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.
Profitable and continuing to evolve, Zola’s restaged “Fruits of the World” platform and rapid ascension as a player in the coconut water category have positioned the company for sustained growth in both natural and mainstream retail channels. With the pieces in place, founder Chris Cuvelier and his team are pressing forward -- and not looking back.
Indeed, cold-pressed, super-premium juices, the majority of which are sold by natural retailers, have attracted a tremendous amount of attention and enthusiasm, and sustained growth appears to be a forgone conclusion. However, a deeper examination of the category reveals a potentially challenging path for new brands.
With a deep and established presence in the Los Angeles market and having recently gained a toehold in New York City, Activate is now setting its sights on broader awareness of its cap-dispensing water brand and is prepping to launch a number of line extensions designed to reach a wider swath of consumers.
As natural and organic beverages continue to gain traction among greater numbers of mainstream consumers, Purity Organic has over the past year positioned itself to take advantage of that momentum through a path carved by innovation.
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.
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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.
by Ray Latif, John Craven and Jeffrey Klineman
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.
Yes, the rollout of Body Armor has featured some missteps; yes, people have noticed. But founder Lance Collins, as grizzled a beverage veteran as any, is determined to achieve success with his multi-function, “superdrink” brand. But the current ultra-competitive pricing environment for beverages, in which new products face off against highly promoted brands made by bigger companies, has made that road tougher than ever, Collins said.
For L.A. Libations, the introduction of its Aloe Gloe brand in 2011 marked a significant turning point for the three-year old beverage incubator. Until then, the company had developed sales and distribution strategies for a host of other entrepreneurial beverage brands, including Zico and Neuro, and had little experience with manufacturing.
With significant retail placement in hand, Golazo is now looking to expand awareness and trial of its products through unique interactions aimed at consumers whose interests are aligned with that of the brand.
Certainly, the direct-to-consumer delivery model has been a key launching pad for marketers of raw juice products, particularly through the sale of packaged juice cleanse programs. Recently, however, a growing number of companies are attempting to enhance brand awareness while meeting growing demand and interest in raw juice via the construction of retail storefronts. San Francisco-based Project Juice is one such company.