Natural Products Expo East, held Sept. 23-26 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, drew a smaller group of beverage firms than in previous years, but most companies that appeared brought with them positive attitudes.
Coconut water brands greeted booth visitors while still riding the glow from recent investment in the category. ZICO recently received an investment from Coca-Cola’s Venturing and Emerging Brands division; O.N.E recently accepted an investment from Pepsi Bottling Group, and Vita Coco co-founder and CEO Michael Kirban maintains that his rivals’ good news is his good fortune, as it brings attention to the category.
Probiotics continued their upward trend. Organic Valley and Evolve showed off new kefirs and Turtle Mountain even promoted a new coconut milk kefir – which, because it’s not dairy-based, isn’t technically kefir. Good Belly introduced a new shot, packed with a super-dose of friendly gut bugs for use when you really need them, and Probiotic Health Daily (PHD) showed off new, bolder packaging. Meanwhile, probiotic stalwarts Lifeway and BIO-K International were also on hand to promote their lines.
In a final note, off-beat small-batch root beer brand Maine Root showed off a seasonal soda line. Maine Root’s Pumpkin Pie Soda won a “New England’s Best” award from the show’s New Products Showcase. Co-founder Mark Seiler said stores have been reacting positively to the new product, and the company is considering limited-time flavors for other seasons.
Additional Brand News from the Show:
- Steaz announced the Oct. 1 national launch of its new eponymously named stevia-sweetened green tea sodas in 12 oz. bottle.The company’s freshly-groomed CSD line-up now consists of four full-calorieSKUs (raspberry, orange, lemon lime, and root beer) and four-zero calorie SKUs (raspberry, orange, black cherry and blueberry pomegranate).
- Made – line of organic fruit juice blends to introduce five new flavors in January.
- Sambazon sampled its new “Elixir” line with fewer calories and an emphasis on antioxidants.
- Zola showed off a new, stevia-sweetened “light” acai drink.
- Borojo – Featured a newly improved formulation. Company expects to do production soon.
- Olade – extended its line of sugar-free, SweetLeaf Seetener-sweetened, organic beverages with Lemon Ginger, Pomegranate, Cranberry, Strawberry.
- Fresh Ginger Ale by Bruce Cost: A line-up of three ginger ales made from fresh ginger from TMI Trading Corp. The brand is packaged in 12 oz. glass and comes in Original, Green Tea and Pomegranate.
- Solixir made its first appearance at a trade show. Company is currently focused on the Western half of the US.
- CellNique – Offered visitors a taste of their new flavors – including Root Beer. Product is now selling at a lower price point.
- Honest Tea: introduced Apple-y Ever After and a Superfruit Punch SKUS for its Honest Kids reduced-sugar juice line-up.
- Japonisme: Organic, unsweetened green teas from Japan. Products have not yet launched in the US.
- Native Waters – Bottled Water from 16.9 oz. biodegradable/recyclable bottles
- Nash Brothers – New line of Italian-style sodas from Nash Brothers Trading Company in liter glass bottles.
- Organic Harvest showed off a new drinkable yogurt in 1 L jugs.
- Sunsweet Naturals –The same folks that have brought you prune juice for years continued to show off Herbal Blends, a line-up of 16 oz., 30 percent juice/herb fusion drinks introduced during last year’s Expo West.
- Blue-Sky Free – New line-up of zero-calorie, rebiana-sweetened carbonated sodas in 12 oz. cans. Flavors include: Cola, Creamy Root Beer, Jamaican Ginger Ale, Cherry Vanilla Crème, Lemon Lime.
- Elite Naturel: Boasted its new cherry juice.
The Switch is the sponsor for BevNET’s 2009 Expo East show coverage. The Switch is 100% all natural sparkling juice- no artificial colors, no preservatives, no corn syrup, no added sugar, and gluten free. For more information please visit http://www.switchbev.com
PHOTOS from EXPO EAST