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Beverage Innovation

Tracking The Drinks Marketplace


Coca-Cola/Minute Maid Brand Odwalla Debuts Zero-Sugar Smoothies

Minute Maid’s Odwalla beverage brand, known for its fruit juices, smoothies, and food bars, has released a line of zero-sugar smoothies. The Odwalla Zero Sugar range includes dark Choco-Berry, Strawberries & Cream, And Vanilla Matcha flavors, each with zero grams of sugar, five grams of plant protein, three grams of net carbs, two grams of MCT oil, and 110 calories. The drinks, suitable for vegan diets, gluten-free, and keto-friendly, are sweetened with stevia leaf extract and natural flavors. The plant protein blend is from pea and rice protein. The smoothies are available nationwide from selected U.S. retailers, with a recommended retail price of $3.29 for a 12-ounce bottle.[Image Credit: © THE COCA-COLA COMPANY]

Coca-Cola Names New GM For Pakistan/Afghanistan Region

Coca-Cola’s Pakistan unit has named Fahad Ashraf as general manager for the Pakistan and Afghanistan region, replacing the retiring Rizwan U. Khan. Ashraf joins the company from Reckitt Benckiser where he spent most of his career in various local and global marketing roles in Pakistan, UAE, South Africa and CHQ in the U.K., before taking on his recent assignment as Chief Executive and GM Health for Pakistan and Afghanistan region. Ashraf is tasked with “ramping up the organization and business in Pakistan and Afghanistan,” a Coca-Cola executive said.[Image Credit: © The Coca-Cola Company]

Coke Bottler CCEP Invests In Problem-Solving Tech Start-Ups

Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) is investing in two start-ups through its CCEP Ventures innovation investment fund, acquiring a 25 percent stake in Paris-based on-demand beverage delivery service Kol, and a 15 percent stake in TeleRetail, a self-driving technology company. According to CCEP, Kol and TeleRetail are adopting digital-first approaches to tackle a set of common logistical challenges faced by the bottler. Kol distributes a range of drinks to customers’ doors in 30 minutes. TeleRetail’s autonomous robot uses satellite imagery to deliver products at industrial sites and in urban areas. CCEP earlier this year tested TeleRetail’s technology at U.K. theme park Alton Towers. CCEP Ventures, launched in February to bring new ideas and technologies into CCEP, says it is scouting for more entrepreneurs and start-ups focused on finding solutions to key industry challenges through customer experience, new distribution models, future packaging design, and/or intelligent data and pricing analytics systems.[Image Credit: © The Coca-Cola Company]

Some Uncertainty About Formulation Of Coke Energy As U.S. Launch Nears

Coca-Cola’s strategy in entering the energy beverage category in 2020 is to expand the segment rather than “steal share,” according to a MediaPost writer. Coke Energy, already available in 25 countries, will launch next year in the U.S., though what the American version will taste like is still unknown. CEO James Quincey hinted that the formula of the U.S. variant – “sort of a 2.0 version” – will be the result of “some learnings on things we need to improve,” particularly the taste. The company wants to bring new consumers into the energy category so the flavor profile will be closer to Coca-Cola itself. The company is planning four SKUs for the U.S. to stand out in a crowded market whose sales have been growing by around five percent annually and household penetration “has slowed.” According to Coke’s Janki Gambhir, “Research shows that [while] people are open to trying energy drinks, [they] are [also] hesitant … because of unfamiliar brands touting unfamiliar ingredients.” There will be two Coke Energy zero-sugar versions priced between Red Bull and Monster.[Image Credit: © THE COCA-COLA COMPANY]


Danone’s Horizon Organic Targets Young Kids With Functional Whole Milk

Danone dairy brand Horizon Organic (Broomfield, Colo.) has introduced a functional whole milk for young children (ages one to five years) developed with the help of pediatricians. Horizon Organic Growing Years is formulated to deliver the key nutrients to the age group, the “tender years of laughter, tears, joy, learning and everything in between.” Each eight-ounce serving of Growing Years contains DHA omega-3 to support brain health, choline to transport DHA in the body, prebiotics that feed good bacteria, and vitamin D and calcium. Horizon says it sources its milk from pasture-raised cows that spend at least 120 days grazing each year on more than 600 certified organic family farms nationwide.[Image Credit: © WhiteWave Services, Inc]


Java Monster Is Launching A Vegan Energy Drink Featuring Oatmilk, Coffee

California-based Monster Energy Company is introducing Farmer’s Oats, a new Java Monster flavor that features oatmilk as a key component among all-plant-based ingredients. The 200 mg caffeinated beverage also incorporates both imported premium coffee and the Java Monster supercharged energy blend. To promote the launch, Java Monster is inviting Southern California customers to a “Vegan Brunchdown” launch party on November 2 in Los Angeles, where the brand is pairing exclusive vegan food pairings from some regional restaurants.[Image Credit: © PR Newswire Association LLC]

