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Beverage Innovation

Tracking The Drinks Marketplace


Coca-Cola Continues Program Of “Zombie” Killing

Continuing a plan launched two years ago, Coca-Cola says it will cut what it calls “zombie brands” to focus on more successful products and smaller names with potential. CEO James Quincey said many of the company’s 400 “master brands” are in just one country, accounting for just two percent of total revenue. Coke decided to “ruthlessly prioritize” core brands at the beginning of the pandemic months ago in a move that would also streamline the supply chain. “We are shifting to prioritizing fewer but bigger and stronger brands across various consumer needs,” he said. As an example of the product cuts, the company announced earlier this month it would shut down the Odwalla brand of juice beverages, effective July 31, cutting 300 jobs. In 2018, the company announced it had developed a guide for executives in its various markets to identify underachieving “zombies” that should be axed.  As of August 2018, the company had flagged 125 “underperforming SKUs for elimination” in in the Middle East and North African region alone[Image Credit: © THE COCA-COLA COMPANY]

Coca-Cola Sees Some Financial Improvement In 2nd Quarter

After a “most challenging” first quarter marked by a 28 percent pandemic-caused sales decline, Coca-Cola said second quarter soda demand improved, a fact reflected in adjusted revenue of $7.18 billion, largely in line with analyst estimates. Demand for Coca-Cola drinks was battered by the closings of restaurants, theaters, and sports venues. Unit case volume trends, a key demand indicator, improved from a 25 percent drop in April to a 10 percent drop in June as lockdowns eased. For the June quarter, volume sales declined 16 percent, with flagship Coca-Cola falling seven percent and sparkling soft drinks dropping 12 percent. Unit volume of teas and coffees slid 31 percent, largely because of the temporary closure of Costa Coffee stores in Western Europe.[Image Credit: © The Coca-Cola Company]

Simply Beverages Rolls Out Three Flavors Of Almond Milks

The Coca-Cola juice business has entered the burgeoning nondairy milk market with the launch of three varieties of premium almond milk in 46-ounce carafe bottles. Almond milk – itself a $1.3 billion market – is driving the nearly 60 percent growth of the nondairy milk segment, which also includes soymilk, coconut milk, oat milk, cashew milk and more. Simply Almond milks are available in original, unsweetened original, and vanilla, containing between 50 and 90 calories per 8-oz. serving. The rollout will be supported by an integrated marketing campaign including TV, social, digital, in-store creative, sampling, and couponing activations. A key motivator for the launch was the fact that 46 percent of almond milk drinkers are frequent buyers of at least one Simply beverage product.[Image Credit: © The Coca-Cola Company]


Nestlé SA Settles On Six Major Bidders For Yinlu Foods Group

The list of bidders for the company’s Chinese business unit was trimmed to six, including three food and beverage companies and three private equity firms. Yinlu Foods Group, a maker of instant porridge and Nescafe ready-to-drink coffee, could fetch at least $400 million. Binding bids are due by the end of August from China Resources Beer Holdings Co., Tingyi Cayman Islands Holding Corp., Dali Foods Group Co., FountainVest Partners, Affinity Equity Partners, and Citic Private Equity Funds Company management have also been invited to participate in the bidding. Yinlu, which specializes in the production and sale of canned foods and beverages, was acquired by Nestlé in 2011.[Image Credit: © Yinlu Food Group Co., Ltd]

Nestlé Waters NA Says Three More Spring Water Brands Will Be rPET-Packaged

The Stamford, Conn.-based bottled water company announced that three more of its U.S. still water brands are converting to 100 percent recycled plastic bottles. Though 100 percent recyclable for some time, Ozarka Spring Water, Deer Park, and Zephyrhills bottles will now be made from 100 percent recycled plastic. With the expansion of recycled plastic (rPET) to these brands, nearly 60 percent of all households in the U.S. will have access to a Nestlé Waters regionally distributed spring water brand in bottles made entirely of recycled plastic. All three will include a message on the labels of the 20-ounce, 700 ml, one liter, and 1.5 liter bottles, stating they are both 100 percent recyclable and made from 100 percent recycled plastic. [Image Credit: © Nestlé]

Other Companies

Chobani Debuts Plant-Based High-Protein Probiotic Beverages

The New York-based Greek yogurt maker’s new line of oat-based, fermented organic drinks contain probiotic cultures and 15-25 grams of protein in four varieties. Chobani Probiotic drinks combine whole grain oats and fruit juice fermented with probiotic cultures, then blended with organic fruit and herbal extracts with “a light effervescence.” The drinks are non-dairy, certified organic and certified non-GMO. Each bottle has 80 calories with 11 grams of sugar, billions of probiotics, and no sweetener ingredients. The drinks are available in lemon ginger, pineapple turmeric, peach mint, and cherry hibiscus tea varieties at $3.79 per 14-ounce bottle.[Image Credit: © Chobani, LLC]

