Distribution Roundup: Diabolo Expands with Kroger

Diabolo Adds More Than 1,200 Stores with Kroger

Better-for-you ‘French Soda’ brand Diabolo announced it has added 1,255 grocery chain stores in the Kroger family, including Ralphs and Frys Divisions as well as nine different Kroger East Divisions, bringing its total retail presence to more than 4,000 stores.

Speaking to BevNET this week, Diabolo VP Jon Pevehouse said the brand already had placement in some Kroger banner stores, including Ralphs, and the existing relationship prompted the new expansion, which will grow Diabolo’s presence on the East Coast and help to fill out its current West Coast footprint. Kroger is also adding Diabolo to its warehouse, Pevehouse said.

He added that the expansion will be supported with promos and that Kroger may also feature the brand on its blog where the company posts recipes and recommends new products for consumers.

In addition to Kroger, Pevehouse said Diabolo has been adding stores with other existing retail partners including Safeway and H-E-B. The brand is also performing well in independents, he added, notably in states like Alaska where some local retailers are moving an average 25 cases per month.

Soylent Signs Strategic Partnership with Kroger

Meal replacement brand Soylent will enter more than 1,850 Kroger grocery stores nationwide, the largest retail expansion to date for the company.

The brand is now available in more than 10,000 stores across the U.S., including in 7-Eleven, CVS, and Walmart stores.

“Our success in building strategic retail partnerships around the country is evidence of the consumer demand for affordable, complete nutrition that delivers on expectations and tastes great,” said Melody Conner, SVP of sales, in a press release. “The pace of our expansion is a true testament to the success we are seeing in stores across all retail channels and geographical markets.”

The company is also promoting a charitable initiative, in which it will donate one bottle of Soylent to food-deprived regions around the world for every bottle of Soylent sold in New York City.

“Our expansion with Kroger is an exciting opportunity for Soylent to create real impact with our mutual mission to fight hunger in our communities,” said Soylent CEO Bryan Crowley in a press release. “Soylent’s own 1 for 1 giving program delivers on our promise of complete nutrition for thousands of families in need. We’ve started our campaign in New York and look forward to expanding in communities around the country.”

FORTO Coffee Shots Go Nationwide in Walmart

Already available in more than 50,000 retail accounts, FORTO coffee shots added 3,700 Walmart stores nationwide this week, the company announced in a press release. The retailer will carry two SKUs — Vanilla Latte and Hershey’s Chocolate Latte.

FORTO founder and CEO Neel Premkumar told BevNET last month that the brand is quickly gaining placement in the coffee aisle at grocery stores and that the company is looking to double its number of retail accounts to more than 100,000 stores in 2019.

“Our retail partners see the value in selling FORTO in the coffee aisle, where consumers are increasingly looking for portable coffee,” Premkumar said in the press release. “FORTO is single-serve coffee to-go. As a next generation coffee brand, we want to sell side-by-side with

established coffee options, so that we can invite American coffee lovers to add FORTO to their daily regimen.”

SOM Sleep Goes Nationwide in GNC, Makes Grocery Gains

Ready-to-drink sleep aid supplement SOM Sleep hasn’t been snoozing when it comes to making distribution gains. The brand, which launched in January, has been filling out its retail presence in the grocery and fitness channels, recently adding more than 800 GNC stores nationwide, as well as Central Market stores in Texas.

According to co-founder and CEO John Shegerian, although the California-based company launched as a direct-to-consumer (DTC) product online, the current growth strategy is primarily focused on brick-and-mortar retail. In addition to its latest retail partnerships, the brand is also available in smaller retail chains including Bristol Farms, Down to Earth, and Jade’s. He added that the company is preparing to launch at nearly 20 additional retailers throughout the summer.

“We are hyper-focused on brick-and-mortar,” Shegerian told BevNET. “Because everyone wants to be the next DTC beverage brand, and that’s all wonderful. My partners and I have internet experience and that is continuing to grow, but we’re very, very focused on brick-and-mortar…. America still lives in the stores. America still wants the experience of shopping and going out. Some people think its social, some people just want to see and feel.”

Shegerian said he anticipates SOM’s brick-and-mortar growth to fuel online sales.

“We’ve signed so many retailers,” Shegerian said. “We have a pipeline, it’s all coming…. and the buyers are real excited to see a new category.”

Purpose Tea Enters Wegmans

Kenyan Purple Tea maker Purpose Tea has entered 72 Wegmans stores along the East Coast, bringing the Texas-based startup’s footprint to more than 500 retailers nationwide.

The brand, which launched in December, has also added independent retailers in the Pacific Northwest and Jewel Osco stores in the Midwest, and several other chains in the Great Plains, according to founder and CEO Chi Nguyen.

“I’ve realized that gaining distribution is one piece of the puzzle, but ensuring we have velocity is the other,” Nguyen told BevNET. “So we are now hyper-focused on increasing velocity in what i call strategic accounts in strategic territories. So Wegmans was a big target for us in the beginning and I am so excited that we’re now on board with them.”

Nguyen said the company is also preparing to launch at Nugget stores in California by the end of the month. Purpose Tea has partnered with distributor C&F Foods to service the California market and is preparing to sign agreements with other DSD distributors in the state.