Hot Chocolate! Zico, FRS, ZOLA, Others Gearing up for Expo West Debuts

The new product season is heating up heading into next week’s Natural Products Expo West: BevNET has received notice of — and in many cases samples of — piles of new products in just the past few days.

While we’ve got more information to come, here’s a list of some of the more interesting products that will be bowing next week:

Honest Tea, now fully part of the Coca-Cola Co., Inc., will be re-inroducing CocoaNova, a cocoa-based product that initially surfaced during a fancy foods show in January — but not to be outdone by its former stablemate in the Venturing & Emerging Brands (VEB) Unit is ZICO, which is rolling out a chocolate-flavored SKU to its fast-growing flavor assortment.

While ZICO is moving into chocolate, ALO Drink is heading into coconut water with the launch of its CoCo Exposed line, an all-natural coconut and aloe vera blend. At 60 calories per serving high-potassium products will come in 11.8 oz. PET bottles.

A pair of new protein-enhanced FRS flavors, Orange Cream and Blackberry Acai, both featuring 25 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber per 12 oz. bottle. These are part of a push into convenience by FRS along with three other 12 oz. SKUS in its new PET plastic line. (Here’s a link for more on that line.)

Even more sports-oriented and functional nutrition will be on display from Activate Drinks, which will be twisting off the cap on three new varieties: Lulo Pear in its Vitamin line, Blueberry Pomegranate as part of its Antioxidant functionality, and Raspberry Citrus as a new SKU in its Workout line. Additionally, Activate is moving all of its bottles into 100 percent post-consumer recycled plastic.

A pair of new Maine Root lemonades, Ginger Lemongrass and Fair Trade Lemonade, which follow on the heels of Maine Root’s well-received  Maple Lemonade (It won “Best of New England” at EXPO EAST 2010). All three certified-organic products come in a custom 16 oz. glass bottle.

In larger format organic lemonades, natural foods stalwart Uncle Matt’s will be rolling out a 59 oz. jug with an MSRP of $4.99 everyday price, and $3.99 on promotion.

More juices will also be on hand from ZOLA, newly-christened as a Brazilian Superfruits company. ZOLA reps will be pouring samples from three new 32 oz. SKUs, as well as its first multi-serve bottles made in partnership with Jamba Juice, Acai, Acerola and Caja and Cupuacu and Mango.

Also on the protein and meal replacement side, there’s Orgain Healthy Kids, packaged in an 8.25 oz. Tetra Pak carton with a sealed straw, scheduled to reach stores in May, 2011. Also, Orgain original is adding a new SKU, Iced Café Mocha.

From Kraft comes MiO, a new liquid beverage enhancer, which lets consumers drop flavors like Berry Pomegranate, Strawberry Watermelon, Fruit Punch Mango Peach, Sweet Tea or Peach Tea into their own bottle of water. Mio has no artificial flavors or caffeine, and zero calories per 8 oz. serving. Each 1.62 oz. bottle of MiO provides 24 servings “in the palm of your hand.”

Lifeway is also on board, with a 25th-anniversary birthday cake flavored kefir and a frozen version that will be brand new as well.