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Beverage Innovation

Tracking The Drinks Marketplace


Coca-Cola Ups Stake In Kombucha Maker Health-Ade

Coca-Cola in early May paid $20 million for an undisclosed equity stake in Los Angeles-based kombucha maker Health-Ade, sources told business intelligence publication Mergermarket. Coke first invested in Health-Ade in 2014 through First Beverage Ventures, a limited partner of the soda giant’s Venturing & Emerging Brands (VEB) unit. It was also reported that in late 2018 the company retained investment banker Piper Jaffray to help advise on information it had received from strategics and private equity firms. In a statement, Health-Ade CEO Daina Trout said: “I knew we needed the right investor to support Health-Ade’s growth, and we found that partner in Coca-Cola’s Venturing & Emerging Brands.”[Image Credit: © Health-Ade, LLC]

Coca-Cola HBC To Launch Costa Coffee In 10 Of Its 28 European Markets

Coca‑Cola Hellenic Bottling Company (HBC) in 2020 plans to launch Costa Coffee in Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russia and Switzerland, a total of at least 10 of its 28 markets. Acquired in January 2019 in a deal worth £3.9 billion, Costa Coffee is the leading coffee company in the United Kingdom and has a strong presence in Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa. Coke is accelerating the business, expanding in vending and RTD products.  The launch of Costa Coffee in ten of its markets is part of its 24/7 beverage partner vision to address a broad range of consumer and customer needs across multiple channels.[Image Credit: © THE COCA-COLA COMPANY]

Coca-Cola Bottler In Arizona Expands Capacity To Handle New Business

Utah-based Swire Coca-Cola, a bottler and distributor of Coca-Cola and other beverages, is planning to double its Glendale, Ariz., sales and distribution center to 300,000 square feet by early 2020 to handle new business. Swire operates in 13 western states and has 11 facilities in Arizona with more than 2,000 employees. Swire in March started bottling Monster Energy, a move that put pressure on the company to expand its bottling capacity. The Glendale facility also produces coconut water and aloe water and is launching Topo Chico mineral water imported from Mexico. [Image Credit: © Swire Coca-Cola USA / The Coca-Cola Company]

Wis. Dairy Co-op To Compete With Coke’s Fairlife In Ultrafiltered Milk Market

At a time when dairy companies are trying hard to boost sales in the face of growing competition from plant-based “milks,” Organic Valley, a Wisconsin-based dairy farm co-operative, is introducing in October four variants of organic, ultrafiltered milk under the “Ultra” brand that will be available soon in stores nationwide. Ultrafiltering runs USDA-certified organic milk through a filter that strains out lactose and reduces many of the milk's naturally occurring sugars. A lactase enzyme is then added to make the product lactose-free. The process concentrates the milk, resulting in a denser protein ratio. One ultrafiltered milk dominates the space: Fairlife, made by Coca-Cola. Ultra comes in half-gallon options of whole, two percent, two percent chocolate, and skim. [Image Credit: © Organic Valley]

Coke Turns In Strong 2nd Q Financials, Paints Rosier Growth Picture

Coca-Cola reported healthy second-quarter 2019 results, as earnings and sales beat Wall Street estimates. Shares were up five percent in morning trading after the company raised its revenue forecast; Coke now expects organic revenue growth of five percent rather than four percent. Second-quarter earnings of 63 cents a share beat the Zacks consensus of 62 cents. The bottom line also improved four percent from the year-ago period, driven by a focus on consumer-centric innovation, solid core brand performance, and improved execution in the marketplace. Currency translations negatively impacted earnings by nine percent. Revenues of $9.997 billion also surpassed consensus estimates and increased six percent year over year. Organic revenues grew six percent. The company raised its revenue forecast, after noting that concerns about economic uncertainty had faded. “We saw some clouds on the horizon, too,” CEO James Quincey said. “But the storm never arrived, so by sticking to our plan, by executing against our strategy, we’ve been able to deliver stronger momentum than even we were expecting.”[Image Credit: © THE COCA-COLA COMPANY]

Coca-Cola To Officially Launch Hard Seltzer In Japan In October

Coca-Cola will officially launch the Lemon-do alcoholic soft drink in Japan in October. The lemon-flavored hard seltzer – modeled after the Japanese drink "chu-hi" – debuted in May 2018 on Kyushu island, in three varieties ranging from three percent to seven percent alcohol. Chu-hi is a popular canned drink made with a distilled alcohol called shochu, carbonated water and flavoring. Though the company has high hopes for Lemon-do success in Japan, it has no plans to market it outside of the country at this time. "I don't think people around the world should expect to see this kind of thing from Coca-Cola," a spokesman said. CNN reported that the company expects to launch caffeinated Coca-Cola With Coffee in 25 international markets by the end of 2019, and in the U.S. in 2020.[Image Credit: © COCA-COLA(JAPAN)COMPANY,LIMITED]


