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Beverage Innovation

Tracking The Drinks Marketplace


Coca-Cola Ramps Up European Ad Campaign For Coke Energy

British Coke marketers are looking for a little help from fans of new Coca-Cola Energy after launching an energy version of its staple cola drink comprising caffeine, guarana extracts, B vitamins and no taurine. An Ogilvy-led multi-million-pound marketing campaign kicked off recently with a flash mob in London’s Piccadilly Circus involving dancers engaged in an energetic routine while offering free samples to surprised passers-by. Coca-Cola has partnered with Spotify, which is streaming an “energy-boosted” playlist of songs as part of the campaign. The British segment, which asks fans to spread the word about Coca-Cola Energy, is part of a wider pan-European ad campaign being rolled out across Europe this month.

Coca-Cola Plus Coffee: Arriving In The U.S. Next Year?

Since 2017, Coca-Cola has been releasing, country by country, a successor to its 2006 coffee-Coke combo, Coca-Cola Blak, a coffee-flavored version of Coca-Cola that flopped because it was “before its time,” according to company execs. But times have changed, Coca-Cola Plus Coffee or Coca-Cola With Coffee, still not available in the U.S., contains more real coffee than Blak did, and more caffeine than regular Coke. The company is pleased with its reception so far in Australia, Spain, Thailand, and Poland, among other countries. It will be available in 25 international markets by the end of the year. But stateside? The company plans to debut Coca-Cola Plus (or With) Coffee in the U.S. at some point, perhaps in 2020, and says it’s "optimistic about the potential for the beverage" here. "I believe that there's going to be a space for a Coca-Cola With Coffee" in the United States, Coca-Cola's global chief marketing officer of sparkling beverages said.

Coke Contest Urges Consumers To Submit Favorite Freestyle Flavor Combos

Coca-Cola is asking customers who patronize its Freestyle beverage vending machines to tell the company about their favorite flavor concoction. If the company likes what their recipe, they could win $10,000. The “Make Your Mix” requires entrants to submit a post on Twitter or Instagram, using the contest hashtag, along with a photo and description of the favorite drink by the end of June. According to the company, the contest was conceived it realized that people already concoct their favorite drinks and share them on social media. Freestyle machines have more than 100 drink options, and since 2009 have created 200 drink combinations.

New Clear Lime Coke Debuts In Japan At The Same Time As The Emperor Naruhito Era

Coca-Cola in Japan is launching a lime-flavored clear Coke with the help of a special Reiwa parody commercial and Japanese actress, singer, and model Haruka Ayase, who first started out as a gravure idol (magazine model) in 2000. She has since appeared in a number of ads for Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola Clear Lime is introduced in a special Reiwa (Emperor Naruhoto era) parody commercial styled to look like the official Reiwa announcement made by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga at a press conference in April. In the parody, the sign announcing the new era – Reiwa means “beautiful harmony” – showed characters for “clear” and “lime,” also signifying “Beautiful Harmony”. Coca-Cola Clear Lime will be available in Japan beginning 10 June at a retail price of $1.29.


Volvic Natural Mineral Waters With Coffee, Fruit Flavors Unveiled By Danone Germany

Danone Germany is launching a “sensational alternative to iced tea:” a Volvic Coffee line of natural mineral waters infused with coffee and fruit flavors. The new range is available in mocha & lemon, robusta & blackcurrant, and arabica & passion fruit lychee flavors. They contain no artificial preservatives, artificial flavors or sweeteners and contain 25 calories per 250 ml serving. The beverages are packaged in reusable PET bottles and are available in 370 ml ($1.11) and 750 ml ($1.90) sizes.

Nongfu Spring

Nongfu Spring Introduces Sparkling Coffee Beverage In China

China’s Nongfu Spring is going head-to-head with Coca-Cola with an RTD bottled sparkling coffee beverage in the country. The mineral water company’s carbonated coffee product will be first sold in the 1st and 2nd tier cities in China, with e-commerce, schools, and new retail as the main sales channels. The retail price of the RTD carbonated coffee is set at $0.70 to $0.90 a bottle. Two years in development, the new product is made with coffee beans sourced from Ethiopia and Brazil. Coca-Cola announced earlier this year that it was planning to launch Coca-Cola Coffee in 25 markets, including China, by the end of this year. Coca-Cola’s coffee unit Costa has been operating in China since 2007. Instant coffee remains the most commonly consumed format in China, with more than 70 percent of the market share, followed by coffee beans, coffee capsules, and RTD coffee.

Other Companies

Oatly Battles Low Awareness Of Nondairy Milk As It Prepares To Enter Chinese Market

Swedish oat drink manufacturer Oatly hopes to build a foothold in the Chinese beverage market, where studies show most Chinese consumers are at least a little lactose intolerant. There are no official statistics, but research has shown that lactose intolerance affects around 30 percent of Chinese children, and 92 percent of adults. The brand launched in Hong Kong in 2016, where it is sold in supermarkets, Starbucks, Pacific Coffee outlets, and independent cafes. It has opened an office in China to prepare for a launch there. The Chinese government strongly supports the dairy industry and encourages milk production, but dairy alternatives have been growing. Oatly wants to make a splash in the nondairy milk category, but first has to tackle its branding and the low awareness of dairy alternatives. Ninety-six percent of consumers in Hong Kong, for example, only think of cow's milk when they see the Chinese character for milk. Only two percent think of plant-based milk.

