BevNET TV: Sambazon Innovates, Paves Path to Mainstream

As one of a handful of companies that pioneered the acai drink category, Sambazon is well aware of the competitive advantages gained from innovating with on-trend ingredients, but perhaps more importantly, how best to package and market new and innovative beverages.

The company recently showcased their talent in this regard with three new products, each of which aligns mounting consumer demand for healthy and natural drinks with a variety of daypart uses while leaning on Sambazon’s positioning as a marketer of Amazonian “superfoods.”

At the recently concluded Natural Products Expo West show, Sambazon extended its line of smoothie products with Energy Mocha Java and Blended Breakfast, each of which stay true to ideals of functional and organic ingredients that have given the company a loyal following among natural consumers. Mocha Java is a blend of chocolate soy milk, Fair Trade coffee, yerba mate and antioxidants derived from açaí berries. Blended Breakfast combines strawberries and bananas along with a host of so-called “ancient grains”: chia, quinoa, amaranth and soy milk.

Unlike most of Sambazon’s other offerings, acai is not a primary ingredient in the new drinks. However, Greg Fleishman, the CMO of Sambazon said that as opposed to being a shift in how the company looks at innovation, the new products represent a return to its roots, as well as an opportunity to reach mainstream consumers by melding superfood formulations and familiar occasions for consumption.

“The company was founded bringing up other things besides acai,” Fleishman said. “So we’ve gone back to our roots to bring forward the very best that the Amazon has to offer.”

“One of things we like best about Blended Breakfast, as an example, is that it’s almost three ingredient trends in one… wrapped into a daypart that people care about, breakfast.” Fleishman continued.

And while the juice cleanse craze has yet to become a mainstream trend, Sambazon is attempting to stay ahead of the game with its Purifying Cleanse, a package of three organic superfood beverages that are being test marketed in Costco locations in Southern California and Texas. The decision for Sambazon to partner with Costco, as opposed Whole Foods, which is its top retailer, was not limited to the Costco’s ability to reach a broader audience. Instead, the warehouse chain had a critical role in the development, packaging and pricing of the product.

Watch this video as BevNET Editor-in-Chief Jeff Klineman goes into an in-depth discussion with Fleishman about Sambazon’s new products and the role of health trends and new ingredients as the key to innovation in the coming months and years. Fleishman also offers insight into the role that Costco plays in taking small and emerging brands from the natural channel and into mainstream and mass retailers.