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Beverage Innovation

Tracking The Drinks Marketplace


Diet Coke Adds Two More Flavors

Two new Diet Coke flavors – strawberry guava and blueberry acai – will reach store shelves this month, joining an array of four new flavors introduced in sleeker packaging last year. The new packaging and flavors are a re-energizing tactic targeted at sparkling beverage fans among Millennials. But Coca-Cola also hopes the new format will connect with loyal Diet Coke fans. With that in mind, the company is launching a nationwide sampling campaign through August that will visit 15 cities and 100 college campuses.

Coca-Cola Brazil Introduces Tea Pods Under Iconic Leão Brand

Coca-Cola Brazil has launched a range of yerba mate tea pods under its iconic Leão tea brand to meet Brazilian demand for “practical and convenient healthy drinks.” Leão tea can be brewed in less than a minute using the compatible Nespresso pod machine, eliminating the need to heat water in a kettle or microwave to pour over a sachet. One pack contains 10 pods that each brew 200 ml of tea. Matte Leão Original has a recommended retail price of $5.29. The yerba mate is sourced from producers in southern Brazil, the biggest producer of yerba maté in the world, producing more than 619,000 tons in 2017, followed by Argentina and Uruguay.

Coke CEO Says Uncertainty, Not Slower Growth, Is Biggest Global Issue

Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey says he’s more concerned about uncertainty in the global economy than about the possibility of slower growth. However, he and others attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, do expect slower growth this year. One source of uncertainty is the U.S.-China trade war, which could end in a couple of months if the countries negotiate a deal. Quincey said the effect of the trade war on his company is "slightly indirect" because its products for the China market are made there. Coca-Cola, he added, will continue to keep up with consumer tastes and solve problems like the sugar content of its drinks and reducing packaging waste.


Monster Enters “Performance Energy” Market With Reign

Monster Energy CEO Rodney Sacks told a recent investor meeting that it will launch a fitness beverage in the “performance energy” market in March. Dubbed Reign, the high-caffeine beverage will be available in 16-ounce cans, taking on VPX Pharmaceuticals’ successful Bang product. Sacks said Monster’s product will have the same amount of caffeine (300 mg) as Bang, but ten times the amount of branch amino acids (BCAAs) and CoQ10. The zero-sugar, zero-calorie line will be available in peach fizz, carnival candy, sour apple, and razzle berry flavors. The SRP is $2.79. A Wells Fargo Securities analyst said Monster’s entry into performance energy drinks may be “too little, too late” to establish a leading position. Monster is also developing a new sub-family of tea products, supplementing its Rehab line, starting with Monster Dragon Tea.

Other Companies

Belgium’s Hiddit Debuts Higher-pH Isotonic Beverages For Triathletes

Belgian triathlete-focused nutrition supplements start-up Hiddit is launching a range of isotonic drinks with optimum acidity and calcium that claim to solve tooth erosion issues in athletes. The low-acidity endurance drinks address a “real need” for products that do not damage tooth enamel, according to founder Tony Van Campen. Recent research determined that 49.1 percent of athletes had untreated tooth decay and 77 percent had inflamed gums, an early indicator of gum disease, caused by: high air flow through the open mouth during intensive efforts that limits limiting saliva production; and by extensive use of highly acidic enamel-eroding sports drinks with pH values much lower than 5 – 5.5. Hiddit’s new range of isotonic drinks all have a pH above 5.5, including one variant with a pH of 7, like water.

Alkaline Water Company To Unveil New Products, Including CBD/Hemp Infused Waters

Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Alkaline Water Company will launch a line of CBD/hemp-infused sparkling waters early this year, the company announced. The new Alkaline88 products include: hemp-derived CBD-infused water; vitamin-infused CBD water including vitamin B12 and chlorophyll; vitamin-based “Energy” water; sparkling CBD water; and naturally-flavored water, including watermelon, blackberry lemon, blood orange and peach mango flavors. The new lines will be introduced in Walmart, Kroger, CVS, and Albertsons/Safeway in Arizona and around the country. The company said it will eventually expand distribution into natural food retailers such as Sprouts, Whole Foods, and Fresh Thyme nationwide. 