Look For “Water Lentil Milk” At A Store Near You, If Company’s Plans Bear Fruit

Florida-based Parabel USA has developed a patent-pending milk that uses the protein-rich water lentil, a free-floating seed-producing micro aquatic plant. The company secured a “no objections” letter from the FDA affirming the GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status of its water lentil ingredients in 2018. The company says its lentil milk is allergen-free and similar in color to regular milk. It also offers the high-quality protein and mineral benefits of water lentils. The company has heard from potential partners about commercializing the water lentil milk, which is minimally processed and non GMO, “just fresh water lentils, [and] the soluble peptides.” The amino acid profile is similar to that of whey protein, the company says.

Key Beverage Trends To Keep An Eye On

Chicago-based beverage development company Imbibe recently listed several market trends, as well as trending food and drink ingredients, at the National Restaurant Association show. Among the new ingredients in coffee and tea that add unusual flavors and textures are: tamarind, kumquat, caraway seeds and star anise; butterfly pea flower tea with its midnight-blue color; and spirulina, beet and charcoal (natural beverage tints). Other trends on the horizon: functional beverages with ingredients associated with beauty (collagen), digestive health (kombucha and shrubs) and inflammation control (turmeric); mood-improving and mental clarity ingredients such as medicinal mushrooms (reishi, chaga, lion’s mane, and cordyceps) in coffee drinks; sugar reduction across all segments of the beverage market; custom flavors and combinations in seltzers and sparkling waters; and “teetotalism” coupled with the rise in THC-infused drinks.

LaCroix Sales Continue To Slide As Lawsuit Exerts Enduring Effect

Once the darling of seltzer-loving Millennials, LaCroix has been buffeted by the onslaught of sparkling water competitors and continues to suffer. Sales for the flavored carbonated water are "effectively in free fall," wrote a Guggenheim beverage analyst for Guggenheim. Sales slipped more than 15 percent in May after tumbling nearly seen percent in April, five percent in March and six percent in February, according to Guggenheim. In addition to increased competition, there has been a "lack of meaningful or disruptive innovation" from the drink's owner, National Beverage Corporation. The company’s stock price fell 10 percent at the end of May and 62 percent since last September. According to Guggenheim, the company hasn't fully recovered from a class action lawsuit filed in October 2018 about the ingredients in LaCroix, which was a catalyst for LaCroix's sales decline.

New Funding To Power Cusa Tea’s Expanded Distribution, Product Development

Break Trail Ventures and S Cap have led a $2.5 million Series A financing round for Boulder, Colo.-based organic tea company Cusa Tea. The company says it will use the cash influx to expand distribution and fund product development. Several existing and new investors also participated in the round, including Organic X Labs, Smart Capital and Service Provider’s Capital. The investment brings the instant tea maker’s total funding since launching to $3.6 million. Two-year-old Cusa Tea uses organic teas with real fruits and spices that are cold-steeped using the firm’s technology. Flavors include organic English breakfast, organic green tea, organic oolong, mango green, lemon black, chai, and peach green. The company has expanded to more than 1,400 retail locations with partners including Sprouts, REI, King Soopers, Safeway, HEB and Cost Plus World Market.

New Age Beverages Gains Distribution Rights For Nestea, Volvic, In Acquisition

Denver, Colo.-based organic and natural drinks company New Age Beverages Corporation (NBEV) announced it has agrede to acquire Brands Within Reach (Mamaroneck, N.Y.) in a deal that includes the distribution rights to Nestea, Volvic and Evian in the U.S. New Age, whose mission is to become the world's leading healthy beverages and lifestyles company, was founded by former Danone executive Olivier Sonnois in 2003. It owns licensing and distribution rights in the U.S. for Illy coffee, Found sparkling beverages, Kusmi Tea, Saint-Géron sparkling water and select natural and organic snacks such as Nature Addicts, Grand-Mere, Lucien Georgelin, and La Mere Poulard. According to New Age Beverages, the combination of the two companies will bring its revenues to more than $320 million.

World Waters Introduces Electrolyte-Rich Sports Recovery Drink

Denver-based World Waters, the makers of cold-pressed WTRMLN WTR, has added a variant to its lineup of hydration beverages, WTRMLN SportWTR, an electrolyte-rich watermelon water formulated for hydration and workout recovery. The company says the new product dlivers key functional benefits found in watermelons, including electrolytes, vitamin C, L-citrulline and antioxidant lycopene. WTRMLN SportWTR is available in three flavors, including lemon lime, berry blast, and sun drenched citrus, with no artificial sweeteners, colors, and flavors, The beverage is available at retailers in the U.S. in a 16-oz. single serve size and online for $2.99. 
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