While the rush of energy drinks seems to be receding, other functions were on the rise at last week’s National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) Show.
BevNET spotted two major functional trends that have picked up speed since last year: relaxation drinks and shots and drinks and shots offering hangover relief when ingested before or after drinking alcohol. Additionally, a few products in shot bottles claimed to abet sexual enhancement in one form or another.
In more mainstream beverage categories, a number of new teas are coming out, including new lines introduced by both Anheuser-Busch InBev and Hansen’s, while Sweet Leaf is entering much wider distribution through its alliance with Nestle Waters North America.
On the re-launch front, there were two major product lines that were refreshed or restaged completely. Function Drinks, which started fast out of the gate two years ago but has since stumbled in its attempts to build a national brand, has retreated to seven SKUs spread across three platforms: Urban Detox (Goji Berry and Citrus Prickly Pear); Light Weight (Acai Pomegranate, Blueberry Raspberry and Peach Mango) and Alternative Energy (Citrus Yuzu and Strawberry Guava). All are being marketed with labels that prominently feature the phrase “dietary supplement.” According to Dayton Miller, Function’s president, “We like the idea of taking the dietary supplement into the beverage aisle.”
With a new, more distinctive bottle and a label that highlights each platform’s functionality all the way around the bottle, the brand is being reengineered to make functions much more readily recognizable.
“It took too long for people to understand what each drink was about,” Miller admitted.
Distributors, who had caught a glimpse of the new packaging before NACS, have expressed enthusiasm to BevNET.
Meanwhile, the Coca-Cola Co. rolled out a major restaging of its own in-house brand of energy drink, Full Throttle. With a cleaner look and fewer odd “energy” ingredients, Full Throttle has three traditional CSD flavors along with a Zero and a three-SKU coffee/energy line. The core brand has been dubbed “Full Throttle Black,” “Full Throttle Acai” (nee Blue Demon) and “Full Throttle Red” (formerly Fury). Gone are guarana and taurine, but in its place is an extra shot of caffeine, taking it up to about 100 mg per serving. Although Full Throttle’s new line featured a cleaner look, it was derided by at least one wag as “Coke’s new private label” energy drink.
Photos from NACS 2009
Other products spotted at the show:
-4.0 GPA Energy from the makers of Tranquila.
-Abstract Unreal Energy Drink.
-Bond Labs Anti-Hangover Resurrection in an 8.4 oz. slimcan.
-Calypso Ocean Blue Lemonade and Triple Melon Lemonade in 16 oz. and 12 oz. redesigned glass bottles.
-Chaotic Elixirs in four flavors.
-Coca-Cola and Coke brands in 16 oz., $.99 cent “immediate consumption” bottles with cropped labels to distinguish them from 20 oz. packages.
-Crayons Fruit Juices — all new packaging in 14 oz. PET bottles. Flavors remain the same with Blueberry Raspberry, Fruit Punch, Kiwi Strawberry, and Pink Lemonade.
-Five Hour Energy’s new Grape and Pomegranate flavors. The latter is currently an exclusive for Wal-Mart.
-FlavO, a line of zero-calorie, zero-sweetener flavored water available in 8 oz., 12 oz., and 16.9 oz. plastic bottles. Flavors are Apple, Mandarin Orange, and Lemon-Lime.
-Gatorade “Natural” sweetened with cane sugar in two flavors, Lemon Berry and Blackberry Raspberry.
-Good4U Functional Vitamin Water by Double D Beverages, available in four flavors.
-Hansen Natural’s line of Peace Tea available in Razzleberry, Imported Ceylon, Sweet Lemon, and Green Tea flavors in $.99 pre-priced 23.5 oz. cans.
-Health Fortress, from MetRx, an all-natural shot with 17 g of pure protein and 5 g of fiber in a Fruit Punch flavor.
-Hit Me Energy Shot, produced by Stephen Baldwin.
-Honest Kids’ Superfruit Punch and Apple-y Eve.
-Ironclad Energy Hydration, a mix of energy and hydration functionalities in 16 oz. cans. Two flavors: Goji Berry and Triple Citrus.
-Jolt Energy, with all new packaging in 12 oz. cans priced at $ .99.
-Lean Slow Motion Potion, a relaxation beverage from Dewmar International available in three flavors: Easta Pink, Purp, and Yella, all in 16 oz. cans.
-Liquid Assault from MusclePharm, a high-performance sports drink available in 10 oz PET bottles with Blue Raspberry and Raspberry Lemonade flavors. MusclePharm also featured Liquid Recon, a muscle recovery drink also in a 10 oz. PET in Fruit Punch.
-Liquid Smoking, a nicotine-free herbal smoking alternative, and Liquid Relax, a relaxation beverage imported from Amsterdam. Both products are available in 8.4 oz. cans and 1.7 oz. glass bottles.
-Modjo Life Extended Natural Energy Shots with natural energy ingredients and zero caffeine available in 2.5 oz. shot bottles. Flavors are Island Punch and Pomegranate Grape.
-Molotov Explosive Energy from Nor-Cal Beverages. Molotov is a Latino themed energy drink with Tapatio Hot Sauce and lime added to some of the SKUs. Flavors include Mango, Mango con Tapatio y Limon, Tamarindo, Pineapple, Pineapple con Tapatio y Limon, and Horchata, all available in 16 oz. cans.
-Monster Energy’s, Monster Dub grape flavor in a 32 oz. resealable can.
-NERD Energy in a new, sugar-free flavor.
-NoHo, an anti-hangover drink and shot that defends the body from the effects of a hangover. Available in an 8 oz. can and a 2 oz. shot.
-NOS Sugar-Free with 125 mg of caffeine per 8 oz. serving.
-Pep-Time Mini-White Xtreme Energy from DMD Pharmaceuticals in a 0.4 oz. liquid sport pack in Wild Berry flavor.
-Rock On stamina 2 oz. energy shots for him and her.
-Rockstar’s Roasted Espresso in an 8 oz. can, a new Energy Cola in a 16 oz. and 24 oz. resealable can, and Rockstar Recovery (Energy + Hydration) Lemonade in a 16 oz. can.
-Sportfit, a 3 in 1 synergy drink containing Cha De Bugre, Super Citrimax and Alpha-GPC available in Orange Passion Mango, Raspberry Lemonade, and Peach Orange Dreamsicle; all in 12 oz. PET bottles.
-Sweet Leaf Tea’s new 16 oz. can in four flavors: Original, new Mint & Honey, Peach and Raspberry.
-The Pop Shoppe launching in the U.S.
-Up! 6 Hour Energy , is priced as a value $0.99 energy shot available in Berry and Grape.
-V8 V-Fusion’s Cranberry Blackberry juice, with a launch date of February, 2010.
-Venom Bite from Dr. Pepper/Snapple Group.
-Volt’s new Blue Melon flavor.
-X Games Energy Drink, from Base Concept of Canada.
-XingTea Green Tea with Mint in 23.5 oz. cans.
-Zola Light Acai juice (not yet on the market).
BevNET’s coverage of NACS 2009 is sponsored by Crystal Cooler, makers of customized beverage coolers.
For a feature on the changing face of the tea business from NACS, click here.