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Beverage Innovation

Tracking The Drinks Marketplace


Coke Japan Tries Vending Machine Subscriptions As Pandemic Dampens Outdoor Buys

As fewer people venture out amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tokyo-based company’s vending machine sales are nose-diving. But Coke Japan hopes to turn that around with a new discounted subscription service. Customers who sign up for the service on the Coke ON smartphone app and pay a monthly $24.80 fee can buy one drink a day without paying in cash. That means each drink will cost about $0.83, saving up to about $19.29 over 30 days. The company is making the Coke ON Pass service available at 340,000 compatible machines of all 880,000 Coca-Cola vending machines nationwide.

EU Launches Antitrust Probe Of Coca-Cola

The preliminary investigation by EU antitrust regulators is “ongoing,” and so far has consisted of questionnaires sent to the company. Coke declined to comment, other than to say it will “cooperate fully” with the probe. EuroCommerce, a lobbying group whose members include Carrefour, Ikea, Metro, and Tesco, said retailers and wholesalers in Europe have been concerned about the sales practices of some large multinational brands.


Evian Asia Adjusts To New COVID-Induced Buying Patterns

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to several major changes to Asia’s food and beverage industries generally, and the premium mineral water space in particular. Evian’s global brand chief says the major trends – staying at home more, greater use of ecommerce, less toting of small bottled beverages – have forced Evian to implement some changes. The brand launched a new format on ecommerce in 2021: the Evian 1.5-liter bottle made from 30 percent RPET) and suitable for homebound consumers; and greater focus on sustainability with the launch. The first example of the new packaging is as a 40 ml bottle with a pink cap that will be available on online platforms Lazada and Redmart, and foodservice outlets such as SaladStop, with other outlets to follow. A 24-pack is retailing for $29.13 on Lazada.


Nestlé Builds $220M Dairy Beverage Factory In Indonesia

The company says the new factory in Batang, Indonesia, will create about 200 jobs in the Central Java province and will produce Bear Brand liquid milk and ready-to-drink beverages, Milo and Nescafé. Nestlé Indonesia has been partnering with dairy farmers and cooperatives in East Java since 1975, providing them with technical and financial assistance to improve the productivity and quality of fresh-milk production. The company has signed a memorandum of understanding with Batang to develop a partnership with prospective dairy farmers and farmer groups to source additional raw materials for production.

Other Companies

Golden Ratio Launches New Flavor Of Detoxifying, Anti-Inflammatory Morning Drink

The Austin, Texas-based maker of ultra-light (“gold”) roasted coffees has unveiled Golden Milk, a better-for-you coffee containing turmeric, cardamom, black pepper and monk fruit extract.The new flavor will be available on the Golden Ratio website for $14.99 for seven servings. Like its other gold coffee products, Golden Milk is brewed in individual, eco-friendly tea bags without the high acidity, bitterness or burnt flavors of regular coffee, and drinks more like tea without sacrificing caffeine.

Start-Up Gist Unveils Cold-Brewed Prebiotic Beverage

The Viroqua, Wisc.-based company’s prebiotic sparkling beverage, created with plants rather than  extracts, is brewed with five organically certified botanical ingredients: carbonated water, chamomile flower, rosemary, Jerusalem artichoke inulin fiber, and lime juice. A 12-ounce can contains four grams of prebiotic artichoke fiber, 14 percent of the daily recommended value, and no sugar, sweetener, or caffeine. The cold-brewed beverage is available in Chamomile with Rosemary and Ginger with Rooibos flavors. A four-can pack costs $14.99 on drinkgist.com. 

Ribena Launches Ad Campaign Supporting New Sparkling Line

Ribena’s U.K. marketing campaign supporting its recently launched Sparkling range includes a new TV ad, out-of-home advertising, social media promotion, and in-store material for retailers. Ribena hopes to reach 65 percent of adults during the summer with the ads. The company says Ribena Sparkling was created to offer “something new in line with changing shopper trends” and has added more than £3.4 million ($4.8 million) to the flavored carbonates category since its September launch.

Amarumayu Introduces Immune-Enhancing Superfruit Juices

The Los Angeles-based brand, a business of Peruvian beverage maker AJE Group, announces two immunity-boosting Superfruit Juices made with fruits harvested by indigenous communities in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest. The two beverages feature Buriti and Camu Camu, grown deep within the Amazon for thousands of years. Long prized for their powerful health benefits, the fruits are rich sources of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. The brand is named after the Amazon River’s ancient name, Amarumayu: “amaru” means snake and “mayu” means river. Sold in 16 oz. recyclable aluminum bottles, the juices are rolling out to grocery retailers and are available on Amazon for $28.75 per 6-pack (currently at a limited time 25 percent discount).

KÖE Kombucha Adds New Flavors To Fruit-Based Kombucha Line

The Los Angeles-based fruit-forward kombucha company has added Tropical and Watermelon flavors to its lineup of canned Lemon Lime, Mango, Strawberry Lemonade, Raspberry Dragonfruit, and Blueberry Ginger flavors. The company’s fermented, lightly sparkling flavors contain billions of live, high-grade bacillus coagulan probiotics. They are USDA Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, shelf-stable for 12 months, and contain just 35 calories and eight grams of sugar per serving. The new flavors will be available online via Amazon.com in June for $29.99 per 12-pack, at major C-stores beginning in July, and national retailers beginning this fall.

Voss Water Debuts Line Of Enhanced Waters

The Norwegian provider of bottled artesian well water is unveiling the Voss+ range featuring three enhanced waters – Voss + Collagen, Voss + Vitamin D and Voss + Aquamin – beginning in May. The Aquamin variant contains a blend of 74 trace minerals and electrolytes – “from the coastal seas of Iceland” – supporting hydration. The beverages are sold in 850 ml single bottles, 6-packs (excluding Voss + Collagen) and 12-packs. Voss+ Waters will be available at select retailers nationwide including Walmart, CVS. and Amazon.

Guru Organic Energy’s Yerba Mate Heads For U.S. Market

The Montreal-based organic energy drink brand’s U.S. debut on June 1 comes after its successful Canadian debut in late 2020. The Yerba Mate variant joins Guru Original, Guru Lite and Guru Matcha on the shelves of U.S. grocery stores, natural food stores, C-stores and drug stores through its distribution partners KeHE and UNFI. Guru Yerba Mate is infused with functional and energy-boosting plant-based ingredients, has an açai berry flavor with mint. It is low in calories and contains green tea, yerba mate, guarana, monk fruit, and stevia. All Guru drinks are also sold onAmazon and guruenergy.com.


ThaiBev Navigates Pandemic Headwinds

Some key points from Thai Beverage Public Company Ltd.’s Q2 2021 (ended March 31, 2021) financial posting: major business segments (beer and spirits) were stable, despite the closure of entertainment venues and an alcohol ban in restaurants in January. However, revenue from its non-alcoholic beverage segment fell 13.2 percent year on year. Significant cost savings, however, led to net profit excluding exceptional items surging to THB 133 million ($4.2 million). Total Q2 revenue was THB 59.5 billion ($1.9 billion) in the quarter, a year on year decrease of 3.2 percent. Lastly, 75 percent of the revenues of ThaiBev, the largest beverage manufacturer and distributor in Thailand, are derived from the home country, which is battling its fiercest wave of COVID-19 infections so far. A key strategic goal has been to diversify revenue sources beyond Thailand. with the aim of deriving the majority of its revenue outside of the country. The pandemic clobbered those plans. And, the continued weakening performances of the non-alcoholic and food segments pose further stumbling blocks for the group to achieve revenue diversification.
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