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Beverage Innovation

Tracking The Drinks Marketplace


Reformulated Peach-Flavored Coke Returns To Japan In New Packaging

A year ago, Coca-Cola debuted a new peach flavor variant exclusively in Japan to coincide with the rise of springtime when peaches – believed to ward off evil – are celebrated. The product did so well that the company is-rereleasing Coca-Cola Peach with a new design – added peach leaves and more light pink on the label – and formulation. The new formulation contains one-percent white peach juice and is said to have a better flavor and more aroma. The new brand will only be available in stores while supplies last.

Coca-Cola Buys Stake In Dirty Lemon Parent Iris Nova

Coca-Cola has participated in the $15 million seed funding round of New York’s Iris Nova, a direct-to-consumer beverage company. The company will use the cash to expand its portfolio of brands and technology through its text message-based distribution platform. Iris Nova’s Dirty Lemon brand was launched in 2015 as a first-of-its-kind beverage sold exclusively by text message. The company has doubled revenue year over year ever since and expects growth of 250 percent in 2019. Its product lineup includes trending ingredients such as turmeric, collagen, charcoal, matcha, and ginseng. The company also offers a retail experience – The Drug Store – to test new beverage concepts before they are produced on a national scale using a direct-to-consumer “conversational commerce” model, or “c-commerce.” Coca-Cola's Venturing & Emerging Brands (VEB) has an indirect ownership stake in more than 12 up-and-coming beverage brands.

N.C. Coke Bottler Changes Its Name

Charlotte, N.C.-based Coca-Cola Bottling Consolidated is dropping the “bottling” part of its name “to simplify our legal name and reflect how we are already commonly known in the marketplace, according to CEO Frank Harrison. It also eliminates any confusion between its name and Coca-Cola Company, which supplies the bottler’s ingredients. The largest of Coke’s independent bottlers, Coke Consolidated had 2018 revenue of $5 billion, with 2,000 employees at five facilities in Charlotte plus facilities in 14 other states and Washington, D.C.

Coca-Cola Turns To Bulk Retailer Boxed To Debut New Smartwater Variants

Coca-Cola is debuting Smartwater Antioxidant and Smartwater Alkaline exclusively on online bulk retailer Boxed, after it was reported that Amazon, which sells a number of Smartwater products, will no longer sell bulky, inexpensive items like bottled water that "Can't Realize a Profit" (or “CRaP”). Boxed has become an expert on shipping inexpensive items like snacks and bottled water. Coca-Cola has partnered with Boxed – dubbed the “Costco for Millennials” – to debut Smartwater Antioxidant and Smartwater Alkaline through March.  Boxed will also provide Coca-Cola with sales insights before the drinks' in-store debut. According to Coca-Cola, Smartwater is the largest premium bottled water brand, accounting for 25 percent of the market with $700 million in sales in 2017.  

Closing Of Costa Acquisition Puts Coca-Cola On The World Stage Of Coffee

Coca-Cola is poised to significantly expand its presence in the global coffee market now that it has closed its $4.9 billion acquisition of U.K.-based Costa Ltd. with its 4,000 retail outlets, coffee vending format, and coffee roastery. The closing followed regulatory approval from authorities in the European Union and China. The company does business in Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa. The acquisition gives Coca-Cola a scalable coffee platform and expertise in the coffee supply chain.


Nestlé R&D Unit Is Developing Beverages Made From Walnuts, Blueberries

Nestlé SA hopes to ride the wave of plant-based eating – one of the new so-called “food tribes” that include gluten-free and lactose-free – to a billion-dollar business. In addition to stepping briskly into vegan substitutes for meat, using soy and wheat protein, the company’s research and development center in Switzerland is exploring the potential for a liquid derived from walnuts and blueberries, with a purple hue. There’s also a blue latte featuring spirulina algae in the works. The company says about half of the protein used in its food products, including in pet food, comes from plant rather than animal sources. Nestlé Chief Technology Officer Stefan Palzer said, “Vegetarianism has never been this popular before and it’s here to stay, I’m convinced about that.” 

