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Beverage Innovation

Tracking The Drinks Marketplace


Coca-Cola’s Efforts To Increase Number Of Black Execs Have Faltered

Twenty years after settling a $192.5 million a race-discrimination class action lawsuit, and agreeing to far-reaching changes to its, hiring, promotion, and compensation practices, the company has lost ground. By 2010, black employees held 15 percent of executive roles in the U.S., up from 1.5 percent in 1998, before the lawsuit was filed. Now, the share of black executives is back down to eight percent, and black employees now represent only 15 percent of Coke’s U.S. salaried staff – five points lower than in 2000. According to observers, a sense of complacency had set in at the company, especially after it shifted the focus to gender diversity. But the situation may soon improve: Coke is planning to launch new initiatives in January to improve hiring and promotion of black executives and employees.

Coke’s European Bottlers Expect Major Changes Now That COVID-19 Vaccine Is Rolling Out

The general manager of Uxbridge, England-based Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) says the first half of 2021 will look pretty much the same as the second half of 2020: lockdowns and purchase of larger beverage packages. But Stephen Burgess expects that as the company moves further into 2021, and the COVID vaccines become more readily available, people will feel more confident about leaving the house, and sales of on-the-go packs will increase. “I am convinced those opportunities will come back,” Burgess added. For the first half of 2021 he suggested that the brand should ensure take-home packs are as affordable as possible. In fact, prices on 500 ml packs have already started to drop.

Coca-Cola Lays Off 17 Percent Of Global Workforce

The company said it is laying off 2,200 workers – half of which are in the U.S. – as part of a larger restructuring aimed at paring down its business units and brands. As of the end of 2019, Coke employed 86,200 people worldwide. The restructuring process was accelerated by the pandemic, causing sales at places like stadiums and movie theaters to dry up due to lockdowns. Revenue fell nine percent to $8.7 billion in the July-September 2020 period. The company is also reducing its brands by half to 200. The layoffs won’t impact Coke’s mostly independent bottlers.

Canadian Coke Bottler To Invest Millions In Toronto-Area Factories

Toronto-based Coca-Cola Canada Bottling says it plans to invest nearly CAD 30 million ($23.5 million) in its manufacturing facilities in the Greater Toronto Area. The money will be spent on expansion of manufacturing capabilities in Weston and Brampton to meet increased demand and bring some U.S. production to Canada. Coke Canada Bottling operates in every province through more than 50 sales and distribution centers and five manufacturing facilities. 


Danone NA Launches High-Protein Yogurt And Drinks

The White Plains, N.Y.-based marketer of dairy- and plant-based foods and beverages has introduced the Oikos Pro line of protein-rich yogurt cups and drinks containing leucine, a branch chain amino acid involved in building muscle. Oikos Pro drinks contain 25 grams of protein, no added sugars and nine essential amino acids per 20-oz bottle. The beverages come in strawberry banana, mixed berry, caramel macchiato, and coffee flavors. The latter two contain 100 mg of caffeine, equivalent to one cup of coffee. Each Oikos Pro beverage retails for $2.49. The products will be available this month.


Nestlé Australia Debuts Upcycled Coffee Berry-Based Beverage

The Rhodes, NSW-based company has introduced what it calls a “better-for-you beverage option” made with cascara, the dried skins of coffee cherries. The upcycled coffee berry-based Nescafe Nativ Cascara product is lower in sugar than soft drinks, with only 3.3 grams per 100 ml or 10.8 grams per 330 ml bottle, with no artificial sweeteners added. It is also free from preservatives and delivers the same caffeine as a cup of capsule coffee. The drink will also come in recyclable packaging and a label made out of paper. Nescafe Nativ Cascara will be available first in Australian markets in three variants: Classic, Kakadu Plum, and Lemon Myrtle and Pepperberry. The beverage will be available at retailers IGA and Impulse at A$4.50 ($3.47) per 330 ml. 

Other Companies

Former Basketball Star Launches Hydration Beverage

Former college and WNBA basketball star Fran Harris will pitch her new hydration beverage on the TV show Shark Tank on January 8. Her take on the market is that consumers are “demanding healthier options” that contain less sugar, fewer calories, and “more functionality.” The new beverage, Electra, is available in Passion Punch, Oh Yeah! Orange, and Litty Lemonade (16 oz) flavors. Powder versions will begin shipping in the first quarter of 2021.  Electra contains no artificial colors or ingredients, and is rich in vitamins, amino acids, antioxidants, and electrolytes for prehydration, performance, recovery and rehydration. In addition to her experience in college and pro basketball, Harris is a former Procter & Gamble health & beauty sales executive.

Football Hall Of Famer Jerry Rice Forges Deal With GNC For New Energy Drink

Los Angeles-based G.O.A.T. Fuel has inked a retail partnership with GNC. The health and nutrition product company will feature the brand's line of health-focused energy drinks in select locations across the U.S. Developed by NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice, G.O.A.T Fuel is an organic energy drink containing cordyceps mushrooms, natural caffeine and green tea, branch chain amino acids, 10 essential vitamins, and no sugar or preservatives. G.O.A.T. Fuel is available in Blueberry Lemonade, Tropical Berry, Peach Pineapple, and Pink Candy flavors and can be purchased at GNC.com, goatfuel.com and in select GNC stores.

Zevia Secures $200M From Canadian Investor

Los Angeles-based beverage company Zevia has secured a $200 million minority investment from Canadian institutional investor, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ). Zevia’s zero-calorie, naturally sweetened beverages are available in the U.S. and Canada. The company’s goal is to provide an alternative to sugary and artificially sweetened beverages with its range of sodas, mixers and other drinks, made with the plant-based sweetener stevia. Zevia will use a portion of the new funds to pursue a global expansion strategy.

Golden Ratio Coffee Now Available Online

Searching for a coffee that packs a caffeine punch but has none of the usual stomach-churning bitterness, Golden Ratio founder Clark Nowlin eventually found a brew made from barely roasted beans while visiting the Pacific Northwest in 2018, Golden Ratio is prepared and tastes like tea, but has the same caffeinated kick as coffee. His “golden coffee” is now available direct-to-consumer online and as part of a winter display at Nordstrom retail stores. “The main difference between our coffee and other coffee is we are beans without the burn,” Nowlin said. His coffee comes from beans that sit between green, unroasted beans, and lightly roasted blonde beans, which are lighter than light, medium, and dark roasts. Golden Ratio originally planned to launch in cafés and coffee shops, but the pandemic threw a monkey wrench into that strategy.

Mooala Launches Keto-Friendly Non-Dairy Milk

The Dallas, Texas-based maker of organic dairy-free beverages has introduced Keto Mylk, a keto-certified and carb-conscious beverage containing less than one gram of net carbs, no sugar, and five grams of MCTs per serving. The beverage is available in Cinnamon Roll, Chocolaty Chip, Vanilla Crème, and Original flavors, all made with a base of organic coconut cream. Like all Mooala beverages, Keto Mylk is USDA organic, non-GMO, and plant-based. The drink is sold in shelf-stable, 33.8-ounce cartons online and in refrigerated 48-ounce multi-serve bottles at Sprouts stores nationwide. The company says Keto Mylk will also be available later in the year at Wegmans, Whole Foods Market, and Safeway-Albertsons stores.
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