Farm Bill, however, set for a vote in the lame-duck congressional session, would legalize hemp-based CBD.

Coca-Cola CEO Says M&A Is Only One Cog In The “Total Beverage Company” Machine

Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey, basking in the glow of a six percent rise in 3rd quarter organic revenues, says the company is sticking to its “total beverage company” strategy of which acquisitions are a key tactic. But he also says he does not expect the company to be as aggressive in M&A as it has been recently: Bodyarmor, Costa, Mojo, Tropico, and a minority interest in Australian firm Made Group. “M&A isn’t a strategy in and of itself,” Quincey says, “but rather an enabler of our strategy.” The company is still serious about acquisitions, of course, and to get the maximum value from them, Coca-Cola has created a global ventures unit, whose mission is to scale brands, and identify and nurture the next series of “consumer-centric” opportunities.

Coca-Cola Upgrades Production Equipment At Fiji Plant To Support Growth Strategy

Coca-Cola Amatil has installed Krones Blowfill equipment at a manufacturing plant in Fiji that can produce 21,000 bottles an hour, bringing the Fiji facility in line with equipment used in New Zealand, Australia and Indonesia. The plant will produce carbonated and non-carbonated beverages for consumers in Fiji, including water, in sizes ranging from 500 ml to 2.25 l. Installation of the Krones equipment, which began in September 2016, triples the capacity of the line, supports future growth for the next 10 years, and enables the Coca-Cola Amatil’s Fiji business to launch an export-led growth strategy over the next five-eight years, executives said.

Keurig Dr Pepper

Keurig Dr Pepper Takes On U.S. Distribution Of Danone’s Evian Water Brand

Plano, Texas-based Keurig Dr Pepper has agreed to distribute Danone Waters’ premium spring water Evian in U.S. grocery, mass, club, convenience, drug, independent store, and e-commerce channels through its company-owned direct store delivery network and independent bottler distributor network. KDP Chief Commercial Officer Derek Hopkins said Evian has “tremendous growth potential” in the U.S., considering that its distribution network includes more than 150,000 large and small format stores. Danone Waters said the brand’s existing distributors will continue to serve the New York metro area, on-premise and natural channels, and certain other limited accounts/channels. 


Nestlé China Doubles Pace Of New Product Launches

Nestlé China has launched several innovation projects this year, twice the number launched in 2017, tailored specifically for Chinese consumers. China’s nutrition, health, and wellness market is Nestlé’s second largest globally. The company’s innovation team is pursuing more than 100 ongoing projects that will deliver “more choices through a variety of healthy products over the next two years.” Nestlé has launched the second generation of its “AI family nutrition assistant” XiaoAi with more than 300,000 pieces of new nutrition, health and wellness interactive content, including personalized recipe recommendations, calorie calculation, and voice ordering. The company also launched its MyNutrition App, Nescafé Shop in Office, and BabyNes’ Smart Milk Powder Leveling Kettle.

Other Companies

Som Sleep Wins Support Of Athletes Who In Turn Tout Its Sleep Aid Beverages

Los Angeles-based Som Sleep, which sells a line of functional drinks containing sleep aid melatonin, has decided to reverse the usual marketing strategy of dietary supplements. Instead of expanding from targeting athletes to the general public, it is adapting its message from the general public to athletes and the sports world. The basic idea is to use pro athletes as a “megaphone” touting its products. A case in point is L.A. Dodger Cody Bellinger’s unsolicited but enthusiastic endorsement of Som Sleep during the recent National League Championship series. The company is so certain of the strategy for selling its canned beverages – containing L-theanine, GABA, melatonin, magnesium, and vitamin B6 – that it secured an NSF Certified for Sport seal vouching for the lack of any banned ingredients.

Bulletproof Coffee Extends Line Of RTD Collagen Coffees With New Flavors

Seattle-based Bulletproof Coffee is adding flavors to its line of RTD collagen protein-infused beverages targeting the mainstream health and wellness market. Collagen is an edible ingredient that has mostly been used in powder form to promote bone and skin health. Bulletproof launched a fat-infused coffee in 2014, then debuted an RTD coffee line last year that included an Original+Collagen Protein Cold-Brew option. It also sells chocolate and vanilla-flavored powdered collagen protein in pouches. Additional RTD coffee flavors made with collagen protein include Vanilla Latte + Collagen Protein, and Dark Chocolate + Collagen Protein. The new flavors bring the Bulletproof Coffee line up to six, with a seventh flavor in the works for an early 2019 launch.

