Thoughts and Questions about Enviga

Last week we had the pleasure of sampling Enviga, a product from Beverage Partners Worldwide (a joint venture of The Coca-Cola Company and Nestle S.A.). In this self-designated “period of innovation” for Coke, this is the best product that they’ve come up with thus far.

Enviga has a fresh looking design, a decent flavor, and an innovative approach to functionality. The use of tea as the base of the product makes sense and is timely, plus the product has a hip aura that’s somewhat like PepsiAmericas’ Airforce Nutrisoda. Overall, it’s an original combination that certainly has potential.

In my opinion, the biggest question is the functionality of the drink. Consumers have a solid understanding of “energy” as a legitimate function of the beverages they consume. Over the course of time, other attempts at functionality have been made, but aside from hydration and energy, functions that have a direct effect have generally failed to stick. Indirect functions, on the other hand, such as antioxidant capacity, have done quite well. Calorie burning is on the same direct-effect level. Very few drinks market this effect as a function, and those that have are generally kept on the supplement aisle.

In the case of Enviga, Coke is banking of changes in the marketplace, many of which lean towards health and reduced calories or carbohydrates, and is attempting to proactively approach these trends. But will consumers believe that Coke, a company that has been one of the poster children for obesity and empty calories, can produce a product that goes the other way and actually burns calories? Furthermore, do consumers actually want a product that has this function as part of the stable of beverages that they consume?

Regardless of how these questions are answered in the marketplace, Enviga is an original product that comes at a time when Coke desperately needs innovation. Hopefully, for Coke and the industry’s sake, it is a sign of the tide turning at Coke. If nothing else, it proves that somewhere, deep inside the bowels of the corporation, they have the ability to come up with ideas that are more innovative than a poorly crafted “high end” tea like Gold Peak or tired cola line extensions.

More: BevNET Review of Enviga