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Beverage Innovation

Tracking The Drinks Marketplace


Coke’s Plan To Launch Energy Line Triggers Arbitration With Monster

Coca-Cola, which has owned a nearly 17 percent stake in Monster Energy since 2015, is abandoning its cautious approach to energy drinks with the launch its own line, a move that has sparked arbitration between the two companies over a noncompete arrangement. Coke’s new drinks, to be branded “Coca-Cola Energy” and “Coca-Cola Energy No Sugar,” will be made with naturally-derived caffeine and guarana extract. Industry analysts are skeptical that energy drink fans would buy Coke’s versions. One suggested that energy drinks just don’t fit properly into Coke’ fizzy soda portfolio; another did not think Coke’s new line would gain meaningful market share as consumers of energy drinks opt for something “edgier.” Coke’s relationship with Monster is worth about $6 billion.

Coca-Cola India’s New App Allows Consumers To Buy Bulk Jars Of Kinley Water Online

Using a new app from Coca-Cola India, consumers will be able to buy bulk jars of the mineral water brand Kinley online and have it delivered directly to homes. The service was launched in Noida initially, but will expand to the entire Delhi-NCR region eventually with the collaborative help of bottlers and distributors using digital communication tools. The company is also deploying new coolers equipped with IoT devices to monitor shopping behavior, and detect temperature, humidity, and the number of times the coolers are closed and opened.

Suja Life, Partly Owned By Coca-Cola, Explores Sale

Cold-pressed drink company Suja Life, partly owned by Coca-Cola since 2015, is exploring a possible sale. The company’s deal with Coca-Cola includes an option to buy after three years. Suja could sell itself entirely or partially; Coca-Cola, which continues to invest in and partner with Suja, could choose to sell or retain its stake. "We believe in the mission of the company and its CEO, Jeff Church, and the future growth potential of the brand," a Coke spokesman said, while declining to comment on a potential company sale. Suja has roughly $100 million in revenue, Coca-Cola valued it at $300 million three years ago. Other investors include celebrities Leonardo DiCaprio, Jared Leto, and Sofia Vergara. Suja has hired New York investment bank Evercore to explore a possible sale.

Coca-Cola Switches Emphasis From Marketing To “Growth”

Coca-Cola’s head of creative Rodolfo Echeverria has broadened the vision of the marketing department from product awareness and award-winning advertising to growth – by better satisfying consumer beverage needs. In March 2017 the company replaced the chief marketing officer position with the chief growth officer position to execute the basic strategy of becoming a “total beverage company.” The idea is to launch and acquired beverage products that consumers around the globe really want. Diversification has been a challenge, Echevarria admits, mainly because it is necessary to preserve a strong identity for each product, “an edge, a differentiating point that is relevant to the people or relates to that brand.” Meeting the challenge has benefited marketing, however, by “forcing” employees to be more curious.


Monster Beverage Posts Solid 3rd Q Sales, Profits, As Global Expansion Continues

Third quarter net sales of California-based Monster Beverage rose 11.7 percent to $1.02 billion – the second straight billion-dollar quarter – thanks in part to continuing global expansion. Monster Energy was launched in Ecuador and Ukraine, while the Mutant beverage launched in Vietnam and Myanmar. Net sales to non-U.S. customers rose 8.8 percent. Monster Energy Drinks sales increased by 13 percent to $935.1 million. Revenues from its strategic brands segment, including several energy drink brands acquired from Coca-Cola, slid 2.8 percent to $74.4 million. Expansion in India continued apace: distribution of Monster Energy increased to 40 of the largest cities in India. Predator, an “affordable energy brand,” was launched in South Africa and will debut soon in markets in Eastern Europe and Africa. Third quarter profit rose 22.4 percent to $267.7 million.

Other Companies

Sparkling Ice Adds New Flavor To Mark The Holiday Season

Washington-based Talking Rain’s sparkling water brand Sparkling Ice has introduced a limited-edition flavor for the holidays. Cranberry Frost, blending cranberries and ginger, also features seasonal mocktail recipes on the bottle for entertaining at home.  The new flavor is a zero-calorie, zero-sugar beverage made with antioxidants and vitamins, and available in select retail locations nationwide through the end of the year. The brand is also rolling out a limited-time club pack featuring three seasonal Sparkling Ice flavors: Cranberry Frost, Ginger Lime and Crisp Apple. The club pack will be available at Sam's Club and BJ's Wholesale Club locations nationwide while supplies last.

