Day One of BevNET Live Challenged Startups To Find Point of Differentiation

Staying on a high note after McClafferty’s presentation, BevNET announced its Best of 2012 awards, as follows:

Product of the Year: Evolution Fresh
Person of the Year: Janie Hoffman, founder of Mamma Chia
Best Functional Beverage: Suja
Best Energy Drink or Shot: HiBall
Best Relaxation Drink or Shot: Just Chill
Best Carbonated Soft Drink: Guayaki Sparkling Yerba Mate
Best Tea or Tea Based: Runa
Best Juice or Juice Based: BluePrint Juice
Best Smoothie or Meal Replacement: Sambazon Protein
Best Product Revamp: AQUAHydrate
Best New Powder, Tablet, Mix: MiO Energy
Best Enhanced Water: Sparkling Ice
Best Packaging Design: Boxed Water Is Better
Best Packaging Innovation: 82Go
Best Coffee or Coffee-Based Beverage: Coco Café
Best Coconut Water: Harmless Harvest
Best Marketing Campaign: Red Bull Stratos

Speaking about winning Product of the Year, Evolution Fresh CEO Jimmy Rosenberg said that by using high pressure processed juice, Evolution Fresh is creating a new category in the beverage industry.

“The commitment to making a raw juice, it’s not easy,” Rosenberg said. “There’s so many steps to get the end product, to taste like you just got an orange from your backyard tree and squeezed it.”

Hoffman acknowledged the significance of a recent New York Times article that discussed Mamma Chia’s role with the trending national interest in the chia seed, calling the piece a “game-changer.” She also said that it feels great to be recognized as the face of chia.

“When it started flying off the shelves at Whole Foods, people started taking notice,” Hoffman said of Mamma Chia.

After Hoffman’s remarks, BevNET announced the six New Beverage Showdown finalists: +Plus Red Elixir, an agave sweetened energy drink, FitPro, a milk-based protein drink free of gluten and lactose, Zingiwell, an antioxidant drink loaded with turmeric, Aquation, which calls itself a spring water that benefits teeth with xylitol, a plant-based sweetener, Cogo, a coconut milk smoothie and the eventual runner-up, and the aforementioned winner Spacho.