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Beverage Innovation

Tracking The Drinks Marketplace


Coca-Cola Says Removal Of Controversial Hungarian Music Festival Ads Was Planned

Coca-Cola announced it was replacing controversial gay and lesbian #loveislove poster ads in Hungary after government and public criticism that the ads popularized homosexuality. But the company said it was not backing down from the campaign, only that the campaign was entering its planned second phase. The company said it thought the ads were successful in conveying the values of the Sziget music festival – whose motto is “Love Revolution” – through the posters: “With our campaign, we stand for values and human rights, so in accord with our principles we support acceptance, and the approach that all people are equal.” New ads taking over Budapest after the start of the festival showed rainbow-colored bottles, exclusively available at thefestival.[Image Credit: © Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company]

CCEP Pilot Project Tests Robotic Beverage Delivery Vehicles At U.K Amusement Park

Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) is experimenting with robot vehicles developed by autonomous driving company TeleRetail to deliver drinks to customers at the Alton Towers Resort in Staffordshire, England. Using AI technology created with the support of the European Space Agency, the pilot project vehicles are equipped with GPS technology and laser sight, sound, and motion sensors. They could eventually be scaled up to larger vehicles, the company said. The robotic vehicles collect products from the Alton Towers distribution center and, traveling at three mph, deliver them to drinks outlets across the park, using AI to maneuver around visitors. [Image Credit: © Coca-Cola European Partners]

Coca-Cola HBC Bulgaria Doubles Production Capacity Of Kostinbrod Plant

Coca-Cola HBC Bulgaria is planning to spend $23 million to double the production capacity of a bottling plant in Kostinbrod. The enlarged facility will be able to produce beverages for export to neighboring Romania, Serbia and Greece, as well as other countries in Southeastern Europe. The expansion will increase the company's capacity by an average of 9,000 half-liter bottles per hour. The Bulgarian unit is part of Swiss-based holding company Coca-Cola HBC, which also operates in Croatia, Slovenia, Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, North Macedonia, Serbia, Kosovo, and Montenegro.[Image Credit: © Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company]

Coca-Cola Africa Acquires Majority Stake In Swaziland Bottler

Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA, Johannesburg, S.A.) announced that all necessary regulatory approvals have been obtained to acquire a 60 percent share in the soft drinks business of soda and beer bottler Eswatini (Swaziland) Beverages. The remaining 40 percent ownership will be retained by Tibiyo Taka Ngwane. The bottler will be known as Eswatini Coca-Cola Beverages (ECCB) and will operate as a subsidiary of CCBA, the eighth largest Coca-Cola bottling partner in the world by revenue and the largest in Africa. [Image Credit: © Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa]

Coca-Cola Tests Non-Alcoholic Malt Drinks Market In India

Coca-Cola, which owns a 50 percent stake in Saudi Arabia’s Aujan Industries' beverage division, maker of non-alcoholic malt beverage Barbican, is entering India’s malt drinks market. The company launched a pilot marketing project focusing on youth in the country six months ago. As part of the pilot test, Barbican is imported and available at around 3,000 select outlets in various metropolitan areas. Anheuser-Busch InBev, Heineken, and Kingfisher have also entered this market segment to target the mostly untapped market of non-alcoholic drinkers in India.[Image Credit: © ACCBC]

Coca-Cola Invests In Start-Up, Experiments With Hemp-Infused “Relaxation Drink” In Japan

Coca-Cola Japan has invested in Japanese beverage Start-Up Endian, maker of the hemp-infused drink Chill Out, originally developed by Japanese beauty technology company I-ne. A Coca-Cola representative said the beverage “is purely focused on the Japanese market.” A relaxation drink is basically the opposite of an energy drink, delivering stress relief and respite from an information overload. Chill Out contains hemp seed extract, theanine, vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, D, E, folic acid, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which purportedly has a relaxing effect on the nervous system. It is caffeine-free, and contains sugar derived from fruit juice as well as natural ingredients. The retail price is $1.74) for a 185 ml can, and it is available on several online platforms as well as in selected Natural Lawson stores.[Image Credit: © COCA-COLA BOTTLERS JAPAN INC.]

