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Beverage Innovation

Tracking The Drinks Marketplace


Coca-Cola Hopes Organic Light Emitting Diode Labels Get Cheaper To Make

Coca-Cola acknowledges that the Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) label technology it used on the seven hundred 330 ml glass bottles produced last December for the #BeSanta campaign is still a little too expensive to put into widespread production. The labels – created by partner Inuru of Germany – illuminated the Coca-Cola logo when touched. Coca-Cola wants to monitor developments with Inuru’s technology for an important reason: “We are certainly interested in future developments that could drive the cost of this kind of printed electronics down and eventually permit the use of this technology in at least seasonal or promotional mainstream packaging activities,” said Georgi Blaskov of Coca-Cola CEE. Inuru says scaling up production will reduce the price-per-label to pennies.

Data From Coke Freestyle Dispensers Generates Innovation

When 23,000 Sprite fans tweeted about the beauty of mixing Sprite with lemonade, the Sprite team at Coca-Cola took the hint. Now on its way to store shelves in the U.S. is Sprite Lymonade, made with one percent juice. The unique foray outside of traditional sparkling soft drinks is the result of Coca-Cola Freestyle drink dispensers that let fans creatively mix and match beverages and flavors. The dispensers inspired the 2017 launch of Sprite Cherry and Sprite Cherry Zero when data showed that restaurant and retail guests were adding cherry flavor to Sprite. Likewise, Freestyle users were mixing Sprite and lemonade, with similar tasty results. Sprite Lymonade hits shelves in 20-oz. PET bottles, and will be available in Freestyle machines in March in a variety of flavors including peach, strawberry and raspberry, along with zero-calorie versions of Lymonade.

Coke Australia Reaches Goal Of 100% Sustainably Sourced Sugar

As Coca-Cola nears the 2020 target date for achieving its goal of sustainably sourced ingredients worldwide, Coca-Cola Amatil announced a switch to 100 percent sustainably accredited sugar across its Australian beverage portfolio. The company said all sugar is now being sourced from growers who are independently accredited and following sustainable production frameworks. Sugar purchases are now a mix of Bonsucro and Smartcane Best Management Practice (BMP) certified sugar. The decision means Coca-Cola Amatil’s sugar is obtained from farms with frameworks covering, among other things: decreased herbicides and pesticide use per hectare; prohibitions on some herbicide and pesticide use in sugar production; and reduced water use in sugarcane growing and milling;

Will Coca-Cola Go All-In On Its Cold-Pressed Juice Wager?

Suja Life, a San Diego-based maker of cold-pressed juices, has secured about $125 million in venture financing since its founding in 2012. Coca-Cola and Goldman Sachs acquired a 50 percent stake in 2015, and Coke chipped in another $11 million, boosting its ownership to 53 percent. Is Coca-Cola onto something? Apparently: a recent study paid for by Suja found that more than 28 million households are interested in organic cold pressed juices, but don't know where to get any. So far, Suja’s beverages have been purchased by three and a half million families, leaving a fairly large growth potential. Suja is planning for that growth. Two years ago it moved into a $30 million, 100,000-square-foot plant that churns out 500,000 bottles a week of everything from kombucha to potable vinegars to plant-based protein milks – 95 different products in all – sold at Target, Publix Costco, and Whole Foods. Acknowledging that Coca-Cola has proven to be a great partner, CEO Jeff Church is nevertheless cagey about the possibility of a Coke acquisition: “I’m enthusiastic about the options and opportunities that we have with Coke and without Coke.”

