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Beverage Innovation

Tracking The Drinks Marketplace


Coca-Cola Africa Survives Pandemic’s Impact By “Doing Things Differently”

The COVID-19 pandemic forced Coca-Cola’s African business “to do things differently,” according to Bruno Pietracci, Coca-Cola’s president of Africa. The company, for example, moved 500 people from physical offices to remote working overnight. It took only a week to start producing package labels that included government-approved communications for safety, sanitization of hands, social distancing, etc. The supply chain, including concentrate plants, warehouses, trucks, continued operating without any major interruption. In addition, the Africa unit boosted the leadership team, made plans to sell its stake in a major bottling partner, and redefined its relationship to the Atlanta HQ. All of this occurred during a big shift from out-of-home consumption to in-home consumption that led to a drop in sales in 2020, though 2021 results are bouncing back. Parent company Coke, meanwhile, continues plans to sell some of its shares in Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) via an IPO. 

Nigeria’s Coca-Cola Businesses Pledges Further Investment In The Country

The Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) Limited and Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, celebrating 70 years of Coca-Cola’s presence in the African nation, together have pledged to invest $1.4 billion (N 560 billion) in Nigeria over the next five years. Mathieu Seguin, managing director of NBC, said that as the company grows it is “very deliberate about investing heavily to make a positive impact in the lives of people in communities where we work and operate.” Over the past decade NBC has invested more than $22 million in “lifting the living standards of communities where we do business in Nigeria.”

Coca-Cola HBC Acquires 30 Percent Stake In Italian Coffee Company

The Zug, Switzerland-based bottler’s minority stake gives it an exclusive distribution agreement for Casa del Caffè Vergnano's products in CCHBC’s territories outside of Italy.  The Italian coffee roaster, one of the oldest in the country, sells traditional espresso in various blends, packages, and formats such as beans, roast and ground coffee, and single portioned pods. In 2020, the company sold approx. 7,000 tons of coffee in more than 90 countries. CCHBC says the investment is “highly complementary” to its Costa coffee business while providing Caffè Vergnano with significant expansion potential. 

Swire Coca-Cola Builds $140M Bottling Plant In Central China

The Hong Kong-based Coca-Cola bottler is spending $140 million on construction of a bottling plant in Zhengzhou, capital of central China's Henan Province. Covering 124,000 square meters, it will be operational by 2023 with an annual production capacity of a million metric tons. The company says it will invest more than $853 million in factory infrastructure in China over the next five years, adding 20 production lines while spending on sustainable development projects in carbon reduction and water-saving in the country. One of the largest Coca-Cola bottling groups in the world, Swire Coca-Cola has 18 plants on the Chinese mainland.

Other Companies

Hershey Debuts Almond Drink In India

The Mumbai-based unit of candy maker Hershey said it has expanded its portfolio of the plant-based drink brand Sofit in India with the launch of Sofit Almond drink. According to the company, Indians consider almonds to be a functional superfood that improves cognitive memory and immunity, in addition to reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and blood pressure. The company also sells Sofit soya milk in India.

Britvic Switches To Recycled Clear Bottles For Kids Drink Brand

The new clear bottles for its Robinsons Fruit Shoot brand are made from 100 percent recycled plastic that feature a new design. The reformulated fruit drinks are available in 275 ml bottles and 4x200 ml and 8x200 ml packs in orange, apple & blackcurrant, summer fruits, and apple flavors. Eighty percent of parents surveyed said “they would trust Frit Shoot more if it was packaged in a clear bottle” that showed Fruit Shoot was more natural than they thought. The company said kids’ drinks are performing well (22 percent annual growth) so it was “time to bring Fruit Shoot to the forefront on shelves and in chillers, with updated bottles, packaging and a reformulated liquid.”

Pandemic-Bruised Consumers Look To Retailers For BFY Drinks

The severity of the pandemic has convinced many consumers that staying healthy and hydrated can be accomplished, at least partly, by consuming functional better-for-you beverages packaged in eco-friendly, recyclable bottles and cans. Fifty-six percent of adults use functional beverages to treat or prevent a specific condition, according to a Hartman Group. Functional goals include hydration (34 percent), energy (18 percent), general prevention (15 percent), and immunity (13 percent). Another is gut health. Manufacturers are responding to these demands by launching new products, accentuating their wellness benefits, and packaging them in recycled or recyclable bottles. A Coca-Cola exec says consumers want zero-sugar drinks, and beverages that help improve physical and mental health but also deliver comfort and indulgence from familiar brands. 

Chinese Coffee Drinkers Like Plant-Based Creamers, Including Potato Milk

Consumers in China are increasingly attracted to plant-based milk as a creamer alternative to cow’s milk. It’s not surprising, considering the fact that a large majority of Chinese people have trouble to some degree digesting the sugars in animal milk. In addition to oat milk, Chinese consumers can choose milk made from soy, coconut, peas, and now potatoes. According to research company Internet Personality, if the Swedish oat milk brand Oatley can gain popularity in China, then “potato milk has plenty of potential as well."  

Xebra Brands To Launch Pot-Infused Lemonade In Canada

The Vancouver, B.C.-based beverage company will launch its Vicious Citrus brand in British Columbia and Ontario early next year ahead of an expansion to “other provinces”. BevCanna will handle the production of the lemonade, with Xebra becoming its fifth cannabis “white-label client” in the country.  In addition to Vicious Citrus, Xebra’s cannabis drinks portfolio also includes HighJack energy drink and CBD sports beverage Conquer. BevCanna acquired the Naturo Group, which owned the Trace line of plant-based mineral and sparkling beverages, a year ago.

Day One Relaunches Its CBD-Infused Sparkling Water Brand

The Los Angeles-based company says its cannabidiol-laced seltzers, recognizable by the cobalt blue cans, are zero-calorie, unsweetened, and flavored with real fruit juice. The two-year-old brand recently relaunched after a brief hiatus away from store shelves. According to founder/CEO Chris Clifford, the company “took the brand offline to regroup, restructure, and improve our formula.” Noting that the “timing and strategy” hadn’t been right, the company adjusted its price to make the product more accessible while adjusting the marketing message – “a positive message” about CBD-infused beverages. The product is available now for U.S. consumers at www.drinkdayone.com, and will soon be sold In stores in Southern California, Texas, Ohio, Kansas, Illinois, and Tennessee.
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