Though some might claim that probiotic beverages are a natural channel mainstay, years away from becoming a mainstream offering, KeVita CEO Bill Moses professed that with regard to the two largest beverage brands operating in the segment, his brand and kombucha giant GT’s, that “the success in conventional is proven.”
“With the Safeways, with the Krogers, with the Aholds, ACV (All Commodity Volume) has been achieved, velocity has been substantiated, and I think the data will show – and has shown – that probiotic offerings are in fact taking hold, and growing, and will be in conventional marketplace for some time to come,” Moses said.
In this recent video interview, filmed at KeVita headquarters in Oxnard, Calif., Moses sat down with BevNET CEO John Craven to discuss much more about the growth potential for probiotic drinks in terms of sales strategy and channel development, as well as the genesis and launch of KeVita’s new kombucha line.
While KeVita has performed exceedingly well in natural grocers (Moses said that the brand is achieving growth of 60-70 percent in the channel), the company has extended availability of its products to up-and-down-the-street retailers and college foodservice operators, the result of a budding relationship with a powerful DSD partner: PepsiCo. The soda and snack giant now carries KeVita’s sparkling probiotic beverages as part of the refrigerated truck operation developed for Pepsi-owned Naked juices. In New York City, KeVita shares a cold ride with Tropicana products.
“PepsiCo has offered us a single point of distribution opportunity nationwide,” Moses said. “Ultimately, for them to invest in taking us to market, they believe in the future of this particular category.”
The partnership has extended KeVita’s presence in a variety of channels, something that Moses views as a key part of probiotic beverages becoming an everyday type of drink with broad awareness.
“We see it really becoming a ubiquitous offering, much like the fresh juice companies’ [products],” Moses said. “So everywhere you see an Odwalla or a Naked or a Bolthouse, I believe you are going to see KeVita and kombucha.”
It’s a belief that’s part of KeVita’s decision to release its new line of kombucha drinks. And while sales cannibalization might be a concern for the company, Moses noted that the new products address a consumer base seeking a level of flavor not found in its flagship line.
“On some level, we don’t want to kill the goose that’s laying the golden egg, but at the same time, we and we hear that people like a much more bigger mouthfeel, bolder flavor profile that may not be as refreshing, but may be just as valuable to them during some day-part usage, and so we decided to come out with a kombucha, which is much bigger and bolder than [the flagship] KeVita,” Moses said.