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Beverage Innovation

Tracking The Drinks Marketplace


Coca-Cola’s “Hyper-Local” Strategy: Less Sugar, More Locally-Sourced Fruit Juices

Coca-Cola India says it plans to reduce sugar content across its beverage portfolio, including sparkling and fruit-based juices, hoping to get sugar levels to zero as soon as possible by using alternative sweeteners. The company also says it wants to strengthen its “hyper-local strategy” by developing drinks made with locally-sourced fruits. CEO T Krishnakumar told reporters at the launch of Minute Maid Color, made with black grape juice, that core products as well as juice drinks made with locally-sourced fruits under the Minute Maid brand continue to grow strongly. For the first nine months of 2018, both segments saw double-digit growth, he said, adding that the company will launch more products made with local fruits “to purely meet the local palate of consumers across the country.” The new sparkling black grape juice variant was designed to appeal specifically to consumers in Tamil Nadu. Other variants use orange, nimbu, guava, mango, mixed fruit, mosambi, litchi, and anar juices.

Other Companies

Apple Blast Flavor Added To Lucozade Energy Line

British beverage firm Lucozade Ribena Suntory has extended its Lucozade Energy range with the introduction of Apple Blast. Originally launched last August, Apple Blast, available in 380 ml and 500 ml bottles, joins Orange and Original variants. Lucozade Energy Apple Blast has so far generated more than $2.6 million in sales for retailers, as 46 percent of U.K. shoppers buy apple-flavored drinks.

Start-Up Launches Bottled Water With “Dark And Edgy” Name Liquid Death

A group of four entrepreneurs has launched still water brand Liquid Death to “completely obliterate bottled water marketing clichés.” Partnered with California incubator and investment firm Science Inc, the company is using more sustainable aluminum cans to package the water sourced from the Austrian Alps because it doesn’t want to use plastic bottles. The company says its branding is deliberately dark and edgy, “making it the antithesis to existing water brands.” The idea behind the branding is to take “the world’s healthiest beverage and make it just as funny as unhealthy brands across the energy drinks, soda, and beer sector.” The brand is launching online on its website and on Amazon, and “in a few cool bars in Los Angeles and Philadelphia.”

Iceland Yogurt Maker Smári Expands Into Protein Beverage Market

Icelandic-style yogurt brand Smári has reformulated a yogurt/coffee meal replacement product it introduced last year and will launch a line of “Icelandic Protein Coffee” drinks in March. The Kaffi drinks, which contain 10 g of protein and between 125-150 mg of caffeine per 8 oz. bottle, are designed to be filling and to provide energy without a crash or “jitters.” Three varieties will be offered: Iced Mocha and New Orleans, both of which contain 8 g of sugar, and a Keto Latte which contains 1 g of sugar with additional sweetness from monk fruit extract. Smári is positioning Kaffi against similar protein coffee brands on the market, including Bulletproof, Picnik, and 1850. The line will retail for $3.99 per bottle.

Expanded Retail Distribution Will Be Key to Success For LIFEAID In 2019

LIFEAID Beverage Company (Santa Cruz, Calif.) says it’s in “an exceptional position” to lead the functional beverage (FitAid, FocusAid, and ImmunityAid) and health and wellness supplements segments now that it has started selling in 400 Walmart stores and in other venues. The company expects the ImmunityAid products to be available in 8,500 retailers nationwide this year, and expects to triple retail distribution of its entire product line to more than 18,000 outlets. At Kroger, for example, availability of LIFEAID beverages will increase from three divisions of the grocery chain to 15 divisions. The company says it expects to have its West Coast DSD network fully in place by the end of 2019, and across the country starting in 2020. According to LIFEAID co-founder Aaron Hinde, “Our 2019 success will be based on adding a strategic mix of retail partners that increases our availability in key markets.”

British Botanical Brewer Fentimans Extends Soft Drink Line

Following the successful 2018 launch of pink rhubarb and oriental yuzu tonic waters, a raspberry-flavored soft drink, and a premium mixer, U.K. botanical brewer Fentimans is adding an apple and blackberry soft drink to its portfolio. The apple and blackberry soft drink will debut in a 275 ml bottle and 750 ml sharing format. The launch will be supported by an outdoor, digital and experiential marketing campaign.

California Brewery High Style Launches Alcohol-Free Brew Spiked With THC

High Style Brewing Company of San Diego has launched an alcohol-free, cannabis-infused beer inspired by pale ale recipes. Craft-brewed Coastal Haze is made with Cascade and Amarilla hops and infused with 10 mg of THC extract, the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. The calorie count is much lower than conventional beer because the alcohol has been removed. The beverage will be available soon in licensed dispensaries across California, and in other legal markets in the future, the company says. Plans are also underway to release a 5 gm THC version of Coastal Haze in the first quarter of this year.
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