New Beverage Showdown 5 Finalists Substantiate Industry Shift

The final six brands in New Beverage Showdown 5 at BevNET Live Summer ’13 in New York City confirmed an increasingly evident truth about innovation in this industry.

“The days of artificial everything are the days of the past,” said Eric Schnell, a judge for the event and the founder and CEO of Metabrand.

All six of the final brands — Motto, ‘Tude, Jinja, Green Mustache, Koa and Make A Stand — complement the national rise of health-conscious consumers. It’s these same consumers that have spearheaded the decline of carbonated soft drinks, for example, and the rise of beverages with natural ingredients.

Motto, a flavored, sparkling product, claims to be the world’s first bottled beverage that delivers the health benefits of matcha green tea, a potent source of antioxidants.  It also uses apple cider vinegar for its cleansing properties, honey and organic agave as a sweetener and lemon juice to brighten the beverage and contribute toward the flavor.

‘tude juice uses cold pressed apples and then undergoes high pressure processing (HPP) to boost its shelf life. At the BevNET sampling bar, attendees commented on the juice’s genuine apple taste and its hue, which looks more yellow-orange than the typical copper color of mainstream brands.

“We are simply elevating the apple to a new level,” ‘tude founder Andy Knowlton said.

Jinja is a blend of ginger, cayenne pepper, green tea, mint and lemon. The founder, Reuben Canada, said that his beverage mixes well for cocktails, is currently in certain Whole Foods locations and has developed a small but loyal following.

“I created Jinja because I love exciting and delicious,” Canada said.

Green Mustache, the only drink to make the final six that markets primarily toward kids, has four SKUs — tropical twist, orange mango, mixed berry and strawberry banana— and contains kale, spinach, chia, Vitamins A and C, calcium, iron and fiber. It also contains no added sugars, preservatives or artificial flavors. The founder, VanTrang Manges, said that she’s already working with Cascadia Managing Brands.

“This entire endeavor was inspired by my now four and a half year-old daughter,” Manges said.

Koa is an organic water that blends nine juices and currently goes for a suggested retail price of $3.99 in Dallas. It has no calories, carbs or sugar.

Make A Stand is a lemonade that aims use its proceeds to end child slavery. It’s an ambitious cause that combines emotional appeal and traditional marketing.

“Tomorrow’s round will allow more time, more discovery for the judges,” said Matt Hughes, another judge and the director of commercialization and field sales for Venturing & Emerging Brands Group.

The winner of New Beverage Showdown 5 will be announced this evening following another round of presentations from the finalists and deliberations from the judges.