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Beverage Innovation

Tracking The Drinks Marketplace


Retiring Coke Chairman Kent Lists Challenges For Global CEOs

Outgoing Coca-Cola Chairman Muhtar Kent – he’s retiring in April 2019 – says running a global business is tougher than ever because of the competition, of course, but also because of “sociopolitical dynamics,” more unknowns – like Brexit, U.S. trade wars, and currency fluctuations – and “more volatility, constant volatility." But that’s not all that gives CEOs anxiety. Also at work are a “global war for talent” and “digitization," he told CNBC. Kent, a 40-year veteran of Coca-Cola, will be replaced as chairman by CEO James Quincey.

Coke’s Brand Incubator To Undergo Major Restructuring

Scott Uzzell, president of Coca-Cola’s Venturing and Emerging Brands (VEB) business, outlined in a December 4 memo several organizational changes to take effect in January. The changes, including some staff shifts, will “sharpen our focus” related to the current marketing strategy and accelerate the growth of its beverage portfolio. VEB’s role – “futurist, investor, incubator and integrator“ – is to spot the right trends, invest in them, incubate them “and, finally, help integrate them into our broad business system.” With that in mind, VEB will create several new business units that will nurture acquired brands: imported mineral water brand Topo Chico and coconut water maker Zico will move into the Still Business Unit; Hansen’s and Blue Sky Beverage Company will move to the Sparkling Business Unit; and Hubert’s Lemonade and VEB’s Natural Channel Sales Team will be folded into the Minute Maid Business Unit based in Texas. Other brands – Fairlife, Suja, and BodyArmor – will not be affected.


Nestlé Waters NA Knows That Plastic Bottles, Water Sourcing Practices, Are Big Challenges

Nestlé Waters North America CEO Fernando Mercé acknowledges that the bottled water business is going gangbusters – growth reached 6.2 percent in 2017 – but worries about the growing negative perceptions sparked by environmental concerns. For Nestlé, it’s a two-pronged challenge: plastic bottles and water sourcing practices.  The company is committed to having half of its bottles made from recycled plastic within six years. But the company seems unsure about how to deal with controversial water sourcing problems, which have caused high-profile public-relations issues. Nestlé faced boycott threats in 2016 after buying a well in Ontario that a Canadian township wanted to buy. It was also criticized that year for increasing the amount of water it was pumping from a source in Michigan, 120 miles from Flint, a city known for its water crisis.

Other Companies

Company Launches Clinical Trial Testing Effects Of Divinia Water On Kidney, Liver Conditions

Divinia Water of Idaho Falls, Idaho, and the National University of Natural Medicine (Portland, Ore) are launching a clinical study testing Divinia Water's effect on chronic kidney disease, liver diseases, and hepatitis. The study was formally approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and will begin in 2019. The trial will be conducted by NUNM at its Helfgott Research Institute in Portland for a period up to one year. The study will compare drinking Divinia Water to drinking regular bottled water and tap water. Preliminary results are expected in 2019. According to the company, Divinia Water is an ultra-purified water with distinct changes to its electro-magnetic particle properties, along with the depletion of heavy water particles (deuterium depleted). The trial will be randomized and controlled.

Company Debuts New Versions Of Slice After Acquiring Trademark Rights

New Slice Ventures, which acquired the trademark rights to the Slice beverage brand this year, announced that the organic fruit juice-infused drinks are available in four flavors in 12-ounce cans: raspberry grapefruit, blackberry, mango pineapple, and apple cranberry. Slice – introduced by PepsiCo in 1984 but subsequently discontinued – will be sold in 4-packs and in single serve cans. Slice has no added sugar, no artificial sweeteners, no artificial colors and no caffeine. The beverage has only 25 calories per can – about 80 percent fewer calories than most regular cans of soda, according to the company.

Beverage Trends For 2019: A Health And Wellness Teme

The predominant trend in the beverage industry in 2019 is meeting consumer demand for products that support mental, physical, and environmental health, according to beverage developer Imbibe. The trend is reflected in the array of ingredients featured in reformulated and newly-developed beverages, including collagen, MCT oil, mushrooms, and functional botanicals. Functional beverages will contain superfood ingredients like turmeric, activated charcoal, matcha, melatonin, and aloe vera. Demand for overall wellness will be seen in product launches that Improve sleep, energy, cognitive function, beauty, weight loss and gut health, and oral or cardiovascular health. Look for more products containing cannabidiol (CBD), as well as more plant-based products, like coffee creamers and “milks.” Color and functionality merge in ingredients like blue algae, beet, matcha, butterfly pea flower tea, and purple tea – all “Instagram-friendly.” Other sub-trends: globally-inspired flavors, interest in textures, and concern for sustainability. 