Keurig Dr Pepper

Keurig Dr Pepper Says “Pro Forma” Profit Rose 23 Percent In 2018

The merger of Keurig Green Mountain with Dr Pepper Snapple last year has led to a 76 percent increase in 2018 net sales to $7.44 billion. On an adjusted pro forma basis – non-GAAP financial measures that assume the merger occurred in December 2016 – net sales grew 2.3 percent. Net income slid about 31 percent to $589 billion in 2018, a reflection of the unfavorable year-over-year impact of items affecting comparability, partially offset by the impact of the merger. Adjusted pro forma net income advanced 23 percent to $1.45 billion. Sales growth of packaged beverages was flat, despite strong performance of Canada Dry, Dr Pepper and Big Red. Coffee systems sales were down, in part due to a decline in brewing devices. KDP said the dip is a result of an increase in brewer quality that has resulted in consumers keeping their brewers longer. The company expects to deliver net sales growth of about two percent in 2019.


Monster Posts Healthy Revenue, Profit Numbers; Reveals 2019 Innovation Plans

Monster Beverage Corp. posted 4th quarter 2018 net income of $239.1 million – up 25 percent from a year ago – or about $0.43 a share. Net sales increased 14 percent to $924.2 million. The company attributed the revenue and profit increases to new product lines (Caffe Monster and Espresso Monster RTD coffee drinks), flavor additions (Monster Hydro lineup), and brand relaunches (Muscle Monster, Monster Maxx, White Dragon Tea lines). Net income at Monster in the 12 months ended Dec. 31 totaled $993,004,000, or $1.78 per share, up 21 percent from $820,678,000, or $1.45 per share, in the same period a year ago. Net sales increased 13 percent to $3,807,183,000 from $3,369,045,000. Monster’s new product plans in 2019 include: launching Ultra Paradox, Hydro Manic Melon, and Hydro Mean Green; NOS Sonic Sour: and rebranding NOS Rowdy Punch to NOS Power Punch. Reign Total Body Fuel in March will launch six flavors and add Green Tea and Yerba Mate flavors to its Dragon Tea.


Nestlé’s Special.T Joins KusmiTea To Launch Four Tea Blend Capsules

Nestlé tea brand Special.T and KusmiTea of France have partnered to launch a new range of tea capsules comprising four blends of KusmiTea: black tea Anastasia, blend of white and green tea White Anastasia, green tea Imperial Label, and infusion Be cool. The new range of tea capsules will be available on the main digital platforms of special-t.com and kusmitea.com and in KusmiTea boutiques in Europe. Special.T launched its first tea machine in 2010, marketed across Japan and Europe, and sells 40 varieties of tea capsules, filled with tea and herbal infusions from China, India, Japan, Sri Lanka and South Africa. 

Nestlé SA Debuts Flash-Brewed Black And Green Teas

Nestlé SA bottling licensee Brands Within Reach has debuted a line of flash-brewed 17.6 oz. RTD natural black and green teas in four flavors: black tea lemon, black tea peach, green tea raspberry green tea lime and mint. Using an aseptic bottling process that eliminates the need for preservatives or extended heat treatment, the new Nestea flash-brewed products preserve nutrients, according to the company. The 17.6 oz. line is offered in an easy-grip bottle, and uses tea leaves sourced from the high altitude Nilgiri region in India. Tea sources are certified by the Rainforest Alliance. The new Nestea flash-brewed products will be introduced and sampled at Natural Products Expo West.

Other Companies

Lipton Tests Cold Brew Tea Bag Market In U.K.

Attracted by the potential of cold brew teas and coffees, Unilever has launched a range of cold brew tea bags under its Lipton brand in the U.K. The Real Iced Tea range is available in packs of 15 bags retailing at $5.00, in black tea with strawberry & rhubarb, black tea with peach & apricot, green tea with mint, green tea with mango & vanilla and green tea with rose & elderflower flavors. Lipton is supporting the launch with a $2.6 million ad spend running from May to July 2019. A Lipton executive said the move into cold-brew tea “taps into our nation’s love of tea and gives shoppers an all-natural way to enjoy their favorite beverage.”

Lucozade Ribena Sees Potential In “Enhanced Waters” Category In U.K.

