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Beverage Innovation

Tracking The Drinks Marketplace


Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company Ranked Most Sustainable Beverage Company In Europe

For the eleventh year running, Coca-Cola HBC is a top three most sustainable beverage company in Europe, and this year hit top spot, according to the 2021 Dow Jones Sustainability Index. Some of its environmental achievements include 1.8 million tonnes of CO2e saved across the value chain, saving 6.5 billion liters of water in operations during the last 10 years; 98% of goods and raw material sourced from local suppliers; and launching five water brands in 100% rPET bottles in six markets.

Other Companies

Private Equity Firm Picks Up A Smucker Beverage Business

Nexus Capital Management LP completed the $110 million acquisition of two businesses from J.M. Smucker Co., including R.W. Knudsen, which manufactures fruit and vegetable juices. The deal also included the acquisition of TruRoots, which processes products based on grains, beans and seeds, as well as a licensing agreement for Santa Cruz Organic beverages. Nexus said the companies will be led by Bobby Chacko, most recently CEO at Ocean Spray Cranberries. 

Waterdrop Brand Closes $70 Million Series B Financing

Hydration brand waterdrop completed a Series B financing round to support global expansion and R&D. The brand was established in 2016 to encourage people to drink more water but in a way friendlier to the environment. The company says it has so far replaced up to 30 million plastic bottles with its  “microdrinks,” which were introduced to the U.S. last year. The sugar-free, low-calorie cubes contain botanical extracts, and the company claims each one uses 98% less plastic and carbon dioxide emissions than standard bottles of water. Variants include Focus, Love, Boost, Youth and Zen. They each contain a broad range of botanicals and vitamins.

SKITTLES, C4 Energy Partnership Brings New Energy Drinks

A partnership between Nutrabolt’s C4 Energy brand and Mars Wrigley, which delivered the launch of its STARBURST® candy collaboration, now includes a collaboration between C4 Energy and the SKITTLES® brand. The result is a fruity energy drink in time for Valentine's Day that tastes like SKITTLES® candy. To go with the launch, the collaboration is tapping brand ambassadors like Ron "Boss" Everline, Nutrabolt's Chief Fitness and Business Ambassador and celebrity trainer; Suzette James, a contestant on Fox's Joe Millionaire; Thor Bradley, a TikTok favorite lumberjack; and the internet star Jason Diaz. Digital content will include nostalgic inspiration from the SKITTLES brand and C4 Energy’s performance mentality. The SKITTLES® candy flavors are in 16-ounce cans and are available at C4Energy.com, Amazon, and in over 45,000 stores, including major grocery and convenience store chains. The beverages contain no artificial colors, dyes, sugar or carbs. They do contain functional ingredients like CarnoSyn® beta-alanine amino acid for muscular endurance and BetaPower®, a form of anhydrous betaine for cellular hydration.

Primo Plus™ Alkaline Water Launched In Select Locations

Primo Water Corporation announced the launch of a new alkaline water brand, Primo Plus, adding to Primo Water’s current North America portfolio of 12 regional and three national brands across the U.S. and Canada. The zero-calorie drink is available in 3-gallon bottles for home or office delivery, and in select retail locations. It can be bought in Sacramento and Southern California from January 31, and in Orlando from February 14, with a wider rollout planned for the first half of 2022. 

CELSIUS Launches New Flavor Exclusively At 7-Eleven And Speedway

Sparkling Mango Passionfruit, the new CELSIUS flavor, is now available, but only at some 7-Eleven and Speedway stores. 7-Eleven says the new variant is perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up or to pair with the convenience stores’ snacks. Until February 22, shoppers can buy any two CELSIUS flavors from participating 7-Eleven stores for $4.25, and through February 6, 7-Eleven will give customers one free CELSIUS Sparkling Mango Passionfruit when they order through the 7NOW delivery app.