Kroger Adds Hoist Hydration Beverages To 300+ Stores In Cincinnati, Atlanta

Kroger Co. announced it will add Cincinnati-based Hoist’s “super-hydration” beverages to the “natural beverage” shelves at 118 stores in its Cincinnati division and at 195 Atlanta-area stores. United Dairy Farmers stores around Greater Cincinnati already carry Hoist. The product is carried at 10,000 stores around the country. According to Hoist, its beverage provides fast hydration because the density of its formula matches that of the human bloodstream, allowing it to be absorbed directly. Hoist comes in dragonfruit, watermelon, strawberry lemonade, and orange flavors.

Baltimore Start-Up Selling Caffeine-Packed Tea Gets New Funding

Baltimore, Md.-based high-caffeine tea start-up Zest Tea has closed a $1 million funding round that includes contributions from the Maryland Momentum Fund (University System of Maryland), and Lord Baltimore Fund, a venture fund associated with the Blaustein family of Amoco oil wealth. The cash will be used to ”fuel rapid expansion and push Zest to the forefront of the rapidly expanding clean energy segment,” said CEO James Fayal, a University of Maryland graduate who founded Zest Tea in 2014. The company sells bagged teas and canned iced tea energy drinks that contain three times the caffeine of traditional teas – comparable to coffee. The products are available in nearly 2,000 locations in the U.S., including Harris Teeter, Safeway, Walmart, and Whole Foods, as well as 7-Eleven stores in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Red Bull Consumer Behavior Study Provides Retailers With Strategic Guidance

Red Bull is sharing the findings of an in-depth consumer behavior study that pulls together a set of need-based segmentations to show how the product’s consumers buy the product. Another goal was to simplify and enhance shopper marketing, according to a marketing manager. The company surveyed 1,996 consumers aged 18-49 who had purchased a qualifying beverage in the previous 24 hours. A significant “intensification opportunity” was found in two: the functional finders – brand-led buyers who often buy small packs – and quick-stop planners, the large segment that buys on the way to work. Using these insights, the company is offering user-friendly guidance to retailers about when and where to emphasize convenience, or where to play the brand. The work forms the strategic backbone of a three- to five-year roadmap for Red Bull’s shopper marketing strategy.

RISE Brewing Takes Its Shelf-Stable Cold Brew Coffees To The Pacific Northwest

New York City-based RISE Brewing Co. is entering the mass channel this April with new distribution at 2,000 Walmart  locations as it seeks to expand geographically as well. The company, whose product line includes nitro cold brew coffees in original black, oat milk latte, and mocha latte, is firmly entrenched in East Coast, Florida, and Northern and Southern California markets, and is now targeting the Pacific Northwest. CEO and co-founder Grant Gyesky has relocated to Bend, Oregon, from New York to focus on driving the brand's presence in the region. The company’s shelf-stable nitro widget can is popular with buyers and distributors trying to avoid the need for refrigeration. It has set up small coffee shop store fronts in New York City and will be opening another brick-and-mortar location as part of its Pacific Northwest expansion.

Spain’s Refix Promises Its Seawater-Based Recovery Waters Get The Job Done

Spanish recovery drinks company Refix claims that its family of waters, made with 20 percent sea water and no added sugar or preservatives, are the best way to recover quickly from an alcoholic hangover. According to the company, seawater has the same mineral salts found in human blood, but in a higher concentration (one-part seawater to four parts spring water). Refix waters replace the mineral salts lost through urination or sweating. The company says its product, which also contains lemon, is beneficial for hydrating after sports, combating dehydration due to gastroenteritis, recovering after spending a hot afternoon outside and, of course, repairing the body after a boozy night out.
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