Lucozade Ribena Suntory, British maker of soft drinks and energy beverages, is testing the potential of the “enjoyable wellness” trend in the U.K. with the launch a range of “enhanced waters” called Ribena Frusion, available this month in kiwi and blueberry flavors in 420 ml bottles retailing at $1.77 and lemon peel and kiwi flavors in one-liter bottles retailing at $2.63. The launch will be supported by an $8 million campaign beginning in May, including a TV ad targeting 98 percent of the U.K. population, plus out-of-home advertising and a sampling campaign in June. The target market is health-conscious adults looking for “healthier alternatives without compromising on taste.” “Enhanced waters” has experienced 30 percent growth since 2011 and is expected to accelerate to 44 percent by 2022.

Natural Sweeteners Are Replacing Sugar, Artificial Sweeteners In Beverages

American shoppers are overwhelmingly – 73 percent – concerned about food and beverage packaging claims, according to a recent survey. The top claim is low sugar (tied with low sodium), with 35 percent of survey respondents identifying it as significant. The second significant claim is no artificial ingredients Beverage formulators are exploring the use of sugar with other sweetening ingredients or creative combinations of other naturally sweet ingredients, such as steviol glycosides, juices, flavors, and taste modulators. Among the companies and brands experimenting with natural sweeteners are: Blossom Water (Mass.), using natural fruit, flower essences, and stevia; Petal (Chicago) sparkling water, sweetened with organic agave and sugar; Teatulia (Denver) organic Tea Soda, brewed with fruits, herbs, and sugar; and Bitter Love (Maine), whose shelf-stable, RTS beverage is sweetened with fruit juice, and contains a blend of ashwagandha root, gentian, artichoke, and artemisia plant extracts.

Health-Ade Kombucha Expands Product Portfolio

California-based Health-Ade Kombucha will launch six new flavors and new 4-packs of 8 oz. glass bottles. The six additions to Health-Ade’s core 16 oz. glass bottle lineup – cherry berry, grapefruit, tropical punch, passionfruit-tangerine, strawberry-lemonade and peach mango – bring the size of its portfolio to 13 products. Samples were available at Natural Products Expo West recently, and will roll out to retailers across all channels this summer. Health Ade is also expanding its packaging formats. Products are marketed in 16 oz. bottles and 64 oz. growlers, as well as an 8 oz. glass bottle exclusively for on-premise foodservice. This spring, the 8 oz. bottles will be introduced at retail in 4-packs of three different flavors: pink lady apple, ginger lemon and pomegranate.

Bulletproof Coffee Expands Retail Distribution

Bulletproof 360, Inc., makers of Bulletproof Coffee, announced it is expanding distribution further into retail channels, in particular into more than 20,000 new locations. Products ranging from the Apple Pie Collagen Protein Bar to the Brain Octane Oil will be available in Costco, Target, Sam’s Club, Walmart, Publix, HEB, Safeway, QFC, Ralphs, Meijer, Lifetime Fitness, Fred Meyer, and King Soopers. The brand plans an on-shelf strategy in stores that will group its offering of products together, better highlighting the complete Bulletproof system. Bulletproof is also available at Whole Foods, CVS, Wegmans, Sprouts, and Vitamin Shoppe retail locations. The company said it recently began a partnership as the official coffee of the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team.

Tulua Debuts Date Seed Coffee

Calif.-based Tulua is launching MediDate Date Seed Coffee, a naturally prebiotic, caffeine-free beverage brewed from roasted date seeds. The product contains fiber, nutrients, polyphenols, and antioxidants. According to the company, date seed coffee bestrides two categories that have seen “phenomenal growth:” cold-brew coffee and healthy beverages. The MediDate Date Seed Coffee line includes four 10-ounce varieties: original; cardamom; oat milk latte containing oat milk sweetened with low-glycemic date syrup; and 50/50 cold brew combining Original Date Seed Coffee and Seaworth Coffee’s Single Fin Sludge cold brew coffee. Each bottle of MediDate Date Seed Coffee is made with at least 10 date seeds.
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