Call it a good environmental stewardship. Or call it good public relations.
Following the challenge PepsiCo issued itself in 2008, the company announced in January that it has certified the carbon footprint of its 64 oz. cartons of Tropicana orange juice – and plans to certify the carbon footprint of several more products – as a benchmark against which to judge carbon-reducing efforts.
As parts of its “Performance with a Purpose” initiative, PepsiCo pledged to decrease its use of water and energy by 20 percent and its fuel use by 25 percent by 2015 – and has already announced actions to move toward that goal. Among other efforts, PepsiCo said it is uses approximately 10 percent renewable energy at its Ft. Pierce, Fla. Tropicana manufacturing plant and uses fuel-efficient rail to transport a large portion of its Tropicana products across the country.
Their greening plans follow the overall trend within the beverage industry. Bottled water companies have scrambled to reduce plastic content and carbon emissions amid environmental backlash, (read more about that in 10 Things to Love About the Beverage Business) and Coca-Cola has loudly toted its recycling efforts and hybrid truck fleet.
As a side note, many of PepsiCo’s efforts save the company money. Tim Carey, PepsiCo’s director of sustainability, told public radio’s Marketplace that water-saving efforts at a Dallas Gatorade plant reduced the facility’s water bill by 12 percent. That makes the company’s environmental efforts “green” in more ways than one.SUSTAINING SUSTAINABILITY
Despite “sustainability” achieving vogue status as a branding term, nearly half of Americans don’t know what it means, according to new research from The Hartman Group.
Only 56 percent of respondents said they were familiar with the term – a low figure that still represents an increase over the 54 percent familiarity found in the group’s 2007 survey. Moreover, 71 percent of respondents said they didn’t know which companies supported sustainable values.
Despite that lack of understanding, and sustainability itself being an “unwieldy concept,” the report said that consumers continue to seek products that support sustainability’s underlying value of “doing the right thing for the common good,” even in a down economy. That underlying value also runs through related terms highlighted in the report: “local,” “fair trade” and “responsibility.”
Those values, the report said, are especially important for food and beverage products, which consumers connect more directly to the Earth.
Symrise announced a range of new RTD coffee flavor concepts developed through an accelerated process that the company said can usher a flavor from idea to prototype in as little as eight weeks. The coffee prototypes, called Barista Premium Coffee Coolers and Fruit ‘n Java, include orange, pomegranate/raspberry, peach/mango and strawberry/blueberry.
GSB Flavor Creators introduced three new green tea flavors with fruit notes: pomegranate, hibiscus and watermelon.
Flavours Inc. announced the construction of a new bottling plant in South California that will cater to PET and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) needs. The facility will also house new tea-brewing and liquid encapsulation innovations.
Danisco signed a long term agreement with the French company Ferco for the worldwide exclusive supply of Grap’Active grape-based extracts. The extracts are produced using a water-extraction technology and naturally contain polyphenols.
Expanding its coffee roasting portfolio to more than 160 flavors, Allen Flavors announced four newcomers: Sticky Buns, Vanilla Cupcake, Biscotti and Sugar Cookies.
PhytoTrade Africa announced that FDA approval of baobab fruit pulp could arrive soon. The group completed the self-affirmed GRAS process for the high-antioxidant African fruit, and is awaiting the official nod from the Administration.SIMPLE MOODS
Simple is good. If it boosts your mood, it’s even better – at least, according to recent trend reports.
Mintel research said “plus” claims, those bits of complication on the label that boast of a product’s enhancements, have fallen out of vogue. New products touting added vitamins, calcium or other functions dropped by 20 percent in 2008, Mintel said, while products boasting lower calories loads (thematically called “minus” claims) stagnated.
In their place, natural products flourished. Nearly one in four (23 percent) of new products released worldwide in 2008 made some kind of “natural” claim. That’s a 9 percent increase over 2007, and the movement away from artificial ingredients will undoubtedly increase with the emergence of stevia as the next big sweetener.
However, one corner of “plus” beverages may be ready to grow, according to market research from Kline & Company. The firm projects that mood- and cognition-enhancing foods and beverages, like Function’s Brainiac, Gatorade’s Tiger Focus and Jones’ forthcoming GABA-based line, will grow more popular as the population ages. But, the firm said, beverage marketers will have to do more to succeed than call their bottle of sugar-water a feel-good product.
Kline & Co. identified a number of barriers to success for this nascent category. Among them: the products must be proven effective, consumers must understand them, and the movement needs a champion.
Should the category break through those barriers, though, Kline projects that it will grow rapidly – perhaps on the back of an all-natural, stevia-sweetened beverage with an efficacious herbal blend.BUG JUICE
The Food and Drug Administration ruled in January that food and beverage manufacturers must now declare any use of cochineal extract or carmine on their labels.
The agency said it revised the requirements for the ingredients, derived from the ground-up bodies of female cochineal beetles, in response to reports of severe allergic reactions.
Presently, the colorings, which bestow a pink, red or purple color, had been characterized as “artificial colors.”
The new regulation will become effective in January, 2011
Renovating a brand during a down economy could help beverage firms hold on to consumers who would otherwise switch to private label products, according to a outlook report from the Nielsen Company.
Tom Pirovano, director of industry insights at Nielsen, said reinventing brands can be a lower-risk innovation strategy, but it must be carefully balanced to give consumers sufficient novelty and continuity. Old fashioned innovation, such as new packages, flavors and health and wellness claims, could also work, the report said.
Still, no matter what tack brands use , Pirovano said, in this economy, it will be difficult for beverage marketers to win back customers that have already switched to private label.
PAPER OR PLASTIC?
New market research by Cleveland-based Freedonia forecasts that plastic packaging will continue to edge out paper-based alternatives – particularly in soy milk and other beverage traditionally sold in cartons.
The group said plastic bottle use will grow because they are resealable, more convenient to handle and easier to recycle.
Freedonia projected that dairy and fruit beverages will experience a similar shift at a slower pace due to plastic’s already-deep penetration in those categories.