While foot traffic was strong, the switch from the Javits Center in New York City (undergoing a major renovation), to Washington, D.C. continued the downward trend of exhibiting beverage companies relative to last summer’s show, which also yielded very low numbers. It’s possible this dismissal had to do with the venue and/or the smaller number of corner and specialty stores in D.C. relative to the major market of New York City. Budgetary constraints have also forced smaller entrepreneurs to focus on the larger product introduction shows, such as Natural Products Expo West and the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) show – both of which are fairly proximate to the summer show.
However, those companies that did decide to exhibit had optimistic expectations prior to the show’s start and maintained a positive and upbeat vibe throughout the three days – perhaps partly because of the slightly improved economy, and also because of the surprising amount of new signed orders at the show.
While many of the usual Fancy Food stalwarts were present, trending at the show were Aloe-Vera based brands — although many were not RTD importers with brands that use either concentrated Aloe juice or reconstituted powder-based formulations. San Fransisco based SPI Westport, marketer of ALO and formulated with all-natural ingredients, said it has gained traction — particularly in the natural channel — and expressed that the show was a success for them.
The other category that garnered some buzz at the show was that of upscale and super-premium cocktail mixers — particularly with the recent acquisition of Skinnygirl brands by Beam Global. Powell & Mahoney showcased a low-calorie Margarita mix along with Peach Bellini and Lemon Sour with Bitters, while The Skinny Cocktail Company introduced their Scales line of 0 Carbs 0 Sugar mixers and Wine-A-Rita showcased their frozen Skinny Senorita and Berry Pom-A-Rita mix.
Of note and unlike prior shows, Kombucha companies were non-existent except for Ex Drinks’ Pure Energy and Slim Energy, powered by Kombucha.
As for the companies that did exhibit, here were some of the highlights:
• 12 Noon to Midnight – new 8 oz. 4-packs in all SKUs.
• Alpenglow Beverage – Xylitol-based tea
• Aonni and Acuacai, imported waters from Chile and Panama, respectively
• Ayala’s Herbal Water – introduced their single-serve Sparkling herbal infusions line in a 12 ozx glass bottle in Lemongrass Mint Vanilla, Cinnamon Orange Peel, Ginger Lemon Peel and Lavender Mint.
• Brands of Britain – new Fever Tree 500 ml glass bottles for all flavors and new 4-pack packagaing.
• Britvic Group – Energise, an isotonic sports/energy drink manufactured in Ireland and similar to Lucozade found in the UK.
• C+Swiss Hemp Ice Tea – now available n eco-friendly CartoCan packaging.
• Harney & Sons – master distributor for Bruce Cost’s Ginger line
• Honest Tea – recently added zero-calorie Classic Lemonade and zero-calorie Passion Fruit Green tea in 16 oz. PET bottles.
• Metromint – launching brand titled Mizzumint in the United Kingdom in all five SKUs.
• Numi Organic Tea – added Classic Pu-erh tea to the RTD line.
• Powell & Mahoney – recently launched Peach Bellini, Pomegranate, Lemon Sour with Bitters, Low-Cal Margarita, Simple Syrup, and Red Sangria.
• Q Tonic – added Q Ginger in a 750 ml bottle and in 4-packs.
• Skinny Coctail Company – debuted Scales zero-carb, zero-sugar line of mixers available in Margarita, Strawberry, Bloody Mary, and Sweet & Sour.
• Slow Cow Relaxation Drink – now distributed in the States by STC Food International.
• Third Street Chai – added Ginger Lemonade to its existing line of Chai concentrates.
• Wine-A-Rita – launched Skinny Senorita and Berry Pom-A-Rita.