As CSD sales continue to diminish and sweetener evolution carries on, pundits and industry players want to know how the cola giants will react. What’s the next big thing? Bloomberg Television anchor Betty Liu sat down with PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi and wanted to know herself: what’s the company’s next billion dollar brand?
Nooyi, well versed in refracting big-money questions, instead pointed to her company’s existing portfolio. She said that PepsiCo has 22 billion-dollar brands. She’s working on strengthening brands 15-22.
“Our 22 billion-dollar brands, I think, are going to become more and more powerful going into the future,” Nooyi said.
When Liu expressed her belief that Coca-Cola and PepsiCo may have missed out on the energy drink market, the refraction continued. Nooyi pointed to energy as a need state, claiming that her company’s successful partnership with Starbucks has met this demand. For example, Starbucks Frappuccinos are the top-selling RTD coffee.
“We’re addressing that energy need space through multiple offerings,” she said.
Even with a focus on strengthening its core, PepsiCo has already been working with manufacturers and machinery that could compete with SodaStream, the at-home soda kit. Nooyi doesn’t yet believe that this industry has reached a big enough size, but when it does, PepsiCo will be ready to strike. She acknowledges the possibility that the at-home soda kit business could diminish core sales, but she also sees room for new products and opportunities.
“I think there’s a place for both,” she said. “The challenge is to play both of these intelligently to grow the whole pie.”
Speaking of pie, Rob Rhinehart doesn’t eat it. In fact, he doesn’t eat anything. He drinks Soylent.
Lizzie Widdicombe of The New Yorker profiles Rhinehart and his supershake innovation: a beige blend of 34 nutrients. The blend follows the idea of “life hacking,” a trendy creation from efficiency enclaves like Silicon Valley. It’s the idea that we can omit the inefficiencies of life through technology and a little bit of thinking differently. For example, we can get the nutritional benefits of fruit that’s mostly water without eating fruit itself.
Soylent, which was shipped last week across the U.S. to its first 30,000 customers, undoubtedly packs a futuristic feel. It was named after the 1973 sci-fi film Soylent Green, set in a dystopian future where people eat wafers called Soylent Green, later revealed to be made of human flesh.
However, even with his space-age, hyper-productive intentions, Rhinehart doesn’t want to omit the cultural and familial traditions of eating.
“Soylent isn’t coming for our Sunday potlucks,” Widdicombe writes. “It’s coming for our frozen quesadillas.”
Knowing that Soylent has no plans to take over Sunday potlucks, watermelons will remain a staple of American cuisine. However, on a recent ABC News clip, WTRMLN WTR co-founder Jody Levy talks about her potential competition. She refers to her product as “the natural Viagra” because it contains 520 grams of citrulline, which can open up veins and arteries to improve blood flow and reduce blood pressure, according to WebMD.
“We call it liquid love,” Levy said.