Other Companies

RTD Coffee Buyers In C-Stores Want Healthfulness, Convenience, Indulgence

C-stores are doing their best to meet consumer demand for canned nitro cold brew, pre-mixed lattes, and other versions of chilled RTD coffee, as well as demand for more indulgent drinks. Innovative coffee companies who exhibited at the recent National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) show regaled their c-store customers with the latest in nitro lattes, flavored iced coffees, canned cold brews, indulgent blended drinks, and espresso cans. The message is that c-stores need to maintain a well-rounded coffee portfolio with sugar and indulgence still in the mix. Peet’s Coffee, for example, has a rival to Starbucks’ popular RTD Frappuccinos in the form of Peet’s Blended Coffee line packaged in glass bottles. According to a Peet’s marketing exec, consumers are keeping wellness in mind, but also looking for indulgence. Cold brew is growing, but accounts for only 10 percent of the RTD coffee category, while half of the U.S. RTD coffee market is made up of sweet, creamy drinks like Frappuccinos.[Image Credit: © HighBrewCoffee]

Garden Of Life Launches Sugar-Free RTD Plant- And Dairy-Based Protein Drinks

Florida-based organic foods company Garden of Life has launched four zero-sugar RTD protein drinks made from either grass-fed dairy or plant-based proteins. The plant-based protein drinks, in chocolate and vanilla, provide 21 grams of complete protein, no sugar, one gram net carbs, five grams of MCTs, and contain no dairy, soy or gluten (Certified USDA Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, and NSF Certified for Sport). The grass-fed dairy protein drinks provide 26 grams of protein, no sugar, and no synthetic hormones, antibiotics, soy or gluten. The chocolate flavor has 140 calories and two grams net carbs; vanilla has 120 calories and one gram net carbs (Non-GMO Project Verified and NSF Certified for Sport).[Image Credit: © Garden of Life]

U.K.’s Radnor Hills To Launch Line Of Canned Spring Water Into C-Store Channel

British beverage company Radnor Hills, which markets mineral water, flavored spring water, juices, and school-compliant soft drinks, will next month launch a canned spring water range into convenience stores and gas station forecourts. The pure spring water, sourced from the company’s family farm in Wales, will be available in still or sparkling variants packaged in 330 ml cans ($1.28 each) that are 100 percent recyclable. According to reports, two all-natural, unsweetened infused waters are the next product in Radnor Hills’ pipeline.[Image Credit: © Radnor Hills Mineral Water Company Limited]

Drink Nutrient Introduces Functional Beverage Powders In Multi-Stick Packs

Reno, Nevada-based start-up Drink Nutrient has launched a line of nutritional drink powders packaged in sticks designed to be mixed with water. Each functional variant – Liquid Nutrient, Vitamin Booster+ and Vitamin Coffee – is available on the company website in packs of seven sticks ($10) or 30 sticks ($30). The seven-gram beverage sticks contain 13 vitamins, but no artificial ingredients, gluten, or GMOs.[Image Credit: © Nutrient Foods]

How Nanotechnology Keeps Infused Beverages Clear, While Improving Bioavailability

Consumption nanotechnology, whose accelerated development has solved some key problems for the CBD- and THC-infused beverages industry, has applications beyond these specific areas. Manufacturers are using nano inputs to ensure that an oil-based functional ingredient can be infused into a beverage – and absorbed by the human body, making it more “bioavailable” – without turning the drink cloudy or milky. Improved absorption is a result of the tiny size of the functional ingredient particles processed using the technology. Marketers take note: enhanced bioavailability allows for further product differentiation in the functional beverage market: vitamin and adaptogen-infused beverages stand to benefit from the technology, along with CBD-infused beverages.[Image Credit: © Republica from Pixabay]

Celsius Completes Acquisition Of Finland’s Func Food Group

Florida-based Celsius Holdings announced it has completed the acquisition of six-year-old Finnish functional food and beverage company Func Food Group Oyj for a cash payment of $15.1 million and the assumption of $9.5 million of debt. The price represents a multiple of approximately 1.0x trailing 12-month revenue. When Celsius, the manufacturer of the fitness drink brand Celsius, announced the possible acquisition in September it said it would pay for the deal with proceeds from a subsequent equity public offering. However, the company made no mention of a public offering in the current announcement. The acquisition of Func Food provides Celsius with access to European nutrition markets, expands its product offerings in line with growing market potential, and positions the company to capitalize on a broader revenue base. “With approximately $37 million in revenue and $702,000 in adjusted EBITDA in 2018, Func Food offers a number of synergies and benefits that are expected to be captured through this business combination,” Celsius said in a statement. [Image Credit: © Celsius]
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