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Beverage Innovation

Tracking The Drinks Marketplace


Scientist Claims Newly-Patented Coca Leaf Plant Extract Improves Flavor Of Diet Colas

The scientist who developed and patented “de-cocainized” coca leaf extract says the compound makes diet cola sodas taste better. Filed by Gregory Aharonian, president and chief scientist at KukaXoco, a coca leaf R&D company, the patent describes a method for improving the taste of a diet cola beverage product by adding a de-cocoainized coca leaf plant extract. Aharonian says the technology promises "a revolution in soda beverages that benefits the people of South America, not anonymous multinationals." According to the patent, the liquid or powder extract is effective when combined with a diet cola beverage at a ratio by weight of approximately 22:1 to 44:1. It can also improve the taste of diet cola syrups. Aharonian urged Coca-Cola and PepsiCo “to quickly embrace any new technology that allows them to make better tasting, healthier products, such as KukaXoco’s technology." 

Coca-Cola India Strengthens Its Juice Portfolio With “Apple Sparkle”

Coca-Cola India plans to introduce an apple juice-based sparkling beverage called Minute Maid Apple Sparkle in the summer. According to reports, the company tested as many as 50 prototypes before settling on the new products, which will contain 25 percent juice from Kashmiri apples. The beverage will come in PET bottles with a modern design and snazzy graphics in a 250 ml pack priced at $0.36 and a 600 ml pack priced at $0.58. It will be made available across the country through various channels including ecommerce. A Coca-Cola spokesman said India is one of the fastest growing juice markets in the world. The company has stepped up its focus on juices, exploring options for new launches both nationally and locally.

Coca-Cola’s Vision For New Products In India: Bottled Traditional Local Drinks

As consumption of sugary soft drinks declines, Coca-Cola’s product development strategy in India is to come up with bottled versions of traditional “ethnic drinks” brewed by grandmas in kitchens using local spices and fruits. The trend was launched by a handful of beverage start-ups offering, for example, jaljeera, a cumin-flavored sparkling water, and aam panna, a mix of unripe mangoes and spices. Demand for packaged versions of these drinks has grown 32 percent over the last three years, three times the pace of carbonated beverages like Coke, according to a New Delhi-based consultancy. Coca-Cola may be a little late to the dance, but is launching a carbonated version of jaljeera. Its version of aam panna drink will be on shelves in time for summer, when it’s traditionally consumed. Coca-Cola India CEO T. Krishnakumar says expansion into dairy products like spiced buttermilk and lassi, a yogurt-based drink, is expected in 2020.


Nestlé Waters NA Denies Allegation In Lawsuit That Poland Spring Is “A Colossal Fraud”

A new class action lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in Connecticut late last month alleges Nestlé Waters falsely advertises its Poland Spring Water as 100 percent natural spring water but actually relies on six “phony, man-made ‘springs'” to comply with the law. The plaintiffs first filed this complaint in 2017, but it was dismissed. A New York Times report says the lawsuit claims the popular beverage brand is “a colossal fraud perpetrated against American consumers” because Poland Spring is nothing more than common groundwater disguised as nature’s bounty to “reap massive undue sales.” The suit claims “not one drop” hails from an actual spring. MaIne’s Poland Spring, the plaintiffs say, ran dry nearly 50 years ago. Nestlé Waters NA maintains its product is indeed natural and meets all FDA regulations defining spring water. In a statement, the company said: “We will continue to defend our Poland Spring brand vigorously against this meritless lawsuit.” 

Other Companies

Kirin’s Lion Brand Acquires N.Z. Iced Tea Teza

Hoping to grow its non-alcoholic drinks lineup, Kirin’s Australasian unit Lion has acquired New Zealand brand Teza Iced Teas. Teza will join Lion New Zealand’s Höpt soda and Mac’s soft drinks as part of the non-alcoholic division known as Drinks Collective, which recently began a strategic partnership with flavored sparking water start-up Vista. Teza Iced Tea is made with organic leaf tea, fruit juices and botanicals in flavors such as feijoa and lime blossom, lemon and mandarin, and peach and passionflower.

Non-Alcoholic Mimosa From Welch’s

Concord, Mass.-based Welch’s has developed a Non-Alcoholic Sparkling Mimosa for consumers looking for a brunch beverage to replace the traditional alcoholic mimosa made with orange juice and champagne. Made with U.S.-grown grapes and sweetened with only fruit juice, the 80-calorie beverage contains no alcohol or added sugar. Available in a 24.5 fl-oz. bottle that retails for $3.19, the beverage will be sold exclusively at Target stores and online starting April 7. The trend toward alcohol-free, cocktail-inspired soft drinks continues to gather momentum. Coca-Cola, for example, has launched the Bar Nøne range, which includes Spiced Ginger Mule, Bellini Spritz, Dry Aged Cider and Sangriais.

Lucozade Ribena Suntory Redesigns U.K. Bottles To Further Its Recycling Initiative

Lucozade Ribena Suntory is redesigning its Ribena bottles, starting with the 500 ml size, to ensure all packaging is fully recyclable in the U.K. The company has promised that all of its plastic packaging will be reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2025. Under the redesign, Ribena will reduce the full printed sleeves that cover some of the manufacturer’s bottles. The company recently tested Ooho plastic-free biodegradable packaging to distribute Lucozade Sport at sporting events.[Image Credit: © Lucozade Ribena Suntory]

Vegan Protein Shake Can Be Consumed Hot

Israeli sports nutrition company Matok V’Kal (Caesarea) has introduced a vegan protein shake for sports and exercise enthusiasts that can be consumed hot, thanks to a formulation that prevents the protein from coagulating when heated. The the Fit4style Protein Cup contains 21g of protein and amino acids in a lactose- and soy-free beverage. The product comes in a disposable cup that includes the protein mixture, a stirrer, and a cap. To prepare the drink, consumers just need to remove the aluminum seal, add hot water, and stir. The company in February introduced a mint-flavored, 6-calorie energy spray designed to provide an extra energy kick for consumers during sporting activity. Fit4style spray helps maintain stamina for up to 75 minutes.

Sonic Restaurants To Sell Canned Red Bull Beginning In May

U.S. fast-food restaurant chain Sonic will start selling Red Bull at its more than 3,600 locations next month. Though sales of sugary soft drinks have slid in recent years, energy drinks have prospered. As part of its partnership with Red Bull, Sonic (parent company: Inspire Brands) will also sell caffeinated Cherry Limeade Red Bull Slush. Sonic competitors Carl's Jr. and Hardee's have teamed up with energy drink company Monster. The Red Bull Slush, made by pouring canned Red Bull into cups, will launch nationwide April 29. 

Suntory To Release Another New Version Of Pepsi Cola In Japan

In a bid to revitalize the cola soft drink market in Japan, Suntory Beverage & Food will launch Pepsi Japan Cola containing ingredients such as salt, spices, and Japanese citrus (yuzu). Suntory expects the ingredients to “enhance the original taste of cola” and “provide a Japan-original taste.” The cola will be available in two variants: regular sugar and zero calories. The sugar content in the regular version will be about the same as that in regular Pepsi Cola. The new cola will debut on April 9 throughout Japan, at $1.27 for a 490 ml bottle. Suntory will divulge other packaging and size information on the launch day. The new product is not the same as the Pepsi J-Cola range, released by Suntory exclusively in Japan in 2018, containing a combination of spices and citrus. Suntory acquired the master franchise rights to the Pepsi Cola brand in Japan more than two decades ago.

Oatly Battles Dairy Milk On The Environmental Front

Swedish dairy milk alternative Oatly has begun displaying the climate footprint of its product on all packaging to give consumers more information about the environmental impact. The company claims that its non-dairy beverage contains as much calcium as dairy milk, plus protein, carbs, unsaturated fats and “the beneficial properties of oats” – without the detrimental effects on the climate associated with milk production. The drink's carbon footprint will be presented using a number that defines its climate impact, expressed in carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e). According to the company, swapping one liter of whole cow's milk for the equivalent measure of Oatly saves 1.16 k of CO2, the greenhouse gas equivalent of driving 10 km in an average gasoline-powered car.

FDA Proposes Change To Rule Governing Amount Of Fluoride Added To Bottled Water

The U.S. FDA has proposed a change to federal rules on fluoride levels in bottled water to allow a maximum of 0.7 milligrams per liter. The proposed rule would not affect the allowable levels for fluoride in bottled water to which fluoride is not added by the manufacturer but which may contain fluoride from its source water. The agency says the proposed changed is based on findings from research on optimal concentrations of fluoride that balance the benefits in preventing tooth decay with the risk of causing dental fluorosis (white patches on teeth). An FDA spokesman said most fluoride added to bottled water is already at or below the limit being proposed. But the proposed change, if finalized, would help ensure that bottled water strikes the right fluoride balance. There is a 60-day public comment period for the proposed rule.
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