As Whole Foods continues to introduce new shelf space for high pressure processed (HPP) juice products, it’s clear that the retailer is also adding room for similarly processed and premium positioned beverages in a range of other categories.
Organic coconut smoothie brand Genius Juice, for one, has made its way into retailer’s Southern Pacific region. Alex Bayer, co-founder of Genius Juice, told BevNET that his brand has been approved for sale in all 50 Whole Foods locations in the Southern California and currently holds shelf space in 12.
The HPP brand is represented in the region by Hi-Touch Distribution, a DSD distributor of refrigerated and perishable products launched by Greenshoots Distribution veterans Czar Daniolco and Ben Hiddlestone and Pitaya Plus co-founder Chuck Casano. Hi-Touch, which was formed in the wake of Greenshoots’ demise (the troubled wholesaler shut down operations earlier this year), also distributes Seaworth cold brew coffee, Revive Kombucha, Forager cold-pressed juices and Saint Benoît Organic Jersey milk in Southern California.
Bayer said that Genius Juice has also been picked up by natural foods distribution powerhouse Nature’s Best and expanded into Northern California where the brand is sold in well-known independent grocers Rainbow Organic Grocery and Berkeley Bowl.
Meanwhile, another HPP beverage is making headway in Whole Foods stores on both coasts. Already represented in the retailer’s Northeast and Northern California regions, Happy Tree Maple Water recently entered the Whole Foods stores the Southern Pacific, Southwest and Pacific Northwest, all of which will be serviced by United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI), the nation’s largest distributor of natural products.
Happy Tree, which sources its maple water (commonly referred to as maple sap) from New York’s Catskill Mountains, is carried by natural and organic food and beverage distributor Gourmet Guru in metro New York and Dove Distributors, a wholesaler of vegan, raw and organic foods, in Northern California. In addition to Whole Foods, Happy Tree is now sold at all 160+ locations of specialty grocer The Fresh Market, as well as smaller independent chains, including Gelson’s, Mom’s Organic, Fairway, Kings and Lucky’s.
Jade Monk, which also uses high pressure processing for its recently launched line of organic and ready-to-drink matcha tea products, debuted the beverages in Whole Foods stores in the retailer’s Pacific Northwest, Southern Pacific, Florida, South and Mid-Atlantic regions. The four-SKU line is distributed by UNFI in all regions except for the Mid-Atlantic, where DPI handles wholesaling of the drinks.
While not HPP, another matcha-based beverage recently debuted in Whole Foods. Ito En’s new Matcha Love ready-to-drink products are brewed with 100 percent organic matcha and whole green tea leaves. Available in nine out of 11 regions of Whole Foods, the line comes in three unsweetened flavors — Traditional, Ginger and Vanilla — and are packaged in 16.9 oz. PETE bottles. UNFI distributes of the products to Whole Foods in eight of the regions; DPI services the brand in the retailer’s Mid-Atlantic stores.
In other distribution news:
Boxed Water has gained new placement at over 400 Target stores across the U.S. Available in individual and 6-packs of 500 mL cartons, as well as 1 L cartons, Boxed Water will be positioned in premium water sets at Target.
LifeAID has partnered with UNFI for distribution of its functional supplement products, including FitAID, GolferAID and PartyAID, on the East and West coasts. LifeAID announced that UNFI will begin distributing its products at Mollie Stones and New Leaf on the West Coast and at Earth Fare and Giant Eagle stores on the East Coast.
Caliwater Cactus Water has entered Whole Foods stores in the retailer’s Rocky Mountains region. Distributed by UNFI, the product, which is made with prickly pear cactus extract, is now available in Whole Foods locations in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Utah and El Paso, Texas.
Pulse Beverage Corp. announced that its Natural Cabana Lemonade and Limeade products have secured a listing at all 497 7-Eleven stores in Canada.
Sipp Sparkling Organics drinks are now available in 16 Southern California locations of Luna Grill, a Mediterranean-style fast casual restaurant chain.