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Beverage Innovation

Tracking The Drinks Marketplace


Coke’s President And CFO Talks About The Company’s Digital Revolution, Including AI

John Murphy, president and CFO of Coca-Cola, has been talking about how the company has been investing in digital, a must-have which he thinks of as a capability, a medium and a disruptor. On the capability issue, Coca-Cola has recently invested in a “very, very large upgrade” for its SAP ERP, but more interesting is its use of next-gen AI, such as the company’s AI-powered holiday card generator, launched for the 2023 festive season, producing content for sharing across social media. Digital has also been used in the brand’s futuristic drinks, such as Coca-Cola Y3000, designed using AI. As a medium, 60 percent of its media spend is digital, up from 30 percent four years ago, and as a disruptor, digital can and should revolutionize companies and how they work.

Powerade Suffers New Adverse Claims Ruling In Gatorade Dispute

The BBB National Programs’ National Advertising Review Board has upheld recommendations that Coca-Cola changes its Powerade marketing material after complaints that its advertising overplays the brand’s benefits. It followed an earlier ruling from the National Advertising Division that recommended the claims were modified or withdrawn. The dispute related to claims, in both videos and social media, as well as on packaging, that Powerade had “more electrolytes vs the leading sports drink”. NAD concluded that the claims of ‘50% more electrolytes’ exaggerated the significance of nutrient differences that implied it enabled better performance and hydration than the Gatorade brand’s products. Coca-Cola challenged the August ruling, but the NARB said the company should “avoid conveying the message that Powerade provides a material increase in electrolytes or better performance or hydration than Gatorade or that drinking Powerade will make you stronger than drinking Gatorade”.  

HCCB To Build New Production Facility In Maharashtra

A new state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in the state of Maharashtra is being built by Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages. It will be in the Ratnagiri district, at the MIDC Lote Parshuram Industrial Area. Investment of Rs$13.9m (some $166m) on the 88-acre site will see operations start in 2025, creating 350 jobs directly and indirectly, and the company says it is committed to “education, water conservation, and community engagement” in the state.  

Other Companies

VUUM Launches With Three Carbonated Plant-Protein Beverages In Cans

Health and wellness brand VUUM has launched with a carbonated plant-protein drink containg 10g of plant-based protein and 135mg natural caffeine from guarana seed extract and green tea extract in each 355ml can, priced at $4.49 each and available from drinkvuum.com. The formulation also contains theanine and amino acids for performance, endurance and recovery, as well as vitamins C, B12 and D, zinc and magnesium. There are three flavors: White Peach Citrus Ginger, Strawberry Tangerine and Berries.

Vita Coco Founder Talks About His “Holy S***” Moment When Coca-Cola Acquired Zico

Taking on Coca-Cola head-on is a brave move, but Michael Kirban has been doing just that. He’s the co-founder and executive chairman of The Vita Coco Company, which was selling around $15 million of products by 2010. However, Coca-Cola decided in 2009 to buy a 20 percent stake in Vita Coco’s great rival Zico, and then acquired the remaining stake four years later. Vita Coco went on the offensive and now boasts a market cap of $1.6 billion with almost half of the US coconut water market, according to its SEC filings. In contrast, Zico has struggled as part of the beverage giant and was reacquired by founder Mark Rampolla in 2021. Talking to CNBC, Kirban outlines the journey from the time he realized Zico was being taken under Coca-Cola’s wing, and his initial reaction of “holy s---, we’re dead”. An endorsement by Madonna was a great help, as was her investment in the brand alongside others including Matthew McConaughey and Demi Moore. Vita Coco also partnered with Keurig Dr Pepper in 2010, giving it access to the third-largest distributor in the US.

H2OPS Hop Water Is Now Certified USDA Organic And Sold In Cans

H2OPS Inc., a craft brewed hop water producer, has achieved USDA Organic status and moved from glass bottles into aluminum cans. Co-founder Paul Tecker said that only now is the supply of organic hops sufficiently stable for the brand to make the organic pledge, even though less than 1 percent of US hop production is certified organic. The brand also claims a strong commitment to the environment, and especially on recycling and reducing plastic usage, highlighting the work involved in moving from glass bottles to printed cans, eschewing the option of glass bottles with plastic labels. H2OPS products can be found in natural food stores like Whole Foods Market as well as local independent grocery stores and specialty beverage stores, and online at H2OPS.com and Amazon.com. Unlike non-alcoholic beer, hop water has no grains or yeast, and has zero alcohol, calorie and gluten.          

heywell Expands Distribution Of Its Sparkling Adaptogenic Water To New Retail Partners

Chicago-based sparkling adaptogenic water brand heywell is expanding distribution to new retailers, including Wegmans, Mariano's and Heinen's. This year, it launched two new products, bringing the portfolio to six SKUs. In March, it launched Energy + lift orange mango and in the summer it launched a custom collaboration with convenience brand Foxtrot Market. heywell has tripled its Amazon business since March and is expecting a five-fold increase next year. CEO Ashley Selman said: “There is growing aspiration to be well and people are increasingly turning to food and beverage for their everyday well-being," but consumers don’t want to compromise on taste. Other flavors include energy + focus sparkling strawberry lemon; energy + immunity sparkling grapefruit; calm + restore sparkling blackberry ginger; and calm + hydrate sparkling lime.
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