PepsiCo – Functionality Up and Down the Portfolio

Anyone who has stocked a cooler in recent months realizes that PepsiCo has undertaken some major rebranding initiatives this year, revamping everything from the “smile” on the side of Pepsi cans to the squeezable cap on the Tropicana carton to turning the Gatorade lightning bolt into the search for “G.”

But other changes are in the pipeline for the pop people from Purchase, including the use of stevia-dreived sweeteners across their entire portfolio and increases in functional characteristics for several major products.

Many of the functional ideas are heading for the Gatorade family, including the use of fiber in Propel fitness water – a brand that has been shuffled off to the side a bit by the introduction of half-calorie Gatorade brand G2 and the reinvigoration of SoBe Lifewater – and the injection of concentration-enhancing L-Theanine into the Gatorade Tiger family of products.

Additionally, recent high-end acquisition Naked Juice will receive a facelift from Peter Arnell, whose agency is also responsible for remaking the Tropicana carton and creating the “Squeeze” campaign.

Part of the revamp of Tropicana includes the forthcoming launch of stevia-sweetened, half-calorie Trop50, a product that demonstrates just how excited executives at the company are about the just-approved sweetener.

“We’re looking at Stevia across the entire portfolio,” Massimo d’Amore, chief executive officer of PepsiCo Americas Beverages told BevNET. “Right now in the U.S., stevia is the best option we have for a zero calorie natural sweetener…. Over time there might be other technical solutions we might be able to tap, but for right now for the next year or so, stevia is at the forefront of our innovation.”

Stevia’s growing influence is only one of the changes taking place in the portfolio, however. Each brand will be tinkered with in turn, according to Dave Berwick, the company’s Chief Marketing Officer.

Other changes will be coming to Izze and other carbonated brands, he added, including Mug root beer; Mountain Dew will also see a logo change.

As for other functional products, according to Berwick, there’s still a lot of space in energy. So be ready.AN ENHANCED LAWSUIT

In another attack on the enhance water category’s banner brand, the Center for Science in the Public Interest filed a class action suit last month against The Coca-Cola Co. for using deceptive advertising to market vitaminwater – a claim that angered Coca-Cola enough to attack the messenger as well as the message.

The complaint alleges that Coca-Cola deceives consumers into believing that vitaminwater is a healthy alternative to soda by putting health claims on the front of the package and hiding each bottle’s 33 grams of sugar on the nutrition panel. That hidden sugar, the suit alleges, may contribute to obesity, diabetes and other serious health problems.

Coke’s written response?

“This is a ridiculous and ludicrous lawsuit… This is not about protecting the public interest. This is about grandstanding at a time when CSPI is receiving very little attention.”

This isn’t the first time vitaminwater has suffered a PR broadside. Not long after Coca-Cola acquired the brand, PepsiCo aired a Propel commercial that pointed out that “some” enhanced waters contain as many as 125 calories per 20 oz. bottle – which is true. But, by comparison, an identically-sized serving of Coca-Cola or Pepsi contains about 250 calories.EXECUTIVE MOVES

NutraGenesis, a marketer of nutraceutical ingredients located in Brattleboro, Vt., has hired Craig MacIntyre as National Sales Manager and Director of New Business Development.

PepsiCo appointed Jill Beraud to the newly created position of chief marketing officer, reporting to Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo chairman and chief executive officer. Beraud had spent the past 13 years at Limited Brands, where she was most recently chief marketing officer of Victoria’s Secret.

Symrise Flavor & Nutrition, North America named Dr. Matthias Guentert as President, Symrise Flavor & Nutrition Division, North America. Dr. Guentert has been with Symrise for the past 22 years. Additionally, Symrise appointed Dr. Claud Oliver Schmidt Senior Vice President and Scott Mortenson Senior Vice President of the beverage unit.

Go Fast Sports and Beverage Company hired Jody Shepherd as President of Go Fast Sports and Beverage Company. Shepherd had been at Tango, a private investment firm in both the public and private securities markets, based in Boulder, Colorado.

Mike Ivester, designer, creative director and a 22-year marketing and branding veteran of Anheuser-Busch, Inc. has now moved on to the agency side of the beverage marketing business as VP, director of accounts for St. Louis-based agency XG-ad.

CORRECTION:

In the Enhanced Waters Brand News section of the November/December Beverage Spectrum, it was reported that Pepsi would launch DASANI Essence. DASANI and DASANI Essence are owned by the Coca-Cola Company, Inc.