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Beverage Innovation

Tracking The Drinks Marketplace


Coca-Cola European Partners Debuts “Mystery” Blue Flavor Zero Sugar Fanta

U.K.-based bottler CCEP’s reanimated “What The Fanta” ad campaign features a “mystery” blue zero-sugar flavor available in 500 ml and two-liter bottles. Shoppers will need to scan the QR code on-pack to unlock a series of online clues over several weeks to find out the flavor. The ad campaign was first unveiled last year with the introduction of a green variant that drove “five times the rate of sale as seen on Fanta Orange in the same period,” according to the company, which also says the Fanta zero sugar range is now worth $94 million.

Coca-Cola Expands Vitaminwater Line

The company’s new functional variants – Look (blueberry hibiscus) and Gutsy (watermelon & peach) – are available now at U.S. retailers. Look contains vitamin A and lutein to support eye health, while Gutsy contains a prebiotic fiber to enhance gut function. The company also increased the vitamin and electrolyte count per serving across the Vitaminwater zero-sugar and “base” ranges. The two new offerings join ten other SKUs in Vitaminwater's zero-sugar functional range.


Horizon Organic Reveals Carbon Footprint Numbers

The Broomfield, Colo.-based unit of Danone SA, on a mission to become carbon-positive by 2025, has released its carbon emissions levels. The certified organic dairy says cow manure management accounts for about 18 percent of its carbon footprint, animal feed about 14 percent, and retailer refrigeration of milk nine percent. The figures are the first look into emissions at the company, which released the data as part of a life-cycle assessment. The company says the move comes as demand for milk has suffered amid the dairy industry’s reputation for being a big greenhouse-gas emitter. Some consumers have turned to plant-based alternatives that are perceived to be more environmentally friendly.


Nestlé Adds Coffee-Flavored Variants To S.Pellegrino Essenza Lineup

The new caffeinated coffee-inspired range of sparkling mineral waters, set to launch in the U.S. this spring, has three zero-calorie flavor combinations: vanilla & coffee, cocoa & coffee, and caramel & coffee. The new variants, bottled at the source in Italy, are free from sweeteners and contain 30 mg of caffeine, about a third of the amount in an average cup of coffee. The SRP is $5.99 for an eight-can fridge pack.

Other Companies

Nuun Launches Its First Energy Drink

The Seattle, Wash.-based hydration beverage company says its Nuun Energy tablets offer a “clean alternative ... a better-for-you boost” from green tea-derived caffeine, B-vitamins, electrolytes, and adaptogens. The product is available online and at Whole Foods Markets in Berry Blast, Tropical Punch, Ginger Lime Zing, and Watermelon Burst flavors. The company markets an array of hydration powders and tablets that can be added to water bottles for a quick electrolyte infusion.

High Brew Coffee Expands Further Into Nitro Cold Brew Segment

The Austin, Texas-based maker of natural canned cold brew coffee is expanding its ready-to-drink line with another nitrogenated cold brew, Sweet Cream Nitro Cold Brew. The company launched its entry into the market a year ago with Nitro Cold Brew Black after some research determined that 65 percent of consumers were either “interested” or “very interested” in nitro cold brew. The company says its nitro cold brew drinks are resonating with convenience customers, partly because they come in a can, but also because its in-can “industry-leading widget technology” infuses more nitrogen into the beverage than the traditional process. Sweet Cream Nitro, containing 200 milligrams of natural caffeine, is made from 100 percent Arabica, direct-trade beans and retails for $3.69 a can.

Aura Bora Sparkling Water Builds Momentum With Unusual Flavors

The San Francisco-based craft sparkling water start-up says it is building brand awareness in California and beyond simply by being different – flavor-wise – from the rest of the competition in the burgeoning category. The company, which launched in late 2019 with a marketing plan based on “sampling events,” was stopped in its tracks by the pandemic, but not before it found a national distributor. Now sold in 1,200 retailers, Aura Bora is flavored with herbs, fruits, and flowers. Varieties include lemongrass coconut, peppermint watermelon, lavender cucumber, basil berry, and cactus rose. Founder Paul Voge says his “new and interesting flavors” were designed to distinguish the products from LaCroix, Polar, Waterloo, etc. The company really began to gather steam after Voge’s appearance last summer on Shark Tank won it a $200,000 investment that helped expand marketing and distribution reach.

Stonewall Kitchen Buys Organic Coffee Company

The specialty food producer (York, Maine) acquired Vermont Coffee Company, an organic coffee brand that offers more than 25 blends in whole bean and ground formats. Vermont Coffee joins other brands, including Urban Accents and Vermont Village, the company’s portfolio. According to Stonewall Kitchen, Middlebury-based Vermont Coffee is the best-selling brand of bagged organic coffee in grocery stores across the northeast. Stonewall Kitchen sells jam, chutney, jellies, grill sauce, cooking oil and mustard. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Enroot Unveils Five Cold-Brewed Organic Sparkling Teas

The Los Angeles-based beverage start-up’s five blends are made with sustainably sourced organic teas, fruits, spices, and herbs. “Botanically” packaged and containing 25 calories per bottle, the teas are produced using a 20-hour cold brewing method without any added sugar, sweeteners, or flavorings and with several caffeine options. Flavor profiles include Relax (strawberry lavender rosemary tulsi); Reenergize (mango turmeric ginger guayusa); Revitalize (raspberry mint white peony tea); Rejuvenate (peach hibiscus jasmine green tea); and Revive (apple lemon cayenne yerba mate). The business was launched with the help of the James Beard Foundation.

Lucozade Energy Now Offers Larger Packaging

The British soft drink company, a unit of Suntory, is introducing two larger pack formats to help “meet shoppers’ need for more take-home options” during the pandemic lockdowns. The new 1.45-liter price-marked bottle ($2.77) and 12x330ml can pack ($8.30) reflect a trend in the beverage industry, according to the company: bulk pack sales in soft drinks and energy drinks are growing by 30 percent and multi-pack cans are growing by 32 percent. A spokesman said 60 percent of shoppers want specific drinks that meet specific occasions, and 64 percent of consumers would buy a larger serve pack if it were available.

Golde Adds Mushroom-Based Variant To “Superfood” Drink Powders

The New York company’s Shroom Shield drink powder, containing the functional mushrooms reishi and turkey tail, is designed for immunity and stress defense. According to founder Trinity Mouzon Wofford, “It tastes like a hot chocolate and you can add it to coffee with milk. I do an iced shroom latte.” Golde also produces powdered superfood lattes containing blends of turmeric, matcha, and cacao for support of skin, immunity, and metabolism. Earlier this year, Golde launched Super-Ades: fruity powdered beverages with magnesium and lemon balm for stress relief, hyaluronic acid for skin hydration, and coconut water. The superfood latte line – 29 servings per 4.2-ounce bag – ranges from $22 to $42 at Sephora and Target.

Red Bull Debuts Sugar Free Coconut Version

The Austrian beverage company’s Coconut Edition Sugarfree is available now at Target and Circle K U.S. stores in an 8.4 fl oz can containing 80 mg of caffeine. According to Delish.com, the new version is “still jam-packed with the exotic coconut and berries taste of the original Coconut Edition.” The drink also contains B vitamins, the amino acid taurine, and sugar substitutes aspartame and acesulfame K.
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