For the past six years, Q Drinks’ founder Jordan Silbert has taken a slow and careful approach to line extensions, gradually evolving from a single-SKU tonic water to its current lineup, which includes a number of sodas and sparkling fruit drinks, all of which are packaged in glass bottles. Yet, when as massive a retailer as Target comes calling — and is asking for cans — Silbert knew that had to make a move and do it fast.
With several intriguing product debuts and packaging updates from a number of the 50 beverage brands represented at the show, including Hint, Purity Organic, Califia Farms, ITO En and Q Drinks, attendees caught a glimpse of new beverage trends and innovation that are likely to remain on a steady course throughout 2014.
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.
Although the emergence of chia as an ingredient originated from within the natural channel — and remains in high demand among natural consumers — Chia\Vie, a line of ground chia seed and fruit juice smoothies, is attempting to take advantage of growing awareness and consumption of chia through placement and positioning of the brand in grocery and club stores.
What a difference a year makes. Yes, most of the big beverage players were present at the 2013 NACS (National Association of Convenience Stores) Show; The Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo, Dr Pepper Snapple, Red Bull and Monster Energy all featured the usual mega booths that attendees are used to seeing at the event. But unlike years past, the NACS show in Atlanta was notable for what it was missing: many of the natural and functional brands that we saw in 2012.
Launched in 2012, Motto, which markets a sparkling matcha tea, has racked up a number of wins over the past year, including the top spot at BevNET Live’s New Beverage Showdown 5 and new distribution in natural and specialty retailers along the East Coast and in Kroger-owned stores in Colorado.
Although the use of HPP has been limited to a handful of beverages in the juice and coconut water categories, the processing method — which uses pressure instead of heat to make a raw product safe to consume — has for the first time been employed in a tea drink. And, unsurprisingly, it’s the restless folks at Harmless Harvest, which helped pioneer the use of HPP in beverages, who are behind it.
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.
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With a major round of investment in hand, Suja is set to launch a third line of cold-pressed/high pressure processed juice products, one that CEO Jeff Church hopes will catapult the brand into mainstream consciousness and attract a broad base of consumers.
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.
The brand’s parent company, Talking Rain, has cobbled together a national network for reaching convenience stores, CEO Kevin Klock told BevNET Editor Jeffrey Klineman during a wide ranging interview on the floor of the NACS (National Association of Convenience Stores) Show.
While it’s still early for the line of ginger-based drinks, founder Ruben Canada believes that Jin+Ja has and will continue to benefit from a solid footing in formulation, packaging and branding. “I think a big part of [our success] is making sure that we nailed it as far as making sure that we had a good foundation for the brand,” Canada said in an interview at the 2013 Natural Products Expo East show.
In this video filmed at Green Mustache’s booth at Expo East, founder VanTrang Manges spoke about the launch of her brand of organic fruit and vegetable juice kids’ smoothies and initial reception for the products. Manges also discussed the challenges associated with her foray into the beverage industry, and navigating the complexities of manufacturing as well as sales and marketing.
In this video, BevNET CEO John Craven and Editor-in-Chief Jeff Klineman examine the impact of Expo East for small and emerging brands and how new companies have used innovation to differentiate themselves and, in the process, altered the trajectory of natural beverage categories.