Other Companies

Peet’s Buys Into Kombucha Brew Revive

JAB Holdings’ Peet’s Coffee has acquired a controlling interest in California-based Revive Kombucha, whose craft brewing techniques produce a line of bottled and on-tap organic kombucha that sells well in the U.S. Revive will use the investment to scale the brand, grow the brewery operations, and broaden distribution through Peet’s network. Peet’s plans to expand Revive to its on-premise, grocery, and coffee bar locations. “Adapting our growth strategy to extend access and trial of superior beverage choices across channels in new and convenient locations is key,” said Eric Lauterbach, president of the consumer division at Peet’s Coffee.

Dark Clouds Loom On Coffee’s Horizon

Ground coffee sales in supermarkets are slipping, but so far cheaper coffee beans have offset the revenue drop. Meanwhile, sales of single-serve coffee pods for machines made by Keurig Dr Pepper and others have been strong, rising 4.2 percent a year. Gloomier trends are at work in the coffee business, however, as big brands lose share to smaller upstarts, and U.S. incumbents are now contending with an American offensive by Nestlé, which has a deal with Starbucks and a new coffee acquisition (Austin, Texas-based Chameleon Cold-Brew). The expiration of Keurig’s patent in 2012 opened the door to cheaper private label competition, which now accounts for 21.6 percent of the market. Keurig has offset its price reductions with cost savings, keeping margins high. But pressures on coffee margins may prove troubling for food giants J.M. Smucker and Kraft Heinz. 

7-Eleven Adds New Varieties To Its Organic Cold-Pressed Juice Line

7-Eleven has introduced more varieties of its 7-Select GO!Smart organic cold-pressed juice in 100 percent single juice variants. In addition to orange and apple juice, the company now offers pomegranate, honeydew melon, and blackberry, each sourced from a single organic fruit. According to the company, sales of three of the four new GO!Smart varieties are in the top 10 of juices sold in 20-ounce or smaller juice category. In addition to the organic, cold-pressed juices, the 7-Select GO!Smart brand includes fruit and nut blends and sprouted chips, frozen Greek yogurt bars and string cheese, boiled eggs, protein packs, fresh-cut fruit and salads. The single fruit juice varieties are sold in 11.2-ounce glass bottles at an SRP of $2.99, or two for $5.

Mindfull Debuts Organic Green, Black Teas In Whole Foods Markets

Colorado-based start-up MindFull, Inc. has launched two ready-to-drink organic electrolyte tea brands as the first products in their beverage portfolio. The Gaiam Teas line includes organic green teas made with artesian spring water rich in natural electrolytes and minerals. They also contain: 38-42 milligrams of natural caffeine; two grams of sugar from organic honey; and 20 calories per 500 mL Tetra Pak. Four flavors are available: hibiscus, lemon, mint and pomegranate. The Vibe line comprises organic, black teas made with artesian spring water. They contain 48 milligrams of natural caffeine; one gram of sugar from organic honey; and 20 calories per 500 mL Tetra Pak. The four available flavors are mint, lemon, peach and pomegranate. Gaiam and Vibe are available in Whole Foods Market’s 365 stores and Central Market, and in 400 other stores nationwide by March.

Protein Beverage Company Koia Adds Ketogenic Drink To Portfolio

Los Angeles-based plant-based protein drink company Koia has launched a high-fat beverage for consumers following a ketogenic diet. Available in Whole Foods Market stores, Koia Keto’s three flavors –chocolate brownie, cake batter and caramel crème – contain coconut milk and MCT oil, delivering a ratio of 74 percent fat, 18 percent protein and eight percent net carbs that help accelerate ketosis. The 12 grams of protein are entirely plant-based. Koia products are available at 60 retailers and 4,000 stores in the U.S., though Koia Keto is available exclusively at Whole Foods Market and at DrinkKoia.com for $4.99.

Nim’s Fruit Crisps Expands Into “Edible” Tea Infusions

British fruit crisp brand Nim’s has launched a line of loose tea infusions 12-packs of 12 g sachets in three varieties: beetroot and parsnip; pineapple and kiwi; and pineapple, beetroot and parsnip. The company has also released a range of air-dried slices for use in hot and cold drinks. Made with dried fruits, the infusions rehydrate in liquid, flavoring beverages. The products are available in the U.K.’s Co-op, online at Ocado, and in 1,400 Tesco stores. The company says it wants to expand to countries outside the European Union (EU), including Hong Kong, Israel, and South Africa as the U.K.’s withdrawal from the EU approaches.
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