Antioxidants: Super Ingredient?

24 Feb

Whether we realize it or not, everyone is exposed to oxidation. Oxidation is a natural process, which can cause free radicals to form in the body and do damage on body’s cells. Antioxidants have been proven to reverse the process by ridding the body of free radicals. For the average consumer, receiving an adequate amount of antioxidants per day is increasingly difficult. Recently, consumers have become increasingly interested in antioxidants as a functional ingredient. With so many consumers looking to reverse the aging process and retain their youth, antioxidants have proven to be a powerful marketing tool for many beverage companies. Last year alone, over 250 antioxidant beverages were launched. While the most common antioxidants are Vitamin C and Vitamin E, there are over 30 antioxidants which could be used as a beverage additive. According to Wild Flavors Inc., the most requested antioxidant ingredients are apple, tea and yerba mate. Among consumers, the most popular antioxidants are green tea and black tea. Green tea extract and flavanoids are more potent than traditional antioxidants like Vitamin C and they have a lot of potential as a functional ingredient. Consumers who are looking for more natural ingredients tend to prefer herbal antioxidant ingredients, such as grape seed, hibiscus, elderberry, and pomegranate.


As consumer awareness has grown about the power of antioxidants, companies such as POM wonderful have experienced tremendous growth. Aside from pomegranate, blueberry is another promising ingredient for beverage companies looking to expand into the antioxidant market. With so many consumers looking for healthy, natural products, antioxidant products seem to be the way to go. Beverage companies can formulate antioxidants from a variety of ingredients, making for a very versatile application of this trend. To learn more about the growing popularity of antioxidants, read this article from BevIndustry.


Teen Drinking at an All-Time Low

19 Feb

According to the Monitoring the Future study,  teen drinking has reached a historic low since the study began in 1975. The annual study, which is conducted by the University of Michigan and funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, is considered the standard for  substance abuse research among teens.  The world’s leading spirits, beer, and wine company, Diageo, commented on the study saying that this is, “great news and evidence of  what can be achieved when the alcohol industry, parents, teachers, law enforcement, and government policy makers work together for a common cause.”

Some of the key highlights from the study include: In 2013, teen drinking declined by 2.3% and this trend is expected to continue. In addition, lifetime, annual, and monthly consumption among grades 8, 10, and 12 is at an all-time low.  More than 70% of all 8th graders have never consumed alcohol, which is up remarkably from 30% in 1991. Students also reported greater disapproval of peers who binge drink. Furthermore, past 30 day consumption among 12th graders declined at a statistically significant rate from 2012-2013.

To learn more about the study, read this article from PR Newswire.

Coca-Cola’s ‘America is Beautiful’ SuperBowl Ad Ignites Controversy

10 Feb

Last Sunday, most Americans were tuned into the SuperBowl to watch the game, halftime show and commercials. While the game was surely upsetting, Coca-Cola’s ad during the SuperBowl seemed to have caught the most attention from consumers and fans alike. The commercial featured people of all ages, ethnicity, and lifestyles. Over the footage was the patriotic song, ‘America the Beautiful,’ sung in multiple languages. The commercial’s main message was a celebration of Coke Classic and the variety of meanings that this takes on across cultures around the nation, but also around the world. While the commercial celebrated the diversity of America, many consumers missed the point entirely and took to the media to complain about Coke’s efforts.

Coca-Cola is a company which is about as much of an American icon as you can get. The beverage name brand’s logo is a universal symbol, which has achieved global recognition. The company, which brought us the “I’d like to teach the world to sing” commercial decades ago, has caused a lot of controversy over this ‘America is Beautiful’ campaign. Most of the complaints sounded something like, “We speak ENGLISH here, IDIOTS.” While it is easy to brush off these comments as ignorant, Coca-Cola had it right in this commercial. Namely, America has always been a multi-lingual country. Coca-Cola has been able to achieve mass, global appeal, but in America, Coca-Cola is losing out on wealthy, conservative consumers. In order to maintain its share in the market, Coca-Cola knows that it has to appeal to a wider consumer base than just caucasian Americans. For example, Coca-Cola used this ad to target ‘heavy users,’ which tend to come from low income areas. By targeting heavy users, Coca-Cola is hoping to promote its beverage by welcoming everything that America is made of: diversity.

