Ray Latif

Posts by Ray Latif

Spice Attacks the Beverage Aisle

Demand for peppery potables has not only generated a significant amount of innovation in the spirits category, the non-alcoholic beverage side of the market is also evolving. Spicy ingredients are making their way into a number of beverage categories at a steady rate, often used to enhance the final product rather than showcased a primary taste.

Tio Gazpacho Rounding Out $500K Raise

Soup-in-a-bottle brand Tio Gazpacho is aiming to wrap up a $500,000 round of funding that will be used primarily to expand sales and marketing of its high pressure processed, organic gazpacho products, according to company founder Austin Allan.

Fenwick Brands Acquires Minority Stake in Powell & Mahoney

Craft mixer brand Powell & Mahoney has completed its first round of outside investment, pulling in new capital from three sources, including Fenwick Brands, a middle market investor and operator focused on the consumer packaged goods space.

Peet's to Acquire Majority Stake in Intelligentsia

Just weeks after Peet’s Coffee & Tea announced that it would acquire third-wave coffee darling Stumptown Coffee Roasters, the company is making another blockbuster investment in the super-premium coffee segment, today announcing that it has agreed to buy a majority stake in specialty roaster and retailer Intelligentsia Coffee.

News Skoop: Mix1 Founders Back in the Game

For Greg Stroh, Healthy Skoop represents an opportunity to avoid many of the challenges associated with ready-to-drink products, including the formulation blunders and distribution woes that he encountered with mix1, while still offering shelf-stable, healthy and innovative food options for consumers.

Reaction to the Peet’s/Stumptown Deal

While consumer reaction to the deal varied (some fretted about the possibility of decline in quality of Stumptown coffee), industry executives and analysts largely praised it as one that will build upon growing awareness and demand for packaged cold brew products.

5-hour Energy Founder Invests in Global Change

Eleven years since the launch of 5-hour Energy, sales of the energy shots have made founder Manoj Bhargava a billionaire several times over. He’s already pledged to give the vast majority of that wealth to charitable causes before he dies. Now he’s using some of his money to fuel innovation that addresses global health and sustainability issues.

Video: A Recap of NACS 2015

Many beverage exhibitors at the 2015 NACS show indicated that convenience store operators are -- like their counterparts in grocery and club -- increasingly looking to add natural and better-for-you beverages to their shelves and coolers. It’s a trend that, for C-stores, has been bubbling at the surface for years, but appears to have achieved significant traction over the past 12 months.

Monster Energy Being Sold in 20 McDonald’s Stores

While McDonald’s declined to say if it would add Monster products to more locations, the test is one of a number of recent attempts by the company -- including the addition of an all-day breakfast menu and a kale burger -- to breathe new life into its stores, which have seen sliding sales since 2012.

NACS 2015 Video: Checking In With Aquahydrate CEO Hal Kravitz

At the 2015 NACS show, BevNET sat down with Aquahydrate CEO Hal Kravitz for a video interview that covered several topics, including the company’s celebrity owners, Aquahydrate’s positioning as a “performance lifestyle brand,” and the non-traditional marketing approach of the alkaline water line.

NACS 2015 Video: Mamma Chia’s C-Store Strategy

In a video interview filmed at the 2015 NACS show, Matt Buckley, Mamma Chia's senior vice president of sales and marketing, discussed the company’s foray into convenience stores, noting that the retailing channel may offer access to millennial consumers.

NACS 2015 Video: Voss Finds Its Flavor

Premium water brand Voss has introduced its first flavored line extensions. Packaged in Voss’ cylindrical glass bottles, Lemon Cucumber and Tangerine Lemongrass joined the brand’s subset of sparkling waters.