Regional A-B Wholesaler Begins Distribution Of Company’s CBD-Infused Water

A Los Angeles-based company specializing in brand development of cannabis-based food and beverage products is partnering with Anheuser-Busch wholesaler Belle Point Beverages to distribute CBD-based ENDO Water in bars, restaurants, grocery stores, and vape shops in Arkansas and Oklahoma. Right On Brands says the interest in CBD-based beverages has been on the rise nationwide and is “a perfect complement to alcoholic beverage distributors due to similar distribution footprints and projected exponential growth in market share.” The company expects other wholesale distributors to follow suit by ordering ENDO Water as their entry into the CBD-infused beverage market. Endo Water, available in four flavors, is pH-balanced, micro-clustered for antioxidant protection, and oxygenated for improved performance and energy, according to the company.

Portugal’s SoNatural Juice Company Arrives In U.S.

Portugal’s farmer-owned juice company SoNatural, whose products are available in 24 countries, is setting up shop in the Philadelphia area. The company’s juice and wellness shots are already sold in Fresh Market and PUBLIX locations nationwide. The company uses HPP technology to remove microorganisms and impurities while maintaining natural nutrition and flavor without the use of preservatives, sugar or water. SoNatural’s juice range includes: avocado juice with apple and pear; beet juice with apple, carrot and ginger; ginger and apple juice with basil; mango juice with apple and banana, and a refreshing apple and lemon juice with mint. All are under 70 calories, non-GMO, and come in BPA-free 13.52 oz. bottles at an SRP of $3.99.

Alkaline Water Company Licenses Technology To Infuse Drinks With Cannabidiol

Arizona-based Alkaline Water Company is licensing a “phytorecovery” technology (APP) from Infusion Biosciences that will allow it to infuse water-soluble cannabinoids into its beverages without the use of any chemicals or additives.  AWC’s subsidiary A88 Infused Beverage Division will also gain access to IBS’ ready-to-drink natural hemp-extract formulations. AWC says the arrangement means A88 Infused will be “the first national U.S. beverage company to bring true water-soluble, full-spectrum features of bioactive natural hemp extract molecules to U.S. consumers.”  APP Technology uses proprietary reagents to produce two ready-to-consume ingredients with the full-spectrum features of bioactive cannabinoids and terpenes from hemp, the company says. It adds that it will not sell hemp-infused products until they are legal.

AG Barr Adds New Variants To Rockstar Brand

British beverage company AG Barr says a new range of its Rockstar energy drinks brand “taps into the current trend for retro flavors.” The Rockstar Twister range, which is also lower in calories – 25 calories per 10 cl – will be available in January at $1.26 per 50 cl pack. The two new flavors are smashed blue raspberry and wacked red berry. The company said the packaging will stand out on store shelves, enabling retailers “to grow sales from the energy category."

DNA Brands Acquires NEO High Alkaline Superwater

Florida-based DNA Brands Inc. has acquired NEO Superwater as a wholly owned subsidiary.  DNA Energy, launched in 2007, left the marketplace in 2014, but now intends to revive DNA Energy Drinks, focusing primarily in select and niche markets, while also tweaking the formula toward organic reformulations.  The company plans to launch NEO Superwater, and subsequently all of its products, in the U.K. in 2019, with the assistance of SRP Equipe Ltd., a group of retired and current professional soccer players. Bernard Rubin, founder of Betta4U Brands Inc., will be appointed to the board of DNA Brands Inc., and will serve as president. NEO High Alkaline Superwater is found in most major natural food stores, grocers, convenience stores, nutritional stores, health & wellness stores, and gyms, predominantly on the West Coast.  Expansion efforts will concentrate on the East Coast.   


Sales Of Sports Drinks, Refrigerated Juices Slide In Four Weeks Ending December 1

Nielsen reported that sales of carbonated soft drink (CSDs) rose in the four weeks ending December 1, across Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo, and Keurig Dr Pepper (KDP). Coke reported a 1.1 percent increase in total beverage sales and KDP was up 1.4 percent with 0.4 percent growth for teas, three percent growth for shelf-stable juices, and a 5.1 percent increase in CSDs. Total beverage snack and beverage sales for PepsiCo were up 1.2 percent, but only showed a “muted” 0.4 percent increase in CSDs. Overall, energy drinks grew nine percent, sparkling fflavored water grew 16.7 percent, ready-to-drink coffee was up five percent, bottled water was up 3.2 percent, sports drinks were down two percent, and refrigerated juices were down 3.2 percent.
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