By Barry J. Nathanson
It’s been quite an active spring. Over the course of the last few weeks, I’ve had many old and new friends drop in to introduce their latest products for the marketplace. I’ve also had dozens of hour-long phone conversations from new and potential beverage marketers. They seek my counsel, support, and well-known cheerleading capabilities to advise them on the viability of their brand concepts and executions. I love that part of my job. The activity and excitement levels also provide a great barometric reading of the state of the industry. If these few months are any indication, the industry is headed in the right direction and innovation is still in vogue.
I’ve been introduced to soy, fiber, super berries, coconuts, energy, relaxation and sleep brands. I’ve seen packaging formats designed to give you the freshest of vitamins. I’ve sampled heart, joint, brain, skin and hair products. I’ve even been given cures for hangovers that I don’t get. Some of the beverages plan to bulk me up and others to slim me down. Function reigns in the majority of these brands, but there’s still a slew of old-fashioned teas, juices and lemonades coming out that have one function: to taste great. These new brands run across all categories. Everyone has a dream, a formula and a packaging concept to become the next great thing. After all these samplings, I considered donating my body to science to test the long-term physical ramifications of over-exposure to so many exotic beverages.
What all these new entrepreneurs have in common is the need to fully understand how to execute their ideas. My colleagues at BevNET and I have long given advice or steered them where to go. We talk function, efficacy and format every day, online and in our pages, so it was a logical extension to create our BevNET Live conferences. The educational and informational process we deliver continues unabated.
It is imperative that this creativity is encouraged and promoted. Each part of the process has taken a quantum leap forward. Flavor houses and product formulators are now so cutting-edge they enable marketers to actualize their concepts. State-of-the-art co-packing facilities help to reduce costs while enhancing safety and purity in the product line. Packaging design and execution has never been better. Now, it is the mission of retailers and distributors and wholesalers to take risks in adding truly innovative brands to their mix. If everyone steps up to the plate and works in harmony, beverages will be in a great place. We’ll do our part via the website, magazine and conference to keep the industry on top of the issues and trends. Do your part to execute the vision.