Hillary and Bernie Spar on Soda Tax
Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have opposing views on the merits of a supplemental tax on soda and other sugary beverages. The New York Times has explored the latest disagreement between the two presidential hopefuls on the heels of Clinton’s endorsement of a proposal in Philadelphia that would place a 3-cents-per-ounce tax on sugary beverages. Sanders has since come out in opposition of the proposed measure at campaign events and during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” calling the policy “regressive” and saying such a tax would “significantly increase taxes on low-income and middle-class Americans.”
“At a time of massive income and wealth inequality, it should be the people on top who see an increase in their taxes, not low-income and working people,” Sanders added.
Coke Zero Gets A New Name
U.K. consumers will soon know Coke Zero by a new name. According to Business Insider (BI), the brand will now go by “Coca-Cola Zero Sugar,” a move derived from market research that showed five out of 10 people were unaware that Coke Zero contained no sugar. Jon Woods, general manager for Coca-Cola Great Britain, told BI that the revamp, which is estimated to cost the company $14.4 million, will position the product to be more in line with Coke’s flagship brand.
“We know that millions of people love the taste of Coca-Cola and have been working to refine the recipe of Coca-Cola Zero to match the taste of the original, but without sugar,” Woods said. “It’s the biggest investment we’ve made in a new product launch for a decade and will give people the great taste of Coca-Cola Classic but without the sugar.”
The Rise of Canned Cold Brew
Grub Street has taken a look at the so-called “fourth wave” of coffee, profiling gourmet coffee roasters’ move into the ready-to-drink segment. Grub Street spoke with Todd Carmichael, the co-founder of La Colombe, a Philadelphia-based coffee producer about the subject. La Colombe recently introduced an innovative canned draft latte, a nitrous oxide-infused blend of espresso, milk and sugar. Carmichael projected premium “cold and portable coffee” to be “the biggest [wave] of all.” Other brands mentioned in the piece include Blue Bottle, which launched its own canned cold brew, and Stumptown. All three companies secured significant financial backing in 2015: Stumptown was acquired by Peet’s Coffee, while Blue Bottle raised $70 million in a capital raise. Meanwhile, Hamdi Ulukaya, the founder of Greek yogurt company Chobani participated in a $28.5 million investment in La Colombe.
Pepsi to Shift Focus From CSDs
PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi says the company is moving away from its identity as a soda giant. According to The Associated Press, sales of carbonated soft drinks account for less than a quarter of the company’s global sales, with 12 percent coming from the Pepsi brand. In a conference call with analysts earlier this week, Nooyi said the company will continue to expand its beverage portfolio with non-soda offerings as a result of a widespread decline in consumption of traditional carbonated soft drinks. The call followed the release of PepsiCo’s first quarter results, in which sales and profit declined; the company attributed the declines to unfavorable currency exchange rates across the globe.
Muscle Milk Taps Stephen Curry for “Stronger Every Day” Spot
Reigning NBA MVP Stephen Curry is the star of a new Muscle Milk ad campaign. Ad Age reports that the new campaign, titled “Stronger Every Day” was designed by creative agency Mekanism and arrives as part of an effort from the company to “make the brand more approachable,” according to Cytosport CMO Nikki Brown. Curry, also serves as a brand ambassador for Under Armour and Brita, has been a paid endorser of Muscle Milk since 2013 and recently extended his partnership with the brand through 2018.
Two Arrested in New Jersey Monster Heist
Two men have been arrested in connection with the theft of $140,000 worth of Monster Energy. The Times Leader reports that Edward Perez and Julio Ricardo of New York, N.Y. and Paterson, N.J., respectively, have been charged with receiving stolen property, among other charges. The arrests stem from the April 17 dissapearance of two tractor trailers full of Monster from a Hazle Township, N.J. trucking company. Ricardo is accused of purchasing the stolen energy drinks from Perez. Perez allegedly acquired the stolen property from the actual thieves who have yet to be apprehended. Police said 32 of the 46 pallets of missing Monster have since been recovered.
Zevia Sponsors CrossFit
Stevia-sweetened soda brand Zevia has inked a one-year deal with CrossFit to serve as sponsor of the popular fitness brand. Forbes reports that Zevia paid in the “low-to-mid six figures” for the sponsorship, which will see Zevia promote its brand on-site at CrossFit Games events as well as via CrossFit’s online presence. Zevia CEO Paddy Spence indicated that the company is exploring other sport-related sponsorship opportunities as organizations like CrossFit look to associate themselves with more health-minded brands.
“It’s not going to be any longer about who writes the biggest checks,” Spence said. “It’s going to be finding brands that really align with your audience. I think consumers today are more sophisticated and powerful than they’ve ever been. An association of a brand that consumers perceive negatively actually does rub off on an associated brand or celebrity.”