NESTLE AND COKE END ICED TEA JOINT VENTURE
In the face of growing competition from their rivals, Nestle and Coca-Cola have agreed to end their Nestea iced tea venture after 16 years, according to an article in Fortune.
The two beverage giants teamed up in 2001 to form Beverage Partners Worldwide, a platform to distribute Nestea in 52 countries, including Australia, Canada and in various European nations.
“The ready-to-drink tea market has evolved, and Nestle believes the time is right to develop Nestea independently,” a representative of the company said on Friday.
The announcement comes after Nestle introduced a redesigned and reformulated line of Nestea drinks in February. In a nod to beverage consumers’ shifting preferences towards lower sugar options, the fruit-flavored varieties of the new Nestea are made with organic cane sugar and stevia and contain no high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, artificial flavors or GMO ingredients.
WEST VIRGINIA GOVERNOR PUSHES SODA TAX
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has introduced a revised version of his 2017-18 state budget plan that includes a so-called “soda tax” on sugar-sweetened beverages, according to a report in the West Virginia Gazette Mail.
The proposal, which Justice called a “Better Health Initiative for West Virginia,” would impose a 1-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary soft drinks, raising $85 million. He told the West Virginia Gazette Mail that health advocates had convinced him the increases would raise revenue and provide a public health benefit.
“Gosh knows, it would have been great if I’d drank a few cans less of sweet soda pop,” he told the newspaper.
After state lawmakers objected to increases in sales taxes, gas taxes and business gross receipts taxes in his original budget, Justice is introducing the soda tariff as a means to offset smaller increases to the aforementioned taxes in his revised budget plan.
The soda tax is similar to measures adopted recently in Philadelphia, San Francisco and in Cook County, Ill.
ZEVIA DENIES INTEREST IN OUTRIGHT SALE
Paddy Spence, CEO of stevia-sweetened soda company Zevia, told Reuters that, despite numerous offers from other beverage companies and private equity firms, it is not considering an outright sale at the present time.
Spence did, however, leave open the possibility of a public offering of shares or selling a minority stake in the brand.
“We are in a world where growth in conventional consumer packaged goods has slowed dramatically and everyone is looking for the next growth engine,” Spence said. “That fuels a lot of (buyout) enquiries.”
The article also noted that Zevia is in seeking to expand distribution by selling at hospitals and convenience stores, as well as at restaurants looking to add healthier beverage options.
STUDY LINKS SUGAR WITH ALZHEIMER’S RISK
Researchers from the University of Bath worked with colleagues from King’s College London to study brain samples from people with and without Alzheimer’s. The researchers found a specific molecular relationship between blood sugar glucose and the degenerative neurological disease. The results were published in the journal Scientific Reports.
The discovery centers on the behavior of an enzyme in the brain called MIF, or macrophage migration inhibitory factor.
In the samples, researchers found that MIF is damaged by a process called glycation in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. As the disease progresses, glycation of those enzymes increases, reducing some MIF functions and completely inhibiting others.
Scientists said this could be the “tipping point” that allows Alzheimer’s to develop.
“Excess sugar is well known to be bad for us when it comes to diabetes and obesity, but this potential link with Alzheimer’s disease is yet another reason that we should be controlling our sugar intake in our diets,” said Dr. Omar Kassar, a researcher at the University of Bath.