Bevscape Innovation

Probiotics Growing More Accepted

Probiotics, an ingredient class that, not so long ago elicited a blank stare from the average consumer, are becoming both better understood and more accepted, according to a recent report from Datamonitor.

Datamonitor found that 38 percent of Americans trusted functional claims made in connection with probiotics, while only 14 percent found them untrustworthy, and the market for probiotic products has grown. The segment posted $951 million in sales in 2003, Datamonitor said, and $1.5 billion in 2008.

And, according to a 2008 survey from Opinion Research Corporation, there’s still plenty of room for the category to expand. Only 15 percent of America adults were familiar with the concept of beneficial bacteria, the group said.

Datamonitor projected that America will one-day reach the level of probiotic acceptance that exists in Japan, where the idea of consuming a daily probiotic beverage is a normal part of life.

These findings come on top of a recent study from Danisco that found that probiotics may relieve the symptoms of birch pollen allergies. That research, according to the company, opens to door to using probiotics in antihistamine functions.

Organic Label Loses its Cache

The organic label, long one of the beverage entrepreneur’s favorite touch points, isn’t what it used to be.

One of the most recognizable organic brands – Horizon Organic – is moving away from the label with a new product, and a recent report from the Washington Post found that many products that are labeled organic contain non-organic – even synthetic – ingredients.

The original organics law allowed 5 percent of a certified organic product to consist of non-organic substances as long as they were approved by the National Organic Standards Board. That list originally contained 77 substances that had no organic alternative. Now, the list has grown to 245.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack pledged to protect the label from mounting pressures to loosen standards, and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said that, if the government doesn’t protect the standards for the organic label “the program is finished. It could disappear overnight.”

That disappearance may already be on its way. Milk producer Horizon is introducing products for children that will bear a “natural” label in place of the USDA organic seal in an effort to offer a product that’s easier on consumers’ wallets. It’s worth noting that an 8 oz. single serve Tetrapak of Horizon Organic can retail for more than $3.

More Social Marketing = More Profits

More social marketing correlated to higher revenue growth – even during the recession – according to a new study from Wetpaint and the Altimeter Group.

The study focused on those brands included in the 2008 BusinessWeek/Interbrand Best Global Brands survey, and separated each into one of four groups based on how many social media channels the brand engaged with, and how deeply.

Those that engaged most with social media saw revenues grow by an average of 18 percent, while the least engaged brands saw their earnings drop by 6 percent, the report said. Additionally, the most engaged group increased gross margins faster than others, and was the only quadrant to increase net margin growth over the last year.

The researchers admit that they can’t prove a causal connection between social media engagement causes better revenues, but they’ve found a strong correlation. And it could mean that beverage companies like BAWLS Guarana, Sweet Leaf Tea and High Voltage Beverages – all of which have made serious marketing pushes on the internet – are on the right track.