Beverage Digest is walking the show floor along with about 65,000 other attendees at Expo West in California this week. We'll investigate natural ingredient trends that could one day drive the growing and profitable functional packaged beverage market. We're also looking for what's new within existing ready-to-drink segments and product lines, and talking to the founders and leaders who propel the sector.
We'll share our observations in live updates here, so check back through the next couple of days.
Subscribers can email us if there is something specific you'd like to ask about. For those attending the show, feel free to send any noteworthy observations as well.
Little Increase in Retailer Pressure Over Pricing. Promotions Remain Strategic.
March 2, 2023
Input Costs Still Elevated, Tracking Inflation. Volatility Expected.
Independent Coca-Cola and PepsiCo bottlers generally anticipate average annual retail carbonated soft drink pricing growth of between +3.0% and +6.0% during the next five years, an informal BD survey found. US CSD pricing at retail in 2022 reached almost +15.0%. Some bottlers said pricing growth will likely trend in the +7.0% to +9.0% range. Outliers predicted...
Brand Looks to Capitalize on ‘Rapid Hydration’ Trend Without Going Into 'Hole.'
February 16, 2023
’We’re Not Desperate,” Co-founder Says, Thanks to Military Focus.
Military-focused isotonic brand Hoist is on the hunt for outside investment capital to help fund a deeper and eventually wider push into traditional retail markets, according to the brand’s founders. Hoist currently derives more than half of its revenue from US military sales, Co-founder and President Kelly Heekin told BD in an interview. Outside of the armed forces, Hoist’s traditional retail footprint comprises about...
Decades-Long ‘Hobby’ Looks to Capitalize on Consumer Desire for Canned Water
February 1, 2023
Brand Backed By Former Hedge Fund Owner, Major League Pickleball Founder
Richard’s Rainwater has spent the last couple of years making sure the brand won’t be ignored. Fresh off a 2021 Series A funding round that was north of $10 million, the Austin, Texas-based packager of actual rainwater has been expanding shelf presence at retailers including Kroger, Albertson’s and HEB, adding production capacity, and executing an aggressive publicity campaign. If you hadn’t heard of the still nascent brand previously, you’d be...
Meanwhile, Can BodyArmor Regain Pre-Acquisition Momentum
February 1, 2023
For decades, Coca-Cola’s Powerade existed to fight off US sports drink leader Gatorade, which created what is now at least a $12 billion category, according to BD all-channel data. In more recent years, Powerade all but faded into the background, overshadowed by a challenger called BodyArmor that pledged to displace PepsiCo-owned Gatorade with claims of better-for-you ingredients and an in-your-face marketing voice. That may now change. A year after acquiring BodyArmor and merging it into a standalone unit with Powerade, Coca-Cola is ready to get...
If you have young adults in your life, hopefully they have introduced you to bubble tea, also known as boba tea. This combination of tea, milk, and gelatin-like tapioca pearls, invented decades ago in Taiwan, can by now be found in strip mall cafes all over the US. Almost always there are high school and college students inside slurping boba beads through oversized straws. Franchised versions of the concept have of course followed.
Having visited a few of these bubble tea cafes with my kids, I was primed to notice several ready-to-drink and make-at-home versions seeking to capitalize on the boba trend — and to take drink occasions away from iced and bottled coffee. Here are a couple: