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Beverage Innovation

Tracking The Drinks Marketplace


Study Finds Coca-Cola Not As “Hands Off” In Its Science Funding As It Says

A study published in a health policy journal reports that Coca-Cola-funded researchers are required to give the company an early look at findings that may put Coke’s beverages in an unfavorable light. The British study, which examined 87,000 documents, revealed a contract mechanism that allows Coca-Cola to "quash" findings from some of the health research it funds at public universities in the U.S. and Canada. It has the right to suppress "critical health information," and may have done so already, according to the study's authors. Clauses in the documents they studied belie Coca-Cola's stated commitments to transparent and "unrestricted" support for science, the authors say. The company says scientists it supports retain full control over their research and the company has no right to prevent publication of results. But the contracts obtained through FOIA requests from several U.S. universities show that while Coca-Cola does not control day-to-day conduct, it retains various rights throughout the process, including the right to terminate studies early without reason. Coca-Cola supports research in nutrition, physical inactivity, and energy balance.

CCHBC Subsidiary Valser Continues Experiment With Captured CO2

Coca-Cola HBC Switzerland (CCHBC) subsidiary Valser is pursuing a pilot project (CAPDrinks) in the municipality of Hinwil whose goal is to establish a viable market for water bottled with food-grade carbon dioxide (CO2) pulled directly from the air. Eurostars, a joint EUREKA and European Commission program, has ponied up $1.32 million to fund the experiment. Valser would be the first proof of the marketability of captured CO2 in the private sector. Carbonated beverages have long used the CO2 byproduct from power plants, but Climeworks and Pentair Union Engineering hope that the technology can offer a compelling emissions reduction (drawdown) story using byproduct thermal energy and renewable energy. Valser already has received its first delivery of CO2 from Climeworks, and the supply will increase continuously, the company said.

Keurig Dr Pepper

KDP First Quarter Results Healthy, But “Mixed,” After Merger

Eight months after completion of the merger between Keurig Green Mountain and Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Keurig Dr Pepper (KDP) reports a doubling of net sales over a year ago, soaring from $948 million to around $2.5 billion. The company remains on track to meet long-term growth targets despite problems in packaged beverages, which saw a 1.4 percent increase in underlying sales but a 5.3 percent drop in net sales. Other segments – beverage concentrates, Latin American beverage and coffee systems – registered increases in underlying net sales. CEO Bob Gamgort said to look for three new Snapple lemonade flavors and a limited-edition Dr Pepper SKU this summer tied to July’s big screen Spider-Man sequel. The company’s game plan for packaged beverages will involve improvements to its national DSD network and attacking categories from multiple angles, according to Gamgort. A Wells Fargo Securities analyst said results were “mixed” – underlying net sales growth was “muted” – but the full year guidance is mostly the same. 


Bang, Monster Win Partial Victories In European Lawsuit

Monster Beverage Corp. has received a partial judgment in a complaint against Bang B.V., which markets and sells VPX’s Bang energy drink in Holland. The District Court of Amsterdam ordered Bang Energy drinks to remove their products from stores in Europe and stop selling the products until they switch out cans labeled with a suspect ingredient. Bang was accused of marketing drinks containing the ingredient L-arginine, which is believed to improve blood flow in the arteries of the heart. But the court argued a consumer would have to drink more than 200 cans a day for 45 days to receive any significant benefits from the ingredient. Bang will be allowed to resume selling the drinks in Europe after the labeling is changed. The ruling came after rival energy drink company Monster filed a federal lawsuit against Bang in California, which alleges Bang engages in extensive forms of misconduct. But Bang also claimed some victory in the case, arguing that “Monster completely failed to show any reason why it should be able to invoke Dutch regulatory authority for its private ends.” Finding that Monster is “to be deemed the party largely found to be in the wrong against VPX, Bang B.V. and [CEO Jack] Owoc,” the court ordered Monster to pay Bang’s court costs and attorneys’ fees. The federal lawsuit in the U.S. between Monster and Bang is ongoing.

Nongfu Spring

Legal Challenges Have Not Impeded Nongfu Spring’s NZ Water Bottling Plans – So Far

New Zealand’s Environment Court and High Court continue to tackle complicated water bottling issues, including the allegation that lax environmental regulation encourages companies such as Nongfu Spring to set up in New Zealand with few barriers. The New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) has courted the company for several years as an economic development strategy in the face of multiple legal challenges over environmental and other concerns. The Chinese beverage giant, second only to Nestlé in the global production of bottled water, has negotiated with New Zealand government officials, including local Maori elders, over the building of a water bottling plant in the Eastern Bay of Plenty. Nongfu’s Shanshan Zhong told the elders of a local tribe his company would be good for the community, and local people would be offered jobs first. It would be the company’s first bottling plant outside of China. Nongfu Spring intends to bottle 580 million liters per year using two state-of-the-art, high speed bottling lines. Almost all of the bottled water would be shipped to China for distribution. 

Other Companies

New Technology Speeds Kombucha Fermentation Time, Keeps Alcohol Levels Legal

Texas-based artisan kombucha maker Bare Bucha and Stout Tanks & Kettles of Portland, Ore., have partnered to create a technology that will not only cut fermentation time in half, but also keep alcohol levels below the 0.5 percent ABV legal threshold without pasteurization, dilution, or microfiltration. Executives of the two companies presented the new kombucha fermentation system, called Symbiosis, at Kombucha Brewer International (KBI) KombuchaKon in Calif. last month. In contrast to industry standard cylindrical tanks, Symbiosis uses rectangular pans that are stacked vertically on a stainless steel rack, a system that allows the liquid to ferment faster while producing less alcohol. The tanks are also designed to be scalable for large breweries.

Ayurveda-Inspired Béla Wellness Drink Soon Available At Life Time Resorts

Atlanta-based wellness beverage Béla, inspired by India’s ayurvedic holistic healing system will be available soon at LifeCafe fast casual restaurants in Life Time’s athletic resort destinations nationwide.  Béla combines ancient ingredients like turmeric, tulsi, ginger, and amla with minerals and vitamins in zero-sugar, zero-calorie blends. The company says the drink supports immunity, promotes calming, and supports optimal hydration. Launched in 2018, Béla Harmony featured a blend of herbs and minerals in two flavors, elegant tropical and plain unsweetened. Béla was sold at more than 50 retail locations around Atlanta in less a year, embraced by Atlanta’s yoga and wellness community. Béla plans to launch a multi-faceted marketing campaign through 2019 to support the launch at Life Time.

Gas-Treated Water Awarded U.S. Patent

Sarasota, Fla.-based WIT International, developer of a technology that infuses dioxytetrahydride gas into ultra-pure water, was awarded a U.S. patent based on medical lab and university research findings. According to inventor and CEO Rob Gourley, the gas is used to treat Polarized Water, which “stabilizes and emulsifies peroxides, chlorides, alcohols and oils … for years.” A license for its use was first issued to  sister company AquaNew, manufacturer of bottled Polarized Water under the brand name of Watt-Ahh. According to Gourley, sales of the water have more than doubled this year. "Watt-Ahh is stable crystalline-like water that delivers active hydrogen and oxygen to the body even when customers enjoy sipping out of an uncapped bottle over a span of several days," Gourley said. Other licensed applications for the WIT Technology include eye solutions, cooling towers, sanitizers, “greener” cleansers, healthier functional beverages, and even nano-dosage delivery systems. 

Bos Sparkling Tea Collection Debuts Online And At West Coast Retailers

Boulder, Colo.-based Bos has launched the Sparkling Unsweetened Iced Tea collection in three flavors:  blueberry and jasmine, white peach and elderflower, and pineapple and coconut. The teas also contain rooibos, a South African “superfood” rich in antioxidants, and a dash of natural fruit and botanical flavor. The teas contain no sugar, sweeteners, calories, or caffeine. Each can contains the equivalent of at least four cups of rooibos, with antioxidants and polyphenols. The new collection is USDA Certified Organic, non-GMO Project Verified, and vegan-friendly. The products are available on the company’s website, on Amazon and at West Coast retailers. SRP is $1.99 per can or $22.49 for a 12-pack.

Russian Mineral Water Company Senezhskaya Debuts Two Flavors In Slim Aluminum Cans

Russian mineral water brand Senezhskaya consumers between the ages of 20 and 45 with the launch of lemon and mint-raspberry-flavored water in slim aluminum cans made by Ball Corporation. The company chose 25 cl slim cans in a move away from PET packaging to cans or glass for its entire beverage portfolio. Ball’s Naro-Fominsk plant in Russia will make the cans, which have also been used to create an on-shelf appeal.ording to the company, Senezhskaya water is sourced from a glacial spring estimated to be 145 million years old. Unlike standard PET packaging and glass, the aluminum can is both air- and water-tight, the company said, keeping the product carbonized longer, protecting the beverage against sunlight, staying cooler longer, andpreserving the fresh taste.

Lifeaid Adds New Variants To Its Recovery Beverage Portfolio

Calif.-based Lifeaid Beverage Company is launching two products based on recovery brands Fitaid & Fitaid Rx. Fitaid Zero and Fitaid Rx Zero are both zero sugar products containing branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), turmeric, 45 mg of natural caffeine from green tea, and glucosamine, glutamine, arginine, B-complex, vitamins C & D, omega-3s & CoQ10. Targeted at gym rats and other workout and fitness fans, the new drinks will sell for $59.76 for a 24-can case, and at select retailers and gyms for $2.99 per 12-oz. can.

Volvic Debuts Sparkling Beverage Line L’mon

U.K.’s bottled water brand Volvic will unveil this month what it calls its “biggest and most exciting innovation to date:” L’mon, a new range of zesty, sparkling drinks combining at least 25 percent real fruit juice and British spring water. Three citrus combinations – lemon & orange, lemon & lime and lemon & grapefruit –will be sold in 330 ml cans from the end of May in the U.K. and Ireland. Recipes use only naturally sourced ingredients, with no added sugar and no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. The launch will be supported by a roughly $2 million marketing campaign beginning at the end of July, featuring out-of-home advertising, social media and influencer activity, and mass sampling.
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