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Beverage Innovation

Tracking The Drinks Marketplace


Coca-Cola Food Shopper Study Examines Behavioral Drivers, Ranks Key Retailers

Coca-Cola has been conducting the iSHOP (Individual Shopping Habits, Occasions and Perceptions) study since 2013. Recently it analyzed shopper behaviors and perceptions at 65 key retailers, studied 30 behavioral drivers, and interviewed thousands of shoppers. Three key areas were impacted by behavioral drivers: trial (what makes a shopper choose a retailer at least once a quarter); frequency (what makes a store become a regular destination); and advocacy (what drives a shopper to become a loyal advocate). And the study ranked retailers based on the three areas. Among supermarkets, for example, stores with the best shopper loyalty and advocacy were H-E-B, Publix, Wegmans, and Kroger’s King Soopers banner. Among C-stores, CVS Pharmacy ranked above Walgreens, and across the board, Costco topped Sam’s Club and BJ’s Wholesale.[Image Credit: © EnsembleIQ]

Other Companies

Ataq Debuts 2-Ounce Plant-Based Functional Shots

Mode LLC (D/B/A Ataq) (Costa Mesa, Calif.), a plant-based, functional nutrition brand, has launched three 2 oz. plant-based functional performance shots containing adaptogens, nootropics, and thermo-nutrients “to power athletes and health conscious individuals alike.” The lineup includes a pineapple-orange-flavored Power & Endurance Booster; a mango-flavored Energy & Focus Booster; and a lime-berry Recovery & Immune Booster. The latter helps strengthen the immune system, supports anti-inflammatory benefits, and nutrient absorption, promotes relaxation and overall quality of sleep, the company says. All shots are gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, vegan, and WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) compliant. They are shelf-stable and have no artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors, or preservatives. They are  available now in six-packs at $23.99.[Image Credit: © MODe]

Co-Founder Of Grady’s Cold Brew Wholesaler Launches Co-Packing Plant In Pa.

Food and beverage start-up companies often use the services of a contract packager (co-packer) to transition away from in-house production, freeing them from kitchen and bottling operations to pursue marketing and sales. Kyle Buckley, a co-founder of Grady’s Cold Brew coffee wholesalers, said a lack of co-packers among pre-launch brands or entrepreneurs in the cold brew segment convinced him to launch Pack Labs, a co-packing facility in Downington, Pa., opening in June. The goal is to focus on flexibility and reduction of overhead to help emerging brands get to market or expand long-term. Pack Labs’ fully automated system can produce bottles and cans, as well as custom labels, and offers tunnel pasteurization and carbonation. The ability to dose in-line helps brands using hemp extract or other soluble functional ingredients. Regarding volume, the system will give brands greater leeway to speed up or slow down production as needed.[Image Credit: © Grady's Cold Brew]

Barfresh Introduces RTD Fruit Smoothies Into L.A. School System Channel

Los Angeles-based Barfresh Food Group, Inc. (BRFH) worked with school administrators and with the USDA to ensure that its new RTD bottled smoothie would meet the flavor, serving size, and product standards of schools, and meet government standards for reimbursable meal programs. BRFH, a manufacturer of frozen, ready-to-blend and ready-to-drink beverages, said the new smoothie “Twist & Go,” to be launched into its school system channel, contains four ounces of yogurt and a half-cup of fruit/fruit juice in strawberry banana and peach flavors. “Twist & Go” contains no added sugars, no preservatives, no artificial flavors or colors, and has 125 calories and five grams of protein. The company said the new smoothie will be “perfect” for children still receiving meals daily despite temporary school closures because of the coronavirus pandemic.[Image Credit: © Barfresh Food Group Inc./GlobeNewswire, Inc.]

To Meet Bottled Water Demand, Niagara Expands Florida Bottling Plant

California-based Niagara Bottling LLC has expanded its Palm Beach County, Fla., bottling and distribution plant, less than two years after its 2018 opening, to handle burgeoning demand for bottled water. The company added 30 more jobs and leased 115,000 additional square feet of space. Niagara produces a variety of still water, sparkling water, lemonade, and sports beverages under its own brand, and private label bottled water for companies like Costco (Kirkland) and Walmart (Great Value). Niagara also has bottling plants in Arizona, Connecticut, Indiana, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and Groveland, Florida.[Image Credit: © Niagara Bottling, LLC]

Orange Juice Sales, Once On Life Support, Are Re-Invigorated By Coronavirus Pandemic

Orange juice sales have been declining steadily for 20 years: from 6.1 gals a person in 1998 to 2.5 gals in 2018. The decline has been traced to a consumer shift away from regular fruit juices for a variety of health and lifestyle reasons, and to a drop in supply thanks to the widespread plant disease citrus greening. But as the coronavirus pandemic spreads, American consumers have been stocking up on staples, including orange juice, whose U.S. retail sales have jumped about 38 percent in the four weeks ending on March 28 compared to last year. Florida reported an “unforeseen and significant” spike in demand for 100 percent orange juice in particular, a trend that is expected to continue. Wholesaler Natalie's Orchid Island Juice Company saw a 25 percent increase in demand in retail in mid-March, driven primarily by citrus juices including orange and grapefruit juice. Major orange juice brands, including Tropicana and Minute Maid, also reported surges in sales. Meanwhile, Florida growers say they have been able to beat back the citrus disease over the past year enough to finally increase their supply.[Image Credit: © Steve Buissinne from Pixabay]

AI, Image Recognition Help Beverage Brands Streamline Operations

Artificial intelligence (AI) technology itself is complex, but its spread makes sense because it offers operational efficiencies, simplifies market and product data collection, optimizes supply chains, increases transparency, and enables sales activity. In fact, AI is improving business outcomes and creating competitive advantages for leading beverage brands. Powered by machine learning (ML), top image recognition (IR) solutions automate tasks, transform data into real-time insights, and enable suppliers and distributors to analyze diverse display types from the convenience of mobile. That data is analyzed, tagged, segmented, and filtered through a proprietary ML model in the cloud with results returned to the device in minutes. By 2024, AI in the food and beverage market is expected to exceed a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 65.3 percent, with image recognition (IR) paving the way.[Image Credit: © Simona Šimonová @ Pixabay.com]

Koia Sees Light At The End Of The Venture Capital Funding Tunnel

Venture capital company CircleUp Growth Partners has assisted plant-based beverage brand Koia to complete a bridge funding round that it hopes will be the last venture funding it will need. Sales of Koia’s  core plant-based protein drinks are up 123.5 percent ($7.6 million) year-over-year through February 23. Sold refrigerated in 12 oz. PET bottles, the brand also offers functional sub-lines, including keto and coffee, launched exclusively at Whole Foods in January. Current investors include Monogram Capital Partners, KarpReilly, and AF Ventures (formerly Accel Foods), the latter two of which co-led a $7.5 million seed round in 2017. Other food and beverage brands in CircleUp’s portfolio include plant-based drinks such as Nutpods, Barnana, and Rhythm Superfoods. CircleUp will not take a seat on the Koia board. The company says it is in a “positive cash position” that could last into next year, when it should reach breakeven “so that [the new bridge funding] could have theoretically been the last money into the company.”[Image Credit: © Koia Inc.]
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