After developing a beverage portfolio of soda alternatives, Live Soda is now targeting the real thing.
Since its founding in 2012, the Austin-based company has followed a strategy of using flavors familiar to soda fans, such as cola and root beer, in its kombuchas and sparkling drinking vinegars. At this year’s Natural Products Expo West show, kicking off in Anaheim, Calif. tomorrow, Live Soda will showcase its newest line extension and first foray into traditional carbonated soft drink category with the launch of a shelf-stable, five-SKU line of Probiotic Sodas.
In a call with BevNET last week, Live Soda founder and CEO Trevor Ross explained that the new line fit with the company’s goal of offering better-for-you alternatives to soda, as well as other motivations.
“My goal would be, if you forgive my language, to piss off the big three soda companies — I would love nothing more,” Ross said. “I feel like the biggest impact for stealing that soda defector is going to be hit them in the aisle where they shop.”
The Probiotic Soda line is specifically aimed at capturing a share of the diet soda category, Ross said. The products contain zero calories, no caffeine and no sugar, and are naturally sweetened with monk fruit extract. Each of the five flavors– Cola, Root Beer, Ginger, Lemon-Lime and Doctor — are made with non-GMO ingredients and are fortified with a billion colony forming units (CFU) of probiotics.
While extending the LIVE Soda brand, the new line also presents the possibility that the company’s three product lines — kombucha, drinking vinegar and now soda,all with similar gut health benefits — may eat into each other’s’ markets. Ross acknowledged that the company had discussed that prospect internally, but emphasized the fact that each line would be able to find room to grow in different sections at retailers.
“They are separated by a world inside the store,” he said. “A lot of people pass by the functional cooler, and I think the hardcore soda drinker might miss that se, whereas they are already walking down the shelf stable soda aisle and buying LaCroix, Zevia or something else. This is our opportunity to capitalize on that and give them a better alternative.”
Ross didn’t offer further details about Live’s retail strategy for the new line, noting that further announcements with regard to specific retailer partnerships would be announced this week during Expo West. The suggested retail price for a 6-pack of 12 oz. cans is $4.99.
“There’s one very large natural food store that’s going to launch us nationally, and that’s going to be amazing for us,” he said.