Brazilian Coconut Milk Company Obrigado Expands Its Portfolio

Brazil’s Obrigado brand of coconut drinks recently showcased a new line of coconut milks and fruit juice blends at PLMA’s 2018 Private Label Trade Show in Chicago. The new coconut milks – available in original, mango & passion fruit, and strawberry & banana flavors – blend pure coconut water with coconut cream. The fruit juice blends – available in pineapple and mango-acerola – mix pure coconut water and exotic fruits. Obrigado, a B-Corp Certified company committed to sustainability and zero waste, owns its own sustainable farms in Bahia, Brazil where it grows its young, green coconut trees. The company’s coconut milks, fruit juice blends, and coconut water are available nationwide in PET Sidel Line or Tetra Pak Lines.

Forto To Produce 2-Ounce Coffee Shots For Several JAB Retail Coffee Brands

Coffee shot brand Forto has agreed to produce a line of two-ounce coffee shots for Donut Shop, Gevalia, Green Mountain, and Krispy Kreme. Each of the new products comes in the brand’s patented two-oz. cup-style package and contains 100 mg of caffeine. The company partnered with Hershey a year ago to produce a lower-caffeine organic cold brew coffee shot that highlighted the chocolate brand as an added ingredient. The new agreement clearly emphasizes the partner brand on the package, aside from the text “Powered by Forto” along the base. Forto and its partner brands are affiliated with the coffee portfolio of Luxembourg-based JAB Holding Company. Forto is launching nationwide in Walgreens and Dollar General by the end of the year, with additional national chains expected to launch early next year, bringing its retail footprint to about 15,000 stores.

Five Countries Account For Half Of World Coffee Sales – Report

Though they are mature and developed markets, and consumer demands differ widely in each, according to Euromonitor, five countries offer the best opportunities for coffee businesses. The global leader, Brazil, edged out the U.S.in 2014, accounting for 15 percent of world coffee sales despite an economic recession. The debut of new coffee types such as pods could further stimulate growth. In fact, in the U.S.,  pods have surpassed coffee beans to become the second most prominent coffee format in the country, despite sustainability concerns. Other top coffee markets are Indonesia, Germany, and Japan. Global retail coffee sales reached $83 billion in 2017. The top five accounted for half of those sales.

Banning Sugar In Favor Of Stevia Is The Magic Formula For Beverage Brand Zevia

Data from the SPINS market research firm show that the beverage industry is benefiting financially now that it is offering consumers more healthful products without – or with significantly reduced – sugar content. Coca-Cola’s recent revenue growth an be attributed to the success of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, while Zevia, made with the zero-calorie, zero-carbs sweetener stevia, has become the no. 3 brand in grocery store dollar growth. Annual sales of Zevia are now $200 million in annual sales; from March 2016 to February 2017 Zevia ranked above Pepsi in online sales, according to Bloomberg. Zevia is the No. 1 low or zero-calorie grape soda, the No. 2 cream soda, and the No. 5 ginger ale brand, according to SPINS. 

Beverage Companies Continue To See CBD-Infused Drinks A Major Opportunity

Several companies in recent months have hopped on the cannabidiol-infused beverage bandwagon. As hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) continues to infuse itself within the beverage industry, the ingredient is becoming a source of inspiration for entrepreneurs looking to breakout. New Age Beverages, Alkaline Water Company, Cuvée Coffee, Buddha Teas, Pervida, and Sprig have all announced CBD-based line extensions. New companies offering CBD-infused beverages include Joybird Wellness, Recess, Lumen Hemp Elixirs, and DRAM Apothecary. Regulatory hurdles continue to be daunting, however: New York-based functional beverage brand Dirty Lemon discontinued its +cbd line this month for that reason. It is hoped that the upcoming U.S. Farm Bill will clear a path for CBD-based drinks.

Freedom Leaf To Acquire Hemp2o CBD-Infused Beverage Company

Nevada-based Freedom Leaf Inc., a collection of vertically-integrated hemp and cannabis companies, is set to enter the CBD-infused beverage category with the acquisition of Hemp2o, a brand co-founded by San Francisco cannabis entrepreneur and rapper Gilbert Milam Jr. Hemp2o, whose sales are expected to top $2 million this year, offers eight flavors of organic hemp-infused beverages, including top selling “Sunset Sherbert,” “Strawberry Watermelon,” and “Blueberry Apricot.” The beverages are sold on the West Coast by national retailers Whole Foods Market, Safeway/Albertsons, by selected Target locations in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and on Amazon.com.  The transaction, which involves a combination of both cash and Freedom Leaf stock, is expected to close in December.
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