During the recent stretch of third-quarter earnings calls for investors, executives at Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Keurig Dr Pepper remained buoyant as consumers barely batted an eye at higher beverage prices, as evidenced by US soft drink results at retail this year (page 9). “We've seen elasticity continue to be strong and stronger than expected through three quarters of the year,” PepsiCo CFO Hugh Johnston said on Oct. 12. “And obviously, we are carefully watching what happens with the consumer.” Almost two weeks later, Chairman and CEO James Quincey told investors...
As you know well as a BD subscriber, we are paying far more attention to the alcohol beverage market. In today’s issue, we write about the friction caused by non-alcohol beverage companies as they find ways to patriciate in ready-to-drink alcohol.
Given that backdrop, we are excited to announce the addition of Anheuser-Busch InBev to our Future Smarts conference program. Our guest will be Fabricio Zonzini, president of ABI’s Beyond Beer business unit in North America. He runs the fastest growing business unit within ABI’s largest geographic zone.
During a fireside chat with me, Zonzini will provide commentary on industry trends in RTD cocktails, seltzers, and low-alcohol packaged beverages, which have been a focus of growth for the world’s largest beer brewer. ABI also plays in traditional non-alcoholic RTD categories including energy
With all the excitement over Celsiuslately, one could lose sight of the fact that global players Red Bull and Monster still control more than half the US energy drink category. Each is busily defending its turf while growing volume and dollars. But with long-standing or second-generation owners, they are ripe for M&A speculation.
Rumors last week that Red Bull co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz is seriously ill sparked just such talk. Dietrich and his family hold 49% of Red Bull. The family of the late co-founder Chaleo Yoovidhya owns the rest. Could the company...
Allow me to catch you up on plans for our Future Smarts conference on Dec. 5. Our return to New York City after two years of successful virtual shows promises to deliver an expert lineup as good as we’ve ever hosted.
Just yesterday I confirmed our most recent speaker addition: Michael Del Pozzo, the new president and general manager for PepsiCo’s Gatorade Performance Portfolio. The unit includes Propel, Muscle Milk, Evolve plant-based protein shakes, and now Fast Twitch energy drink for athletes. We haven’t announced Del Pozzo’s appearance, so consider this a sneak peek. BodyArmor in recent years has re-ignited a category that had become sleepy. It’s now a free-for-all and Gatorade hasn’t backed away from...
This headline stopped me cold: “Coca-Cola launches project to capture CO2 from the atmosphere and transform it into sugar.”
I checked to see if the story came from the Onion. It didn’t. I looked at the calendar. The month was August not April. I searched Google for the article’s source. It was a legit press release from Coca-Cola Europacific Partners.
The U.K.-based bottler that serves Europe, Australia, and the island nations surrounding Australia has partnered with the University of California, Berkeley “to develop scalable methods of converting captured CO2 into sugar,” the company announced in August. Attention, grabbed.
Through its CCEP Ventures unit, the Europe-based bottler will help fund work by UCB’s Peidong Yang Research Group. The sugar extracted from carbon dioxide could be used in beverage products or in the production of PET plastic, reducing the need for crude oil, the bottler said. “The development of lab scale prototypes could make the generation of essential raw and packaging materials more sustainable in the long-term,” according to CCEP. “It could reduce, some of the largest CO2 contributors in supply chains, while saving material, transportation and logistics costs.”
Aside from the sheer cool factor of such scientific work, there is good reason for bottlers like CCEP to call attention to this work years before it will yield truly scalable results. Consumers, especially younger consumers, want...
The liquor store sure has changed. I popped into one last week to grab some Finnish Long Drink for our dog sitter. I left having seen the very embodiment of a trend.
A massive display of Svedka vodka sodas and teas greeted me at the door. Other floor displays throughout the store pitched bright-colored cans of premixed cocktails, like a gin and tonic from Bombay Sapphire. Newer canned spirits brands such as High Noon and Cutwater stacked the cases high and sold them – at a premium.
An entire section of shelves was permanently labeled “Ready-to-Drink.” An endcap display, big enough to incorporate a full-sized bicycle, marketed a product from craft beer trailblazer Dogfish Head (eventually acquired by Boston Beer). The display wasn’t for beer, however. It was for canned cocktails by Dogfish’s distilling unit. Even Dos Equis offered a blanco tequila ready-to-drink margarita.
I asked an alcohol distributor stocking a display about the transformation (spurred in part by consumers’ boredom with beer)...
We’re back in New York City for Future Smarts this year and I can’t wait. After two years of successful virtual conferences during the pandemic lockdown, the team here didn’t hesitate to dive back into a live event. Why? Because of you.
Future Smarts is critical connective tissue for the Beverage Digest community. It’s there that attendees catch up with old industry friends to strengthen bonds – and make new connections. Over the years, many beverage deals have been hatched during sideline huddles. Attendees get out of local markets and offices to hear and share perspectives from around the country and world.
The beverage industry is full of niche and regional brands that find ways to remain relevant as consumer trends come and go. We drop into two such brands today – Jel Sert and Ale-8-One. Each has a century of history that started with determined founders.
Jel Sert began life in 1926 making instant gelatin desserts. Founders Charles and Lillian Wegner created the product using...
I’m a skeptic when it comes to non-alcoholic craft beers, spirits, and wines. How big can this market get without the functional benefits of alcohol, especially when sold at about the same price?
I recently posed the question to Athletic Brewing Co-founder and CEO Bill Shufelt during a panel I moderated for Credit Suisse in New York. His non-alcoholic beer brand has raised more than $70 million since launching in 2018 and accounts for almost half of the still-small US non-alcoholic beer market. Shufelt told me that most of his consumers don’t shun alcohol. Sometimes they just need a break and they like beer. He sees lots
You’ll note an extreme focus on carbonated soft drink pricing in today’s newsletter. That’s because there is no shortage of news, and soft drinks remain a massive and profitable category for US manufacturers and retailers.
On page 7, bottlers discuss the recent Memorial Day holiday weekend and how soda consumers and retailers are responding to higher list prices and fewer “hot” promotional deals. BD shares what we learned from an informal survey. The news so far is positive, even if precarious.
On page 10, we publish our annual soft drink concentrate pricing review, which reflects the inflationary environment facing the industry and its stakeholders. Increases for major soda brands like Coca- Cola, PepsiCo, and Dr Pepper as high as...