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Beverage Innovation

Tracking The Drinks Marketplace


Coca-Cola Europacific Partners Tests Self-Pour Dispensing Tech In Spain

CCEP is testing the technology it invested in last year – Innovative Tap Solutions (ITS) d/b/a Pour My Beer (Chicago, Ill.) – in Spain, the first time the self-pay tap system has been brought to Europe. Pour My Beer allows consumers in restaurants, cafes, offices, stadiums, and other venues to buy Coca-Cola brands and serve themselves, refill drinks, and pay directly from the tap, eliminating the need for bottles and cans, and POS staff.  CCEP (Uxbridge, U.K.) last September purchased a 25 percent stake in Pour My Beer.

Coke Expands Use Of Wabi

The Wabi digital ecosystem is improving Coca-Cola’s relationships with both retailers and bottling partners, while providing valuable consumer insights, the company says. Wabi is a set of features in a digital ecosystem that enables the company to sell beverage and multi-category orders both direct-to-consumer and B2B. Though the company is mainly using Wabi in the B2B space with its bottlers, it is experimenting with it in B2C. In regions with many mom-and-pop shops, such as Latin America, a consumer places an order in the Wabi app, which then shops the order to the independent retailer nearest to the consumer. Depending on proximity to the store, the product can be delivered in 20 minutes or less. The company is also: using it in some QSR restaurants in regions including Argentina; has expanded B2C operations to add other categories with other consumer goods partners; and is accelerating digitization of relationships with bottlers, independent retailers, and restaurants. 

Coke CEO Quincey Says Hard Seltzer Has A Learning Curve

The company is still in a “learning phase” with its hard seltzer line, though it has expanded the number of markets for the Topo Chico hard seltzer line. The company needs to learn a lot more about the unfamiliar alcohol market, as well as regulatory and business characteristics. Before it makes strategic decisions about hard seltzer and other alcoholic beverages, James Quincey said, “We want to learn and understand more.” He also noted that Topo Chico hard seltzer’s early success was due to the pandemic and at-home consumption trend. “It’s not too surprising that some of the strong tailwinds the category got in the lockdowns have lessened, but we still think it’s very interesting,”


Nestlé Joins Starbucks In Plan To Expand Reach Of RTD Coffees

The collaboration would spread Starbucks RTD coffee beverages to select markets across Southeast Asia, Oceania, and Latin America by 2022. The two companies will focus at first on the most popular RTD products, such as Starbucks Frappuccino and Starbucks Doubleshot, which will be rolled out across a variety of channels, including online platforms. Nestlé and Starbucks have been working together for three years, in which time Starbucks branded coffee and tea products have penetrated 79 markets outside Starbucks retail stores. Sales of Starbucks products reached $2.96 billion in 2020, a double-digit organic growth level compared to 2019. 

Other Companies

Unilever Gets Ready To Divest Some Of Its Tea Brands

The London-based food and beverage company says “the operational separation of our tea business is now substantially complete,” so it’s only a matter of how the spinoff will happen. The company has three options – initial public offering, partnership, or sale – now that it has created what it calls “an attractive stand-alone business.” The Tazo, Pukka Herbs, T2, and other tea brands – employing approximately 3,500 around the world and operating 90 facilities – are included in the divestment. The company will continue operating its tea businesses in India and Indonesia and will remain in a joint venture with PepsiCo.

Zevia Pursues Global Expansion Plan

With the hiring of former Red Bull exec Amy Taylor as president, the Los Angeles-based maker of stevia-sweetened soft drinks, organic tea, energy drinks, and mixers has ramped up plans to build its brand and enter international markets. The company, founded in 2007 and still generating strong double-digit growth, sees marketing opportunities in immediate-consumption channels in foodservice and convenience, where Taylor has strong experience. In addition, it is looking closely at international markets such as the U.K., Australia, and Mexico, where pressure is intensifying to cut sugar. Ecommerce is a big part of the strategy as well. The key to the overall plan, however, is the fact that 50 jurisdictions around the world tax sugar, soda, or sugary beverages, and so “we're seeing not only huge consumer demand, but also retail demand for products that meet those regulatory structures,” says CEO Paddy Spence.

