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Beverage Innovation

Tracking The Drinks Marketplace


Coca-Cola Resets Social Media Platforms With Happier, More Positive Content

Coca-Cola recently relaunched its Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts after deleting all content in favor of a more unified voice, point of view, and attitude – namely, greater optimism. The “holistic reset,” which took place on World Kindness Day (November 18), “an appropriate day and moment to kick off messages of positivity, but also when you look at Coke and what Coke stands for,” according to social media chief Sarah Traverso. For example, the company uploaded 99 posts on Instagram with the intention of flooding people’s feeds with happy, positive messages.

Mexican Entrepreneur Sues Coca-Cola Over Beverage Containing Amino Acid Gaba

A Mexican soft drink entrepreneur is seeking $35 million in damages from Coca-Cola, charging that the beverage giant violated an exclusivity agreement regarding his amino acid-based fizzy drink. José Antonio del Valle developed the purportedly “brain boosting” beverage containing gamma-aminobutyric acid (gaba) after visiting Japan ten years ago. Following discussions with Coca-Cola, the company and del Valle agreed in December 2017 that Coke would not produce, distribute, or sell any beverage similar to Go Gaba for at least 30 months after the initial exclusivity period had ended. Del Valle then discovered that Coca-Cola had launched “Fanta Gaba” in Japan. Coca-Cola says it has been developing gaba-based drinks in Japan since 2006, and the agreement with del Valle applied only to Mexico. Both local and federal authorities in Mexico are investigating del Valle’s claim.

Coca-Cola Drops Out Of Competition For GlaxoSmithKline’s Nutrition Business

Nestlé India and Unilever are the only companies vying for GlaxoSmithKline’s consumer nutrition business in India now that Coca-Cola is said to have backed out of the lengthy due diligence process. Bids for GSK’s Indian nutrition business, which includes the popular Horlicks malted milk beverage, are believed to be in the $3.1-3.5 billion range. Earlier this year, GSK launched a strategic review of its nutrition business globally. The review is expected to be concluded in December.

Coca-Cola Looks For Ways To Gather Customer Data Without Google, Nielsen, Etc.

Self-sourced raw consumer data, gathered using technological advances like facial recognition on soda dispensers, has become a "priority" for the Coca-Cola Company as a way to side-step Google and Nielsen. According to the company’s  CMO for sparkling, Javier Meza, potential sources of first-hand customer data include the Freestyle, future versions of which will feature contactless payment systems that will record who is buying and with what frequency. Coca-Cola is also developing dispensers with facial-recognition software that can pinpoint a customer's age, gender and mood. "The thing with Facebook and Google is, the data they offer you is always data to be used inside their applications and solutions,” Meza said. “It has limitations.”


Nestlé To Move Nespresso Headquarters To Vevey

Nestlé is moving the headquarters of coffee business Nespresso in 2021 from Lausanne, Switzerland, to a new headquarters campus in Vevey to save money. About 350 employees will be relocated, but no jobs will be lost. but will not result in job losses. Work on creating a global headquarters for Nespresso will start late in 2019 and be completed by early 2021. Nespresso employs more than 13,000 people worldwide.

Other Companies

New Atmospheric Water Generation Technology Produces 2,000 Liters Of Water A Day

The California-based Skysource/Skywater Alliance, founded by American architect David Hertz, has developed an energy-efficient technology for harvesting fresh drinking water from the air. The easily-transportable WEDEW system is the size of a cargo shipping container and can generate 2,000 liters of water a day. All atmospheric water generation (AWG) systems combine cold and hot air to create condensation, much like the way clouds are formed. However, existing technologies have a high carbon footprint. WEDEW devices – WEDEW stands for wood-to-energy deployed emergency water – not only have their own 100 percent renewable energy source, they are carbon-negative, generating extra energy that can be used by the local community in any climate. Another beneficial byproduct is biochar, a stable form of charcoal that can be mixed with soil for fertilizer. 

Arla Foods Ingredients Dbuts Whey-Only Protein Shot

Noting the gap in the market for a protein shot made exclusively with whey, Denmark’s Arla Foods Ingredients has developed a whey-based protein shot for athletes and “gym-goers.” Other protein shot products contain collagen and whey, but Arla’s uses only whey protein. The Arla Protein Extreme combines orange juice and ginger to balance out the bitterness of the whey. Each 100ml shot is low-calorie and contains 20 grams of protein. The company said it is working with beverage manufacturers on building out the concept and expects it to integrate well into the protein drink market.

Fifco USA Launches “Spiked Still Water” Pura Still

Rochester, N.Y.-based Fifco USA next month will introduce nationally what it calls “spiked still water” flavored with coconut water and natural fruit flavor. Noncarbonated Pura Still has an ABV of 4.5 percent with 90 calories, one gram of cane sugar, and two grams of carbohydrates. Beginning in December, Pura Still will be available in six-packs of 11.2-ounce bottles in three flavors: blackberry, mango, and mandarin orange. Pura Still is a product of Fifco USA. Thc ompany said Pura Still was created to meet the growing demand for better-for-you options in the ready-to-drink alcoholic beverage space.