Beverage USA Holdings Acquires “Mental Acuity” Drinks Company Nerd Beverage

The Ohio-based maker of soft drinks and carbonated waters announced the acquisition of the assets of Nerd Beverage Corporation (San Antonio, Texas), a mental acuity drink company that claims its products enhance focus, concentration, memory, and energy with nootropics and performance-boosting nutrients.  Nerd’s Nerd Focus beverage, containing both nootropics and adaptogens, is available in more than 800 retailers and online. The target market includes college students, health care professionals, gamers, and more. BevUSA says its strategic plan for Nerd is to expand its market reach, hit $7-10 million in revenue within two years, and establish partnerships and sponsorships in eSports, gaming, extreme sports, music and entertainment, fashion, and streetwear. [Image Credit: © NerdFocus]

Chipotle Partners With Tractor Beverage To Offer Organic Beverages, Support Farmers

Chipotle Mexican Grill (Newport Beach, Calif.,) has begun serving non-GMO and certified organic lemonades, Aguas Frescas, and tea from Tractor Beverage Co., a five-year-old natural and organic beverage company serving the food service industry. Chipotle said that, as part of the deal with Tractor Beverage, five percent of Chipotle's profits from the sale of the beverages will be donated to causes that support farmers. Funds will expand long-term contracts, increased local sourcing, scholarships and grants to start, run or grow farming operations. New organic beverages being served by Chipotle include: Lemonade, Hibiscus Lemonade, Mandarin Agua Fresca, Berry Agua Fresca, and Black Tea.[Image Credit: © Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc./PR Newswire Association LLC.]

RTD Coffee/Tea Launches Roll On

Beverage companies have been busy churning out new products in the U.S. RTD tea and coffee segment at a hectic pace this year. Among the innovations uncovered by researcher NPD so far in 2020: N.Y.-based Rise Brewing Co.’s new organic London Fog, a Nitro Earl Grey Tea Oak Milk Latte (available in singles, 4 packs and 12 packs); woman-owned Calif.-baed Omni Bev’s new Vietnamese Coconut Matcha Cold Brew Coffee is a blend of premium Japanese matcha and a splash of coconut; Tempo (Chicago) has added ginger & turmeric and hibiscus with blackberry & lemon to its CBD-infused sparkling green tea line; Elemental Beverage Co.’s (Watertown, Mass.) RTD canned coffees using “snapchill” technology are now available online and at 40 Whole Foods stores (MSRP $5/can); Promise Beverages launched a line of craft small batch Cold Brew Tea in fully recyclable paperboard gallon boxes; and Verve Coffee Roasters (Santa-Cru, Calif.) expanded its RTD Nitro Flash Brew Coffee line with Single Origin (Ethiopia Sakaro) and Vancouver Decaf, one of the few decaf canned coffee beverages on the market.[Image Credit: © Karolina Grabowska from Pixabay]

Chopt Salad Chain Co-Founder Moves On To Sparkling Water

Colin McCabe is entering the beverage business with a line of functional sparkling waters enhanced with adaptogens that purportedly improve mental and physical functions. McCabe co-founded Chopt Creative Salad Co., a New York-based fast casual salads-and-wraps restaurant chain with locations up and down the U.S. East Coast. Free Rain is available in three variants: Energy contains Siberian ginseng, an energy-boosting adaptogen; Focus contains ashwagandha to sharpen the mind; and Calm combines passionflower and blackberry to ease the mind and relax the body. Free Rain sparkling waters are available at select retailers and direct-to-consumer on the company’s e-commerce platform.[Image Credit: © FREE RAIN]

Cold Brew Coffee Innovations Fill Sugary Beverage Void

Cold brew coffee innovations are driving the segment into the mainstream, as health-conscious beverage drinkers search for alternatives to sugary sodas. Cold brew coffee innovation is focusing on processing, packaging, flavors, added functionality, and alcohol and nitrogen infusion (pioneered by Stumptown, Caribou, and Starbucks). Other notable innovations: carbonated coffees that blend sparkling water with cold brew coffee; and, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, functional RTD coffees, including energized variants. On the horizon: single-origin coffees like Verve’s Single Origin Flash Brew; hard coffee, like California start-up Bomani’s 5.7 percent ABV alcohol-infused cold brew; plant-based RTD coffee, like L.A.-based Koia’s offerings made with brown rice, pea, and chickpea protein; and coffee cola blends from Coca-Cola and PepsiCo. [Image Credit: © 4137dutchcafe from Pixabay]

Orange Juice Shows Better Potential As A Nondairy Probiotic Carrier

Most probiotic foods on the market today are dairy-based, but demand is increasing for nondairy probiotic carriers such as fruit and vegetable juices. With that in mind, Australian scientists report that orange juice is a better carrier of the probiotic strain L. sanfranciscensis than apple or tomato juice because it survives longer in refrigerated storage. But most importantly, it better weathers the acidic environment of the human gut. All three juices met the recommended cold storage viability level, with orange juice the most effective. But in a simulated gastric environment, “the lowest reduction of viability was noted in orange juice, followed by tomato juice,” indicating that “orange juice had a better protective effect than other juices on L. sanfranciscensis against simulated intestinal juice digestion.” L. sanfranciscensis has been shown to be beneficial because of its anti‐inflammatory effects and potential to treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).[Image Credit: © Myriam Zilles from Pixabay]
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