The triumphant push of coconut water has influenced mainstream consumers to think about water in different terms and paved the way for the next tier of coconut water brands, such as Harmless Harvest and Zola. At Natural Products Expo West 2014 in Anaheim, Calif., yet another tier seemed to be taking shape. But it wasn’t coconut water; it was an amalgam of offbeat water brands. We had maple water, birch tree water and barley water. We had cactus water, olive water and even artichoke water.
Amid a winding web of booths comprised of thousands of exhibitors, including over 200 beverage companies, and a record-setting 67,000 attendees crammed within the halls of the Anaheim Convention Center,…
Having established itself as a leading player in the rarified realm of “third wave coffee,” Chameleon Cold-Brew has now set its sights on bringing high-end coffee to a broader base of consumers with a new line of single-serve, ready-to-drink products.
While established beverage brands took advantage of the high-profile event to announce line extensions, updated formulations and packaging revamps, a significant number of early-stage companies utilized Expo West to introduce their products to swarms of distributors, retailers and media personnel walking the show floor. Covering every new product introduction or revamp at Expo West was no easy task, but our team was up for the challenge.
Natural Products Expo West 2014 offered buyers looking for new kids’ beverages several glimpses of new drinks that definitely colored outside the lines of longtime market stalwarts Capri Sun or Kool-Aid. But perhaps the most consistent idea was that some of the drinks featured products that had been repurposed from products or brands aimed for adults.
After a long search for capital that had hampered business development and, ultimately, its ability to service some clients, natural and specialty DSD distributor Green Shoots announced yesterday that it has landed what it termed “its first multi-million-dollar capital raise” – right on the eve of its client base’s biggest sales event, Natural Products Expo West.
Two of the revisions would have particularly broad ramifications for the beverage industry: first, the FDA has proposed that “Added Sugars” be added to the labels, thereby indicating the amount of extra sweetening that has been added to a product, and second, “serving size” would be more in line with the size of an immediate consumption package — so the nutritional content of a drink in a 12 oz. or 20 oz. package would reflect that entire package, rather than the current standard of an 8 oz. serving.
The NBA’s Black Mamba may be winding down his basketball career, but when it comes to the beverage business, Kobe Bryant is just getting started. In an interview with ESPN’s Darren Rovell, Bryant revealed that he has made a multi-million dollar investment in BodyArmor, the functional sports drink brand launched by FUZE founder Lance Collins and helmed by Mike Repole, the co-founder of Vitaminwater.
For one of the country’s hottest brands in the natural channel, Natural Products Expo West 2014 also seemed to be something of a point of departure for Kevita, a fast-growing sparkling probiotic brand that aims for 100 percent growth annually for the next five years – and has hit that mark for the past two, according to co-founder Bill Moses.
A recent announcement from new Coke VEB President Scott Uzzell has answered the succession question for portfolio brand ZICO. Tom Larsen, who has been the general manager of VEB’s Illy RTD coffee business, will take over as President and GM of ZICO. Larsen, a long-time Coke veteran, will be moving from Atlanta to run ZICO from its El Segundo, Calif. base.
Here’s a math problem for you: if the show floor at Natural Products Expo West 2014 encompassed over 1 million square feet, how big do you think the proverbial elephant in the room (in this case, the Anaheim Convention Center) would have to be? Gargantuan, for sure, and for beverage exhibitors at the event, it was clear that the mammoth in the room is known as Whole Foods. The clout and sway of the natural grocer was in full display at Expo West.
In short, we’re exhausted. Natural Products Expo West 2014 was an incredible show in every aspect, and the BevNET team had a lot to cover. Over the next two weeks, we’ll be releasing a wide range of multimedia content from Expo West, including stories on emerging trends in beverage innovation and retail distribution, video profiles on several new brands and a photo gallery on new products launches featured at the show.
There’s breaking news out of Coke’s Venturing and Emerging Brands unit (VEB) today, as Coca-Cola Co. CEO Muhtar Kent announced in an internal memo that Deryck Van Rensburg, who has run VEB since its inception, will become the President of the newly created Coca-Cola/Keurig Ventures, a joint venture formed as a result of Coke’s recent multimillion dollar investment in Green Mountain Coffee Co.
Okay, we’ll call it a draw. Zola and Vita Coco have tied in the race to be the first to announce that they will be rolling out a product that combines two of the fastest-growing beverage trends, coconut water and lemonade. Zola is going ingredient-first, calling its product “Coconut Water Lemonade,” while Vita Coco is sticking with the brand, calling itself “Vita Coco Lemonade.”