Other Companies

U.K.’s Earlybirds Beverage Brand Launches Vegan “Snacking Drinks” In Compostable Bottles

U.K. brand Earlybirds has introduced a line of vegan-friendly “snacking drinks” containing fiber but no added sugar. The drinks, available in berry bircher and mango-oats flavors, come packaged in compostable bottles. The compostable bottles are made from sugarcane, while the lid is recyclable. By October, the brand will also add sugarcane lids, meaning the packaging will be 100 percent plant-derived. Both flavors are available in the U.K. for $2.77 a bottle.[Image Credit: © Earlybirds]

Sparkling Water Market Leader National Bev Buffeted By A Slew Of Problems

National Beverage Company CEO Nick Caporella’s prized, market-leading product line – the LaCroix family of flavored sparkling waters – is plagued with difficult problems. A big one is competition from beverage majors like PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, as well as aggressive start-ups. LaCroix’s sales for the four weeks ended July 14 fell more than 15 percent from last year, while top competitor Bubly saw sales surge 96 percent. Legal problems abound, including lawsuits from shareholders, former employees, and disgruntled consumers. Reports of internal strife and personality clashes with top management – including with “hard-driving, idiosyncratic” Caporella – suggest deeper problems. On top of that, LaCroix can’t match the distribution heft of the beverage giants, which limits its marketing reach. A consumer analyst says the company needs to think about how it can “disrupt the market,” perhaps by introducing its own premium sparkling mineral water to compete with Topo Chico and Perrier, or using specialty ingredients such as real fruit juice. According to Bloomberg, the company seems to need “another liquid miracle [that] can’t come soon enough.”[Image Credit: © LaCroix Beverages, Inc. ]

Millions In New Funding Fuel Icelandic Glacial’s U.S. Growth Plans

Icelandic Glacial announced it has raised $66 million to pursue its already successful U.S. growth strategy. After a “huge” distribution expansion, the company’s spring water, sourced and bottled in Iceland, is available in another 8,000 stores in the U.S., including select Walmart, Target, and Kroger stores nationwide. The financing included $35 million from BlackRock’s U.S. private credit team. The brand issued $31 million in new equity to new and existing investors to provide a platform for its growth in the U.S. and other markets. Icelandic Glacial is sourced at Iceland’s Ölfus Spring, whose water “possesses exceptional balance, featuring a naturally low mineral content and a naturally alkaline pH of 8.4.” The brand released three fruit-flavored sparkling waters last year: Tahitian lime, Sicilian lemon, and elderflower.[Image Credit: © https://icelandicglacial.com/]

Caribou Coffee Enters Energy Drink Market With Caffeinated Sparkling Beverages

In a bid to crack the energy drink market, Minnesota-based Caribou Coffee is launching RTD sparkling water and other sparkling beverages made with coffee bean-derived caffeine, ginseng, and guarana extract. Caribou Bou-sted Caffeinated Waters are flavor-infused sparkling waters that “offer consumers a refreshing, low-calorie twist with the addition of caffeine,” the company said. The waters contain five calories or fewer and are available in grapefruit and mixed berry flavors. The other beverages come in dragon fruit and passion fruit orange guava variants. Along with the RTD line, Caribou is launching Caribou Bou-sted Handcrafted Beverages, including flavor-infused sparkling waters, crafted sodas and crafted sparkling juices in such flavors as spicy pineapple and blue cotton candy. The Caribou Bou-sted RTD beverages will be available in all Caribou Coffee company-owned locations beginning this fall.[Image Credit: © Caribou Coffee Company]

Organic Valley Dairy Launches Protein-Rich Milkshakes With Half The Sugar

Dairy cooperative Organic Valley’s Fuel range of high-protein milkshakes – including the new coffee flavor – now contain 50 percent less sugar. The range is available in three variants: chocolate, vanilla and coffee, each with 20 grams of protein and caffeine equivalent to an eight-ounce cup of coffee. The suggested retail price for a single-serve, 11-ounce carton is $2.99, with four- and 12-packs also available for $10.99 and $29.99 respectively. The company recently released Ultra, a line of ultra-filtered organic milk that has 50 percent more organic protein and 50 percent less sugar than regular milk.[Image Credit: © Organic Valley]

Shaq Is New Brand Ambassador For Forto Coffee

Retired NBA star and serial endorser Shaquille O’Neal has added U.S. beverage maker Forto Coffee to the list of products he touts. O’Neal invested $20 million in the company last year, and has now become its brand ambassador. Dyla Brands’ Forto sells a range of RTD coffees and coffee shots in 50,000 retail locations across the U.S. O’Neal will headline the brand’s multi-channel marketing campaign, which launches across TV, out-of-home, in-store, digital and social media in the coming year. O’Neal is also a spokesman/booster for Muscle Milk, Nintendo, Macy's, JC Penney, Comcast, Taco Bell, Nestlé Crunch, Icy Hot, Pepsi, Wheaties, Oreos, and Burger King, among other brands.[Image Credit: © Dyla LLC]
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