Nestlé, Starbucks Launch Refrigerated Creamer Line For Home Use

Starbucks has entered the consumer refrigerated creamer market with the help of Nestlé. The two have launched Starbucks Creamers, available for home use in caramel, white chocolate and cinnamon dolce flavors inspired by Starbucks café beverages Caramel Macchiato, White Chocolate Mocha and Cinnamon Dolce Latte. The products will appear on grocery shelves and online in the U.S. beginning this August.[Image Credit: © Nestlé]

Other Companies

Bottled Water Company Niagara Continues Expansion Of Production Capacity

U.S. bottled water producer Niagara Bottling (Ontario, Calif.), which produces still, sparkling and flavored water, tea and isotonics, says it will invest $68 million to build a 420,000-square-foot plant in Kansas City, Mo., just months after the company said it would spend $90 million on a new bottling facility in Temple, Texas. The new Missouri facility should be operational in early 2020. In 2017, the firm spent $76 million to build a production facility in Mesa, Ariz., and acquired a manufacturing site in Lock Haven, Pa., as part of its acquisition of First Quality’s bottled water business.[Image Credit: © Niagara Bottling, LLC]

Unilever Beverage Start-Up B-Better Launches Water Products In Eco-Friendly Packaging

U.K.-based B-Better, a start-up brand from Unilever, is launching a range of water beverages in aseptic packager SIG’s combidome cartons made from FSC-certified paper board. Combidome Signature packaging material’s polymers are linked to wood-based renewable materials through mass balancing. The 750 ml packages also use an ultra-thin aluminum foil certified to Aluminum Stewardship Initiative (ASI) standard. The new water beverages include ten variants: still, flavored and functional, enriched with B vitamins. The initial launch will be in Belgium, with one percent of revenues going toward regional environmental causes. [Image Credit: © Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay]

Starbucks Competitor In China Takes Market Battle To Middle East, India

Flush with cash after raising $645 million through a U.S. IPO in May, Chinese coffee company Luckin Coffee is partnering with Kuwait-based Americana Group, which runs 1,900 franchises across the Middle East for several fast food brands, to set up a coffee retail business in the Middle East and India. Luckin and Americana signed a memorandum of understanding in Beijing; they will run the new coffee business as a joint venture. Luckin Coffee is a major competitor of Starbucks in China, opening thousands of stores in the past two years and relying on technology for orders, deliveries and payments to give it an edge. The company has about 3,000 stores in 40 Chinese cities and plans to increase that number to 4,500 by the end of this year. Starbucks has a little under 3,800 stores in China. Starbucks has 202 stores in Dubai, 191 in Saudi Arabia, and 151 in Kuwait, as well as 146 stores in India, where it has partnered with conglomerate Tata.[Image Credit: © www.luckincoffee.com]

British Government To Ban Sale Of Energy Drinks To Kids Under 16

The British government plans to bar children under 16 years of age from purchasing highly-caffeinated energy drinks. The plans were outlined in a “surprise” policy “green paper” unveiled by the government’s health secretary. According to the paper, “Although diet versions are available, regular energy drinks on average contain more calories and sugar than other regular soft drinks.” The government also plans to extend the Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL) to include “sugary” milk-based drinks, an announcement that came despite opposition of new Prime Minister Boris Johnson to so-called “sin taxes.” A representative of the British Soft Drinks Association said the organization has “consistently supported” the ban on the retail sale of energy drinks to under-16s by retailers.[Image Credit: © Herbich from Pixabay]

U.K.’s Fentimans Reformulates Three Botanicals Drinks Flavors With Less Sugar

In a nod to the growing trend toward lower-calorie beverages, British botanicals drinks maker Fentimans has reformulated three of its top-selling flavors – rose lemonade, gently sparkling elderflower, and sparkling raspberry – with less sugar and fewer calories. The line is made using the same 100-year-old brewing method that ferments milled ginger root and botanicals for seven days. The new recipe for the Fentimans light range contains no artificial sweeteners. Each 250 ml bottle – launched in both single and four-pack formats – contains less than 60 calories, with sugar reduced to 4.8 g per 100ml. [Image Credit: © Fentimans]


Coca-Cola Joins PepsiCo And Other Companies In Dropping Out Of Plastics Lobbying Group

CNBC reports that both Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, faced with strong consumer pressure over plastic pollution, are cutting ties this year with the Plastics Industry Association, which has lobbied for states to prohibit plastic bans across the country. Other companies that have terminated their memberships in the organization that represents plastic manufacturers include Clorox, Becton Dickinson, and Ecolab.  “We withdrew earlier this year as a result of positions the organization was taking that were not fully consistent with our commitments and goals,” a Coca-Cola spokesperson told CNBC. Nevertheless, CNBC reports, the same companies for years have fought against legislation known as “bottle bills,” which require deposits to be paid on beverages sold in recyclable bottles and cans.[Image Credit: © Emilian Robert Vicol from Pixabay]
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