Brain Health A Strong Opportunity For Beverage Innovation

Options supporting focus and cognition are a major trend in functional beverage products for consumers across the age spectrum as concerns are raised about debilitating conditions like Alzheimer’s. David Tetzlaf of Blue California says managing stress and improving focus are growing concerns even among the younger generations. He adds that beverage brands can benefit as attention moves towards mental health, especially in the wake of the pandemic. The gaming community is a particular opportunity for beverage makers, with gamers seeking products that allow them to fuel their lifestyle. Stress and mood are major concerns for younger consumers, and Laurentia Guesman from AIDP Inc. believes this drives demand for products that don’t come with negative side effects. One survey found strong agreement that there is a link between cognitive and general health. New products and brands are emerging to address the trend, such as IQBAR, a brain and body nutrition startup that launched IQMIX, a hydration stick pack that contains ingredients focusing on brain function, like the Lion’s Mane adaptogen and Magtein. Last year, NASCAR Cup Champion Kyle Busch and drinks entrepreneur Jeff Church extended their Rowdy Energy range, a better-for-you energy drink with electrolytes, natural caffeine and nootropic L-Theanine. David Tetzlaf says emerging nootropics for cognition benefits include L-Theanine, ginseng and mushrooms. AIDP offers Magtein and BacoMind, a “memory and cognition enhancing” phytochemical composition derived Bacopa monnieri, a plant often used in ayurvedic medicine. 

VINA Prebiotic Soda Reformulated For Brain And Gut Health

Prebiotic soda brand VINA has been reformulated with a proprietary blend of minerals, prebiotics and plant fibers to target the connection between brain- and gut-health. The brand has also updated its identity and packaging to better reflect the focus on the brain-gut link, connected by neurotransmitters. VINA's Chief Smarts Officer, Dr. Cynthia Kerson, explains that the neurotransmitters bidirectionally link the brain and gut. Stress and anxiety in the mind can lead to gut problems such as mild discomfort to GI tract issues, and serotonin, which affects our mood, is partly made by gut microbes. There are five flavors - Ginger Fizz, Cherry Pop, Grapefruit, Lime Lemon and Pomegranate – all with no more than 5g of sugar and 25 or fewer calories, and are certified USDA Organic, gluten-free and vegan.

Immune Care Is The Focus For Kirin Beverage’s 2022 Strategy

Kirin Beverage’s 2022 strategic plan focuses on sustainable branding and immune care, and will  transform its branding towards that reflecting a health beverage company, but still leveraging its traditional beverages. To support this, it is launching the Kirin iMuse Morning Immune Care probiotic drink in March in Japan. In 2021, Kirin Holdings launched a patented Immuse ingredient derived from the Lactococcus lactis bacterium for European markets, and Kirin’s paraprobiotic LC Plasma drinks are predicted to grow by 9% in the functional foods market tis year, with its health drinks to rise by 5%. Last year, Kirin bolstered its functional beverage portfolio by launching its black and green teas.

SWAY Energy Expands Its Distribution Network

Sway Energy Corp. is partnering with new distributors and retailers in states such as Texas, Georgia, and Colorado, extending its product reach across the U.S. The SWAY energy drink products will from this spring be carried by AB One, Glazer's Beer & Beverage, New Age Beverage, United Distributors of GA, QuikTrip, HEB, HyVee, and several Albertsons/Safeway divisions. Raj Beri, CEO, Founder and Chairman of Elegance Brands, says consumers “are finding that clean ingredients and sustainable energy can be possible in an easy-to-drink beverage without the crash or the junk." Sway Energy Corp. recently announced its new name and rebranding to focus on SWAY Energy and ready-to-drink cocktail VOCO products. SWAY Energy products blend all-natural ingredients and contain no sugar or artificial flavors. There are 160mg of green tea caffeine and the recommended 100% daily value of vitamins A, B6, B12, C and D, for aiding muscle formation, boosting energy, and promoting natural immunity.
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