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Beverage Innovation

Tracking The Drinks Marketplace


Coca-Cola Liberia To Cease Production Due To Inflation, Cheap Competition

Coca-Cola Liberia is reacting to a “deepening economic situation” – namely, high ongoing inflation – by setting in motion plans to shut down its operations soon for the first time in decades. Inflation has caused the price of soft drinks to quintuple, putting them beyond the reach of average customers. Company management declined to comment on “ongoing restructuring issues.” But sources said the decision to shutter operations is also due to stiff competition from cheaper alternatives. “We are a brand and a quality known around the world, we cannot compete in a market where quality control is not the rule,” a company “insider” said. Coca Cola Liberia employs hundreds of Liberians.[Image Credit: © THE COCA-COLA COMPANY]

Coke Australia Unveils Sugar-Free Powerade Sports Hydration Drink

Coca-Cola Australia is launching a hydration beverage for “active people of all ages” that is formulated with sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium to replace electrolytes lost in sweating. Sugar-free Powerade Active Water also contains B vitamins for energy and natural flavors (peach & apple, mango, and lemon), the company says. The product launch will be supported by an integrated marketing campaign that includes PR, out of home, digital and social media, sampling, and POS. The campaign will also leverage fitness partners and “fitfluencers.” Powerade Active Water is available now in 600 ml bottles.[Image Credit: © The Coca-Cola Company]

Coca-Cola India Beefs Up Financial Staff As It Prepares For New Ventures, Acquisitions

In a move widely interpreted to signal continued expansion beyond sugary sodas into other refreshment categories, Coca-Cola India & South West Asia has appointed Harsh Bhutani  as CFO and Sarvita Sethi as VP for mergers and acquisitions. According to the company, Sethi, who has served in other finance roles within the company, will guide business incubation, new ventures, and M&A in India and South West Asia. Bhutani, head of finance and business services at bottler Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages, has also served in various financial capacities at the company. Coca-Cola India & South West Asia manages the businesses in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Nepal and Bhutan. [Image Credit: © THE COCA-COLA COMPANY]

Other Companies

Getting “High” Without The Alcohol

New York-based beverage start-up Kin Euphorics is trying to develop more health-conscious adult social drinking experiences that exclude alcohol. But the company does not disdain a beverage “buzz,” having concocted a drink that aims to mimic alcohol’s “high” with a combination of adaptogens and nootropics. “Joy, positivity and bliss – that’s what we hope to deliver to you,” said a co-founder. Kin Spritz – available in 8 oz. squat cans via the brand’s online store – is the company’s first RTD beverage made with two ounces of flagship release, High Rhode. Sold mainly on-premise as a mixing option for bartenders, High Rhode is a concentrate that contains adaptogens (rhodiola), nootropics (GABA, tyrosine, 5-HTP, citicoline), and botanics (hibiscus, gentian root, licorice) to create a “euphoric” feeling. Each can contains 50 mg of caffeine, 25 calories, and five grams of sugar per 8 oz. serving.[Image Credit: © KIN EUPHORICS]

New England’s King’s Brew Expands Product Offerings

New England cold brew coffee maker King’s Brew is revamping its product line, adding new flavors, a new pack size, and a new design to expand its “customer experience and retail footprint.” King’s Brew built its specialty coffee business mainly on sales of its whole bean blends, but last year introduced an RTD nitrogen-infused, unflavored cold brew at 38 Whole Foods stores. King’s Brew is now available at more than 100 retailers in the region, but executives said the product’s growth was limited by a lack of variety among other factors. New SKUs include Bourbon & Butter, Decaf Cappuccino, and the “function-forward Mushroom Mocha, made with Chaga and Lion’s Mane extract.” Each of the new flavors contains one gram of organic cane sugar, five calories and 188 mg of caffeine per 7.5 oz can, priced from $2.99 to $3.49 each.[Image Credit: © PR Newswire Association LLC/King's Row Coffee]

LaCroix Natural Ingredients Dispute Rages On

The attorneys representing a woman who alleges that LaCroix sparkling waters are made with synthetic compounds say that National Beverage Company should be compelled by the court to “respond to discovery requests regarding the ingredients that makeup LaCroix water.” The attorneys say the sensitive “trade secret” information provided under a court-proposed protective order would be seen only by attorneys, National Beverage has said that if the compounds in question –  ethyl butanoate, limonene, linalool, and linalool propionate, among others – are found in LaCroix sparkling water, “they are found in their natural form.” The company called the plaintiff’s allegations ”false and defamatory” and insisted that “there are no ...  artificial ingredients contained in, nor added to, those extracted flavors” found in the products.[Image Credit: © LaCroix Beverages, Inc.]

Canadian Cannabis Investor SOL Global Acquires 25 Percent Stake In Jones Soda

A portfolio company of Toronto-based cannabis investment firm SOL Global Investments has acquired 15 million shares of Jones Soda Co. (Seattle, Wash.) for $9 million. The transaction boosts HeavenlyRx’s ownership stake in the soda maker to 25 percent. HeavenlyRx was also given a warrant to acquire an additional 15 million shares at an exercise price of $0.78 per share, which would give it an additional 20 percent stake in the company. Jones Soda, which markets and distributes beverages under the Jones Soda and Lemoncocco brands, said it plans to use the capital to “further grow and enhance its existing beverage portfolio, along with pursuing the development of new extensions to Jones products, including the potential commercialization of CBD-infused beverages.[Image Credit: © JONES SODA CO.]

