Ray Latif

Ray Latif

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Ray is the founder, executive producer and head writer of French Oak, an online television show that gives viewers comprehensive insight into the beer, wine and spirits scene in the Boston area. A graduate of Boston University’s School of Management, Ray has also run a consulting practice on behalf of private scholarship foundations in Greater Boston for nearly a decade.

Posts by Ray Latif

Video: Checking in with Hint’s Kara Goldin at the 2014 Winter Fancy Food Show

With updated branding, a new plastic package for its carbonated line and an emphasis on wider distribution of its products, Hint is positioning itself for broad growth in 2014. In this video, Hint CEO Kara Goldin discusses the company’s approach to marketing and retail strategy amid a sea of competing products, as well as Hint’s widening consumer base and distribution opportunities created by the new PET bottle.

Activate Co-Founder Now Sole Owner; Brand Looks to Natural Channel for Growth in 2014

Three weeks after BevNET reported on the Tata Group’s decision to cease all new investment in Activate, co-founder Anders Eisner confirmed that he has acquired all financial interest in the brand from Tata as well as that of Tornante Co., the investment firm owned by his father, former Disney chief Michael Eisner. The deals were completed on Jan. 1, and while Eisner declined to share terms of the deals, he stated that he is now the sole owner of the company.

New Coke-backed Stevia

A new stevia sweetener jointly developed by The Coca-Cola Co. and said to have a closer taste to table sugar than other stevia products has been cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). On Monday, the FDA issued a No Objection GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) letter to Pure Circle, one that will allow the stevia producer to supply its Rebaudioside M (Reb M) ingredient for use in food and beverages.

Winter Fancy Food Show ’14: Decadence, Health – How About Both?

Despite the Fancy’s Food’s Show’s penchant for lip-smacking and indulgent flavors, beverage companies aren’t dim about the overall consumer shift toward healthier living, and several of those exhibiting at the recent event showcased new products aimed at health-focused consumers with a discerning palate.

Calif. HPP Processor Sees Surging Demand for Co-Packing Services

While HPP Food Services sees sustained growth in its high pressure processing business, a rising number of new and existing customers have begun to eschew capital investment in expensive juicing and pressing equipment in favor of contract production and co-packing services, and as result, it’s the company’s manufacturing arm that’s attracting an even greater level of interest and demand.

Video: A Behind-The-Scenes Look at Evolution Fresh’s New $70 Million Juicery & Interview with Founder Jimmy Rosenberg

In recent interview filmed on location at the company’s vast headquarters and juicery in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., founder and “Chief Juice Officer” Jimmy Rosenberg sat down with BevNET CEO John Craven for a wide-ranging interview in which Rosenberg offers his views on the rapid emergence of the cold-pressed juice category — and its impact on the overall juice market — as well as his long term vision for Evolution Fresh.

Video: Mamma Chia CEO – Mainstream Has Been “Phenomenal” for Us

In a recent interview, Mamma Chia CEO Janie Hoffman explained that sales of of its chia-infused drinks have “doubled, if not tripled, with going into mainstream,” in large part due to rapidly growing awareness of chia — and its nutritional content — among mainstream consumers, and noted that the rapid and positive trajectory of the brand has given it the ability to innovate and take a leadership position in the world of chia.

Nielsen Numbers: CSD Sales Decline Slows, But Category Remains Under Pressure

A new Wells Fargo Securities report covering Nielsen xAOC (expanded all outlets combined) sales data over a four-week period ending on Dec. 21 indicated that sales of carbonated soft drinks saw a minor decline in sales growth as compared to the same timeframe in the previous year, but that the category is still facing a difficult road ahead as consumers continue to shift to other beverage categories.