N.J.-Based NutriFresh Juice Company Stops In-House Production

Edison, N.J.-based juice maker NutriFresh has ceased producing juice at its manufacturing facility and shifted production to a network of partner co-pack facilities, including companies in Brooklyn, N.Y., and California. The company said it would expand its e-commerce fulfillment and direct-to-consumer businesses. The Edison production and warehousing facility included three hyperbaric HPP machines and 140,000 sq. ft. of refrigerated storage. CEO Guy Ironi said the reason for the change was the inability of its production facility to keep up with e-commerce sales. “We saw that there were excellent facilities in the area that we felt were ready to take over these projects.”

Verve Coffee Enters RTD Coffee Market With “Flash-Brewed” Offering

Santa Cruz, Calif.-based roaster Verve Coffee has launched what it calls “a first-of-its-kind, ready-to-drink” flash-brewed coffee that is made with “a completely different brewing technique than cold brew or iced coffees.” The company’s Ethiopian and Colombian coffees are brewed with hot water using state of the art craft brewing equipment, extracted through a proprietary hot brewing process in an oxygen-free environment, then flash-chilled and infused with nitrogen, which removes any remaining oxygen. Verve’s Nitro Flash Brew Coffee, the company’s first step into the ready-to-drink space, is available for purchase for $3.99 in Verve café locations in Santa Cruz, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, at select retailers and grocery stores, and will roll out online over the next month.

Villager Goods Shifts Product Emphasis To Juice-Based Drinks For Children

San Diego-based beverage company Villager Goods has shifted its product strategy from alkaline and organic coconut waters to low-sugar, organic beverages for children. The Little Villager line debuted at nearly 300 Target locations across the country last month. Founder Josh Landan says the product line, which includes apple juice, pink lemonade, and fruit punch varieties, took two years to develop. The drinks come in 10 oz. single-serve bottles, three-packs of 10 oz. bottles, and eight-packs of 6.75 oz. juice boxes. Each contains 40 percent juice and has no sugar added. The products will launch on Amazon in December, followed by a national rollout in 7-Eleven that will begin in February 2019. Villager Goods will also be launching a line of fruit snacks next year under the Little Villager label, while continuing to produce and support its existing alkaline water and coconut water products.

Hydrogen Sparkling Water Brand HyVIDA To Be Sold By Giant/Martin’s Stores

Giant Food Stores and sister company Martin’s will begin offering the hydrogen-infused sparkling water products of Michigan-based HyVIDA Brands, Inc., in 150 mid-Atlantic region stores. Giant and Martin’s, subsidiaries of Ahold Delhaize, recently pledged to remove all artificial ingredients, colors, and chemicals from their own products.  HyVIDA, launched on Amazon in May 2018, is now available in hundreds of independent, natural, and specialty retailers across the Northeast and Midwest regions of the U.S. The company’s hydrogen-infused sparkling water is antioxidant-rich, has zero calories, and no sweeteners, and comes in three flavors: pure, raspberry, and lemon lime.

“Super Premium” Sports Hydration Drink From HALO Sport

A trio of entrepreneurs has launched HALO Sport, a “super-premium” sports hydration drink targeted at “today’s wellness warrior.” The low-calorie drink, certified-organic and “vegan-friendly,” contains electrolytes but no added sugar or artificial coloring. HALO Sport contains 10 calories, two grams of natural sugar per bottle and a citrus flavor. The company says the recipe blends a base of organic lemon juice and reverse osmosis water remineralized with “72 ionic trace minerals harvested from the Great Salt Lake of Utah.” Electrolytes are added, along with antioxidants such as amla berry, “a potent superfood used in ancient ayurvedic rituals.” HALO Sport is available on HaloSport.com, and will soon be sold by retailers in New York and Miami for $3.49/16oz bottle and $40.00/twelve pack. The beverage is USDA-certified organic, vegan, non-GMO, kosher, and dairy-, soy-, and gluten-free. Flavors include lemon and pink grapefruit.

Healthy – And Delicious – Coffee Is Key Marketing Proposition of Pop & Bottle

San Francisco’s Pop & Bottle, launched as an organic latte business, capitalizes on three trends: health, convenience, and America’s love of coffee. According to its transplanted Londoner founders, the company helps coffee lovers “replace their dirty coffee habit with a drink that’s healthy, clean, convenient and – most importantly – really delicious.” They realized that drinking coffee and coffee products everyday “wasn’t doing wonders for our health,” thanks mainly to added sugars. They used the $20,000 they raised to pay for use of a commercial kitchen, ingredients, packaging, and a website. Launched with three flavors – cacao, vanilla bean, and classic coffee – the line delivers 120 mg of coffee, and 130 to 150 calories per 11-ounce bottle. Pop & Bottle is now available in 1,000 stores including select Whole Foods and Target stores across the country and on Amazon. The company has seen double digit growth since launch.
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