Georgian Rosehip Beverage Exporter Nadi Makes Headway In The U.S.

Organic and natural rosehip drink producer Nadi, founded in the former Soviet Socialist Republic of Georgia, is taking a new strategic approach to its flagship line, adding two new flavors, redesigning labels with original paintings by a Georgian artist, and expanding distribution in the U.S. The new flavor blends – wild rosehip pomegranate, and wild rosehip grape – have the same C and B complex vitamins, antioxidants, polyphenols and other nutrients of the original rosehip variant. The products will be available in a larger one-liter bottle, as well as in the original single-serving, 100-calorie 10-ounce bottles. Nadi drinks are certified organic by the USDA, and contain no added sugars or artificial ingredients. The drinks are sold mainly on the East Coast, including in Fresh Market stores, and stores in Florida, South Carolina, Georgia (Atlanta) and in Massachusetts.[Image Credit: © Drinknadi]

Is Sparkling Water Brand Identity A Myth?

Sparkling water – a term that comprises club soda and seltzer products – is still a small market in the U.S.: $1.7 billion in sales compared with $15 billion for carbonated soft drinks. But it has been a fast-growing market: double-digit rates compared to one percent for soft drinks. Both independent start-up brands and Big Soda (PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, etc.) brands have proliferated, but with a surprising result. Despite efforts to hone brand identity, consumers may not be all that brand loyal, or even brand conscious. A nonscientific survey of avowed sparkling water fans found that consumers seem to buy whatever is closest or on sale at the supermarket. “I kind of just drink whatever is put in front of me,” said an editor at Bon Appétit who in 2015 taste-tested and rated 17 types of sparkling water for the website Food52. “What I learned was that I couldn’t really distinguish between brands.”[Image Credit: © Manfred Richter from Pixabay.com]

Stonyfield Organic Debuts Fruit/Vegetable Smoothie Pouches

Organic yogurt maker Stonyfield Organic (Londonderry, N.H.) has introduced clean label, dairy-free Fruit & Veggie Smoothie Pouches made with 100 percent real fruit and vegetables. Containing only six “simple” ingredients and no added sugar, the new smoothie pouches are available nationally at Whole Foods Market. A recent survey conducted by Stonyfield Organic among a thousand children ages 5-11 and their parents found that kids want snacks that taste great, while parents want snacks that are healthy. The pouches are available in three flavors: Berry Cherry Blast (blueberries, cherries, apples and beets); Tropical Twist (mangoes, bananas, pears and carrots); and Strawbana Smash (strawberries, bananas, pears and sweet potatoes).[Image Credit: © Stonyfield Farm, Inc./PR Newswire Association LLC]

Esport Beverage G Fuel Now Available In 16-Ounce RTD Cans

Esports beverage maker Gamma Labs has made its powdered G Fuel energy drink available for the first time in RTD 16-ounce cans and four flavors: FaZeberry (developed professional esports organization FaZe Clan), Blue Ice, Sour Cherry, and Rainbow Sherbet.  Each zero-calorie, sugar-free can contains 300 milligrams of organic caffeine; the S7 blend of plant-based ingredients that increase nitric oxide); assorted vitamins; pure L-theanine; goBHB, a ready-to-use ketone body; and the amino acid L-tyrosine. RTD G Fuel in 16-ounce cans is available in 4-packs and 12-packs (single flavor or variety), priced at $10.99 and $31.99 respectively, online.[Image Credit: © G Fuel LLC]

U.K.’s Raylex Brands Acquires Wow Drinks, Producer Of Cold-Pressed Juice

British beverage company Raylex Brands, owner of Simplee Aloe, has bought fellow UK beverage company Wow Drinks for an undisclosed seven-figure sum. Wow Drinks' portfolio comprises cold-pressed juices including a chia-seed beverage, a natural energy drink, and a so-called "nootropic" variant.  The company is also expected to introduce a CBD (cannabidiol)-infused juice, whose debut has been delayed because of new requirements for CBD drinks by the European Food Standards Agency. Ralex already produces the Drink 420 CBD-infused range. London-based Wow Drinks was launched in 2015 by Oliver Dickenson. [Image Credit: © WOW Food and Drinks Ltd]

Market Research Shows Global Growth Pattern For Hemp Milk

India-based market research company Arizton says that the global hemp milk market could reach a value of $454 million within five years – a CAGR of 16 percent through 2024. The is due to the increasingly health-conscious population, rising demand for organic food and beverages, and a growing awareness of fitness. Another key factor is the large world population with lactose intolerance (a major driver for non-dairy milk products generally). Global hemp milk manufacturers are introducing flavored low-calorie hemp milk that is rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids but with low-fat content.  The Arizton report is available through ReportLinker.[Image Credit: © ID 1195798 from Pixabay.com]

Fitness Drink Company Celsius Sees Progress In Distribution Expansion

Boca Raton, Fla.-based Celsius Holdings, maker of fitness drink Celsius, says it is making significant progress in expanding its national distribution network. Distributors now include more than 50 regional direct store delivery (DSD) partners, including some premier beverage distributors. Retailers on board include Target, CVS, Rite-Aid, Food Lion, 7-Eleven and others. The product has seen significant expansion within the independent Anheuser-Busch wholesaler network, increasing from six distribution agreements to 23 since February. The company has also expanded within the Miller Coors-, Pepsi- and Keurig Dr Pepper-affiliated wholesalers and among independent distributors such as Big Geyser. Celsius now has approximately 1,500 wholesaler representatives selling the product in the U.S.[Image Credit: © Celsius]
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