Green Boy Group Debuts Plant-Based Protein For Alternative Dairy Products

The Los Angeles-based plant-derived ingredients supplier with offices in Amsterdam and Sydney is launching Plant-Dairy Protein, a functional plant-based protein developed for alternative dairy producers. The company says its customers, who are developing “all sorts of forms and shapes” of plant-based products, want to create the ultimate plant-based cheeses, yogurts, and spreads. Plant-Dairy Protein is a “dairy grade” non-GMO functional plant-based protein powder with a neutral flavor profile, enhanced mouthfeel, and better nutritional properties that enlarge the textured aspects in plant-based dairy products. 

As It Sets Sights On Big Soda, Poppi Feels It’s Not Punching Above Its Weight

Carbonated soft drinks, dominated by heavyweights like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, is a notorious difficult market to crack. But specialty drink Poppi – crisp, lightly carbonated canned drinks infused with apple cider vinegar, fruit juices, cane sugar, and stevia blended into soda-inspired flavors – sees its “biggest competition as Big Soda.” It seems a little too ambitious, except when you consider that market trends point to growth in health-conscious beverages. In recent years, sales of sugary sodas have been sluggish as consumers demand alternative beverages with higher nutritional value, less sugar, and more mature flavors. That has created some elbow room for more “better for you” beverages, including functional drinks from smaller companies like Poppi. And health is still key to the brand, which is good for business strategy but also personal for co-founder Allison Ellsworth, who started experimenting with apple cider vinegar in 2016. Poppi can be found at Target, Whole Foods Market, Sprouts, Publix, HEB, Kroger, Safeway, and 7-Eleven. 

Health-Ade Re-Launches BFY Prebiotic Soda With New Formula, Packaging

The Los Angeles-based gut health beverage brand known for its flagship kombucha line has updated its prebiotic soda, Health-Ade Pop, formerly known as Health-Ade Booch Pop. The BFY soda features refreshed packaging, new formulations, and new flavors. The six flavor options include Pomegranate Berry, Lemon Lime, Ginger Fizz, Strawberry Vanilla, Apple Snap, and Juicy Grape. The company said it is launching a 360 omnichannel marketing campaign, called Get More, that pokes fun at the 90's infomercial trope. The company partnered with San Diego’s Grizzly studios to produce three video spots and a variety of other marketing materials to spread the word on Health-Ade Pop to U.S. households. The new drink is available at major national retailers (MSRP $2.99), including Whole Foods Market, CVS, and Walgreens, as well as online.

Start-Up Yoi Launches Probiotic Plant-Based Drinks Into Northern Calif. Market

The Fairfield, Calif.-based plant-based food and beverage start-up’s Probiotic Nut and Seedmilks are made in small batches from organic ingredients such as almonds, coconut, and pumpkin seeds. The founders of Yoi – the name means “good” in Japanese – say they were inspired by the ancient art of Japanese fermentation and the concept of ikigai (“your reason for being”). Yoi Probiotic Nut and Seedmilks, available in local independent retailers in the San Francisco Bay Area, are sold in 10-ounce bottles ($4.99) in strawberry, vanilla bean, pineapple, and cacao nib flavors; and in 23-ounce bottles in plain unsweetened and vanilla bean for $8.99. 

Medina Dairy Merges With Freshways

The U.K. dairy processors’ merger creates Medina Freshways and will have combined annual revenues of $553 million. Windsor-based Medina Dairy supplies milk, dairy, and bakery products to U.K. retailers, wholesalers and foodservice operators. London’s, Freshways Dairy, which claims to be the U.K.’s largest independent processing dairy, markets milk, cream, cheese, butter, and yogurt. The new business will reportedly employ 1,000 staff and process around 500 million liters of British Red Tractor farm-assured milk. The merger, which is subject to regulatory approval, will be effective by the end of 2021.

Dairy Co-op’s Nutrition Unit Turns Attention To Plant-Based Proteins

The nutrition division of the Laïta dairy cooperative (Brest, France), acknowledging that eating habits are changing, is increasing its focus on plant-based ingredients, particularly proteins. For Laïta Nutrition, these include proteins derived from soy, lupin, lentils, rice, corn, and hemp. The company, which offers a range of plant-based products for clinical nutrition, is developing a plant-based formulation for sports nutrition that will launch by 2022. Its range also targets the specialized medical and infant nutrition sectors. Laïta Nutrition estimates that the market for plant-based proteins represents nearly $12 billion around the world, with plant-based food sales outpacing total retail food sales by 35 percent. 
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