Press Clips: Nestea Rebrand Profiled, Kombucha Bill Goes to Capital Hill

Fortune Profiles Nestea Rebrand

An article in Fortune details Nestlé’s complete overhaul of its Nestea iced tea brand.

The revamp, which Nestlé calls the largest makeover in Nestea’s 70-year history, includes a new bottle, a new logo, and a new formulation for the line’s fruit-flavored teas, as well as four new “real-brewed” tea flavors.

Cassin Chaisson, Nestlé Waters North America tea marketing director, said the brand makeover was spurred by a recognition that the previous iteration of Nestea was not aligned with current consumer preferences for less sugar.

Nestlé’s strategy is aimed at addressing similar concerns over high sugar content that exist within two separate segments of its customer base. For tea drinkers who prefer a sweeter taste, Nestea’s fruit-flavored iced teas — available in Lemon, Peach and Raspberry — are made with no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial ingredients or flavors, and sweetened with stevia.

For consumers seeking a tea-forward taste, the four new SKUs in Nestea’s real-brewed iced tea line — Unsweetened Black Tea, Slightly Sweet Black Tea, Slightly Sweet Black Tea & Rooibos and Slightly Sweet Organic Green Tea — are made with four ingredients: water, sugar, tea and citric acid. The products are rolling out to retailers this month.

Karen Ress, vice president and general manager of Nestlé Waters North America’s tea unit, called the makeover a “total evolution” of the brand.

Kombucha Legislation Introduced

A bipartisan group of U.S. Congressmen introduced legislation on Wednesday aimed at eliminating federal alcohol taxes and updating regulations for kombucha, as reported on CNBC.

The Keeping Our Manufacturers from Being Taxed Unfairly while Championing Health Act, or KOMBUCHA, would increase the applicable alcohol-by-volume limit for kombucha from 0.5 percent to 1.25 percent. The bill is co-sponsored in the Senate by Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), while Reps. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Scott Tipton (R-Colo) have introduced a companion version in the House.

The bill addresses one of the chief concerns of kombucha manufacturers: the presence of trace alcohols, at amounts of up to 1 percent, that can occur during the production process and trigger federal excise taxes typically reserved for alcoholic beverages.

“Kombucha is the fastest growing beverage category in the United States,” said Polis in a press release. “This bipartisan bill will eliminate unfair taxes for kombucha brewers, many of whom are small businesses. By taking kombucha out from under alcohol in the tax and regulatory code, we can help a new industry grow throughout Colorado and across the country.”


High Expectations Draw Acquisition Interest for Vita Coco

After projecting sales of close to $1 billion for this year, Vita Coco, the world’s largest coconut water brand, has made itself an attractive acquisition target, according to an article in Bloomberg.

While it does not name the interested parties, the article includes an interview with Vita Coco CEO Mike Kirban in which he notes that he has been contacted by strategic acquirers, saying “We talk to a few of them quite regularly.”

In the article, Kirban says he does not view Vita Coco as a business he is going to pass on to his children (“They’d screw it up,” he notes), making either an outright sale or an initial public offering a likely prospect in the future.

As part of the company’s strategy to reach the billion-dollar mark, Kirban explains that Vita Coco aims to be “owning the coconut in different areas of the store” through a variety of product offerings, including a new coconut milk line and its chilled coconut juice products.

Vita Coco Coconut Milk, a combination of coconut water and coconut cream, is expected to debut at Safeway in March, to be followed by other retailers. Vita Coco CEO Mike Kirban said that the target audience for the product is consumers drinking organic milk and are seeking a non-dairy alternative that isn’t watered down.

Meanwhile, the article describes Vita Coco’s chilled coconut water line, available in 1.5 L bottles that will be shelved alongside refrigerated juices, as an attempt to capitalize on the decline in popularity of juice brands such as Tropicana and Simply. The line is currently in the midst of a national roll-out in stores, including Target and Safeway.

The story also says the brand is spending $25 million on its first major ad campaign.

Gatorade Lands NBA D-League Sponsorship

After decades of providing professional athletes with its sports drink from the sidelines, Gatorade is finally getting into the game.

A story in the Chicago Tribune states that Gatorade, the leading sports drink brand, has inked a deal with the National Basketball Association that will rebrand the NBA’s Development League (D-League) as the NBA Gatorade League.

The revamp will also affect the logo, basketballs, jerseys, on-court signage and digital properties related to the D-League, which serves as a second-tier competition aimed at helping scouts from NBA teams evaluate talent. Gatorade will also incorporate new products and equipment throughout the league.

Perhaps most intriguing is the integration of Gatorade’s Sports Science Institute (GSSI), the company’s research arm that tests and analyzes what athletes need to perform at their best during competition. NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said the GSSI would provide “knowledge to enhance player performances” through nutrition, training and other advances.

In the article, Gatorade senior vice president and general manager Brett O’Brien said the company would look to integrate the GSSI’s scientific expertise into the league in various ways, such as testing for a player’s sweat type or highlighting advances in physical recovery and joint health.

“I’m excited that we’re able to partner with Gatorade to not only showcase, but incubate new emerging innovations that we can deploy across … locker rooms,” said D-League President Malcolm Turner.

CORE to Launch New Package Formats

Packaging Digest reports that in early 2017 CORE Hydration, a purified alkaline water with enhanced with electrolytes and minerals, will be introducing a 6-pack for its 16.9 oz. bottles, as well as a 1.3 L bottle, increasing the brand’s format options to five total.

The suggested retail price for the 6-pack is $5.99 to $6.99 and $2.29 to $2.99 for the 1.3 L size.

Eric Berniker, chief marketing officer at CORE Hydration, told the website that the brand is responding to consumer demand for larger sizes and for multipacks.

Berniker said the new formats will be introduced at select retailers across the country this year, with the 1.3 L package entering in 7-Eleven locations starting in March.