Hope & Sesame Debuts Sesamemilks In Five Flavors

Vegan milk producer Hope & Sesame (Chicago, Ill.) has launched a line of high-protein nondairy organic sesamemilk beverages in five flavors, including chocolate, vanilla, original, unsweetened original, and chocolate hazelnut. A serving of the nondairy milks contains eight grams of protein and 120 calories, as much calcium as whole dairy milk, with less sugar, more vitamin D and no dairy allergens or lactose, the company says. The suggested retail price is $4.99 for a 1-liter carton. According to the Plant Based Foods Association, sales in the plant-based foods industry have topped $3.3 billion in 2017, with $1.6 billion coming from the plant-based milk category.

Reaction To Welch’s “Tough As Grapes” Ad Campaign Has Been “Amazing”

Grape juice company Welch’s last month rolled out a new ad campaign targeting Gen X men that stresses the antioxidant content of its Concord and Niagara grape-based beverages. The “Tough As Grapes” campaign is based on the findings that 73 percent of Gen X men drink juice with breakfast, and 60 percent like the flavor grape. The company says more than 75 clinical studies over the past decade show that Concord grape juice helps support a healthy heart, maintain a healthy immune system, improve exercise performance, and positively impact mood. According to the company, reaction to the campaign has been “amazing:” one billion earned PR impressions.

Brain-Stimulating Nootropic Beverages Are A Growing Market

Despite warnings from the medical community, several companies are selling “nootropic” supplements via shots and energy drink alternatives that promise better focus, better memory, and improved mental function overall. Nootropics – comprising various “smart” drugs, adaptogens, and synthetic compounds – are a growing segment of the global brain health supplement market expected to reach $11.6 billion by 2024. Examples include Synapse, an early stage “natural cognitive boost” drink, and the nootropic-infused FocusAid line, available in more than 10,000 stores nationwide, including Whole Foods. Unfortunately, according to the American Medical Association, “While prescription stimulants carry real risks, they do not make people smarter.” On the supplement side, the nootropic space still lacks significant oversight, though some products have run afoul of the FDA for containing compounds such as piracetam. 

Cold Brew Coffee From Columbia Gorge Organic Juice Company

Columbia Gorge Organic Juice Company (Hood River, Ore.) has partnered with a local roaster to launch a line of cold brewed coffees. Available in three flavors – latte, French vanilla, and mocha – the blended coffees are made with pasteurized organic milk, fair trade organic vanilla or chocolate and sweetened with organic cane sugar and stevia. After bottling, the coffee drinks with milk are treated with a “high hydrostatic pressure” that ensures safety without the use of any heat. 

82 Labs Expands To Store Shelves While Extending Product Focus Beyond Hangover Recovery

Los Angeles-based start-up 82 Labs is preparing to rebrand itself as a functional beverage platform in December with the launch of a holistic suite of products aimed at promoting productivity. The company, which works closely with a research team at USC, closed an $8 million funding round six months ago and launched Morning Recovery, a 3.4 oz. shot designed to ease the effects of alcohol consumption. Consumer research, however, has convinced the company to expand its horizons. Morning Recovery will be one of a variety of products aimed at providing different functional benefits, including anxiety relief, improved sleep quality, optimal hydration, and mental acuity. It will debut new flavors and packaging next month while transitioning from online-only sales to brick-and-mortar retail. Its products are being tested at 7-Eleven locations in Chicago, and in stores in San Francisco and Los Angeles. The company plans to expand eventually to mass and conventional grocery channels. 

Big Beer – And A Few Start-ups – See Non-Alcoholic Beer As A Major Market Opportunity

The 30 percent of U.S. adults who do not drink alcohol are a tempting market opportunity for beer companies looking for a way to boost sales. Craft beer companies and major beer producers, including Molson and Pabst, plan to roll out non-alcoholic (NA) beverages early in 2019. Always a tough sell in the U.S., “near beer” accounts for only 0.3 percent of total off-premise beer sales year-to-date, or about $80 million of a $29 billion market. Anheuser-Busch InBev (with Budweiser Prohibition Beer) plans to grow its NA portfolio to 20 percent of global volume by 2025; Heineken will spend $50 million promoting the 2019 launch of Heineken 0.0. Craft breweries focused exclusively on the non-alcoholic segment include Athletic Brewing (Connecticut), Wellbeing Brewing (Missouri), Surreal Brewing (California), and Partake Brewing (Canada).

Scientists Develop Probiotic Drink By Fermenting Coconut Water

Researchers at universities in India and South Korea have developed a functional fermented coconut water beverage with probiotic benefits. The beverage was produced using the bacterial strain Lactobacillus casei L4. The scientists reported that the fermentation of coconut water with probiotic lactobacilli increased the cell viability count, with vitamin B12 production being the highest in the extracellular environment after 48 hours. The total phenolic content was also much higher than at other time points, and the fermented materials demonstrated the most prominent radical-scavenging activities. Twenty taste testers tried three recipes for the beverage, showing preference for fermented coconut water with 15 percent honey and artificial coconut flavor, probably because of the decreased acidity and increased sweetness and aroma of the beverage.

International Distributors Show Interest In Detox Beverage Company

London-based Sober Up, an alcohol detoxification drink company, says it has received international distribution interest from 17 countries due to the online awareness and success of their current Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. A resurgence of backers has led to the extension of the campaign through November 27, after which Sober Up will be available on their new website for retail purchase with various retail location announcements coming as each location is finalized. According to the company, Sober Up is a detox shot made from naturally sourced ingredients that detoxes the body, supports liver health and helps prevent hangovers.
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