by Matthew Kennedy, BevNET.com
@@img1The rumors are getting louder that the annual Food Marketing Institute Show might soon move out of its traditional home base in Chicago, and go to an every-other-year format. But the reality was that there were still plenty of companies crowded into the McCormick Center last week to show their wares, and judging by the supply of handsome folks with sample trays, no modeling agencies are about to go out of business, either.
The beverage business served as a focal point for much of the show, with a large section of the Expo floor devoted solely to drink companies and a Beverage Marketing Corp. presentation on the beverages America drinks drawing a hefty crowd toward the end of the third day.
New drinks spotted included Coca-Cola’s new gourmet iced tea, Gold Peak, as well as Budweiser’s organic beer line. Sol Mate, a Yerba Mate-derived energy soda, made an impressive debut in the organic aisles, but remained troubled by border issues: while it’s to be sold in bottles, it could only be served from a keg. That didn’t stop BevNET from getting a taste – look out, folks, this stuff could have some legs.
Energy Drinks were in short supply at the show – of the established independents, only Bawls, The Beast, and Tantra made the scene. Red Bull, and even show stalwart Hansen’s, blew it off, although the announcement of a distribution deal between Hansen’s and Anheuser Busch was nevertheless the blockbuster news of the week.
As always, BevNET was there, and so was our camera.