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Beverage Innovation

Tracking The Drinks Marketplace


Study Lays Out Coca-Cola’s Efforts To Sway China’s Thinking On Sugary Soft Drinks

China scholar Susan Greenhalgh reports in a new study that Coca-Cola Company cultivated complex personal, institutional, and financial connections in China beginning in the 1970s to inculcate the message that a lack of physical activity – not sugary soft drinks – was the cause of rising obesity rates. The company’s efforts in fact exerted strong influence over the way the Chinese government addressed the country's growing obesity problem. Coca-Cola has promoted its message globally through the nonprofit International Life Science Institute (ILSI), founded by a former Coke executive in 1978. Critics of the ILSI contend that it acts to further the corporate interests of Coca-Cola through 17 international branches positioned mostly in emerging markets, including China. The study was published in the Journal of Public Health Policy and the BMJ.

Coke’s Alcoholic Beverage Alternatives Hit Store Shelves In Southern Cities

BAR NØNE, Coca-Cola’s new alcoholic beverage alternatives announced last fall, have begun arriving at package stores, bottle shops, and specialty stores in Atlanta, as well as Savannah, Greensboro, and Gainesville, and are available on the brand’s website. The idea for the line came from Sabrina Tandon, general manager of the company’s Venturing and Emerging Brands business unit. She came up with the idea after realizing that her own “drinking behavior” had changed because of the demands of children and job. Neither alcohol nor sparkling water, club soda, or a soft drink hit the spot when she got home from work. And she found that her experience wasn’t unique. “The more I started looking at consumer data, I realized I wasn’t alone in that thinking,” she said. Four-pack bottles in four flavors – spiced ginger mule, bellini spritz, dry aged cider, and sparkling sangria – retail for $10.99.

Keurig Dr Pepper

Becht Resigns As Chairman Of JAB Holding Over Disagreements About Company Strategy

JAB Holding, owner of coffee giant Keurig Dr Pepper, announced the retirement this year of chairman and co-founder Bart Becht, a few months after he stepped down from its Coty cosmetics business. Becht reportedly resigned because of disagreements with his partners about the scale of the company's dealmaking, preferring that JAB focus on improving operations for the companies that JAB already has stakes in. The company has hired three new executives with consumer products backgrounds: Fabien Simon, Ricard Rittes and Jacek Szarzynski. Anheuser Busch InBev veteran Rittes will open a new office in Brazil to head up expansion in emerging markets. JAB, the investing arm of Germany's Riemann family, was run by Becht with partners Peter Harf and Olivier Goudet. Harf will take over as chairman after Becht's departure. CEO Bob Gamgort will replace Becht as chairman of its board.


Nestlé To Use Company’s Biodegradable Plastics In Future Water Bottles

Nestlé and biodegradable plastics specialist Danimer Scientific have partnered to develop biodegradable bottles using bio-based resins for Nestlé’s water business. A 2018 University of Georgia study confirmed i that Danimer’s PHA polymer Nodax is an effective biodegradable alternative to petrochemical plastics. Existing partner PepsiCo may also gain access to the resins developed under this collaboration using Danimer Scientific’s PHA polymer Nodax. The company says Nodax PHA is suitable feedstock for industrial compost, home compost, and anaerobic digester facilities as well as reuse through recycling. 

Other Companies

Califia Farms Extends Plant-Based Portfolio With Oatmilks For Coffee Shops, Homes

Los Angeles-based Califia Farms is broadening its plant-based beverage offerings with the addition of oatmilks Oat Barista Blend (February) for coffee shops and Unsweetened Oatmilk (April) for consumers. The new oat beverages are made with North American whole grain, gluten-free oats. The Oat Barista Blend is also completely unsweetened and has no gums or stabilizers. The Unsweetened Oatmilk product, designed for at-home consumption, will be available in natural, specialty, and grocery retailers, bottled in the company’s signature 48-ounce curvy carafe. It contains 50 percent more calcium than milk.

Japanese Barley-Based Vegetable Juice Aojiru Continues Global Expansion

Yamamoto Kanpoh Pharmaceutical announced it is expanding its marketing of the functional beverage Aojiru to Korea and Australia. Aojiru (“green vegetable juice”) is made from barley leaves harvested in Kyushu, Japan. The market size of Aojiru in Japan was $485.7 million in 2012, according to the Yano Research Institute. Popular in Japan and China, Aojiru is also exported to the U.S., Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, and Singapore. A 2018 Euromonitor showed that Yamamoto Kanpo continued to show strong growth in 2018, due to the success of its Aojiru.

Hydration Drink Liquid I.V. Now Available In All U.S. Costco Stores

California nutrition company Liquid I.V.’s eponymous hydration beverage has launched nationally in 516 Costco stores after sales success on Costco.com and regional Costco outlets.  Available in packs of as many as 30 “sticks,“ Liquid I.V. contains five essential vitamins and is vegan, as well as gluten-, soy- and dairy-free. The product is now is carried in more than 20,000 stores, including Whole Foods Market, GNC, CVS, Ralphs, Vons, Albertsons, Safeway, and Kroger. The company says the beverage is made using Cellular Transport Technology (CTT), which “delivers hydration and other key nutrients rapidly into the bloodstream.”

Blue Diamond Extends Almond Breeze Product Lineup

Almond marketing company Blue Diamond of California has added two new creamers and an almond milk blended with bananas to its Almond Breeze product portfolio. Available in vanilla and unsweetened variants, the almond-based creamers can be used as dairy-free substitutes to dairy cream in coffee and in cooking, the company says. The banana almond milk has about half a banana per serving and 80 calories per cup, with zero added sugars. It can be consumed as a beverage, poured over cereal or blended in smoothies. Transparency Market Research predicted in 2017 that the global dairy alternatives market will be worth $26.3 billion by the end of 2024, as non-traditional offerings like rice milk, almond milk, and coconut milk become increasingly popular with consumers. Blue Diamond also offers a functional ingredient made from almond protein powder.

GacLife Launches Sport Version Of Gac Fruit-Based Beverage

GacLife, a direct-to-consumer supplier of gac fruit-infused hydration beverages, has launched Gac Sport containing  all-natural antioxidant carotenoids and electrolytes. Gac fruit, an orange-colored fruit grown in Southeast Asian countries, is rich in beta-carotene and lycopene. Gac Sport has no added sugar, no preservatives and no “unwanted” chemicals, and contains only ten calories per 12-oz. can. According to the company, a can of Gac Sport delivers 20 mg of carotenoids, which is equal to consuming one head of cabbage, five large tomatoes, 15 large carrots or 30 bunches of spinach. The lemon + electrolyte variant is sold online in a shelf-stable six-pack for $24 (per six-pack case) including shipping.
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