To learn more about Coca-Cola’s SuperBowl controversy, read this article from The Guardian.


SodaStream to Partner with Welch’s

3 Feb

SodaStream, the popular at-home soda kit, is going through a rough period, to say the least. As Forbes reported on January 13th, the company share’s have lost more than 20 percent after the company announced its 2013 earnings. Since January 13th, the company’s shares have dropped even more. Additionally, SodaStream’s proposed Super Bowl ad was rejected. The original ad, according to USA Today, featured actress Scarlett Johansson saying “sorry, Coke and Pepsi.” Daniel Birnbaum, the CEO of SodaStream, believes that the act likely stems from the Pepsi’s partnership with Fox, the station which is hosting the Super Bowl.

Despite these setbacks to the company, SodaStream has recently announced its partnership with Welch Foods Inc., the grape juice company. According to BevNet, Welch’s will develop a line of sparkling juice concentrates that can be used exclusively with SodaStream’s carbonation device. According to Welch’s CEO and President, Brad Irwin, “This is a great opportunity to bring the goodness of Welch’s to more consumers in a fun and innovative way.” The Welch’s products are expected to be released in late 2014. To learn more, read this BevNet article. 






Flexitarianism is the next big trend

27 Jan

While not a strict vegetarian diet, a flexitarian diet is one which is plant-based, but which allows for meat consumption on occassion. According to an article in, the Office of National Statistics in the UK revealed that over 1.2 million people in the UK consider themselves vegetarian and these numbers are expected to grow by 50% in the next two years. Currently, vegetarians and ‘meatless-Mondays’ are combining to make the average consumer more aware of their dietary consumption of meat and other animal products. Companies are already catching onto the trend: Classic Cuisine plans to unveil a line of vegetarian products to meet the growing demand from these consumers.

Flexitarianism will have a huge impact on food & beverage companies if it catches on. Food & beverage companies will need to come up with new ways to provide alternatives to meat and dairy products, while also providing a great tasting product. This may be no easy feat, but if food & beverage companies begin developing flexitarian products now, they will be more likely to thrive once this trend is actualized.

To learn more about this trend, read the article from Beverage Daily.

Alternative Beverage Sector Grows

20 Jan

Over the last twenty years, consumer tastes and preferences has shifted considerably. Consumers today are looking for more from their beverages than a sugary pick-me-up. The modern consumer is looking for a functional beverage, which is healthy yet exotic. Past studies, however, could have all but predicted the way that this trend would play out in the marketplace.


In an article by BevNet, which discusses the popularity of alternative beverages, sports drinks, energy drinks, ready-to-drink teas, and juice are listed as popular alternative beverages.

Athletic performance and sports nutrition have been studied more thoroughly since Gatorade was first developed. Today’s sports minded consumers are looking for hydration, nutrition and fuel. Now there are more supplements than ever to help enhance sports performance, but not all of these have been incorporated into a popular wellness drink.


One of the most well-known alternative beverages is the energy drink. Over the last decade, energy drinks have grown 32% annually. Currently, the energy drink market is expected to grow 6%, energy drinks are expected to remain relevant in our evermore fast-paced world. Natural energy may be the next biggest sector for growth in this market, as many consumers outside of the traditional energy drink target market (dads and baby boomers) are looking for a less harmful product to enhance their natural energy.


Ready-to-drink (RTD) teas and coffee are another emerging segment of the alternative beverage market. The RTD tea and coffee industry is expected to grow around 4% this year to around $8.1B. Although Snapple was the first popular RTD, Arizona is responsible for opening the market for a wider variety of products. As consumer awareness of tea’s health benefits has increased, so too have the number of competitors in the industry.


Since the New Age beverage movement, many of the largest juice companies have been acquired by larger beverage firms (Coca-Cola and Pepsi). Today, traditional juices may be losing marketshare to new, premium juices. With the rise of juiceries in major cities across the US, juice manufacturing companies are struggling to keep up by utilizing new manufacturing processes, such as HPP and aseptic filling.

The rise of alternative beverages was not unexpected. However, the products which have arisen as a result of this trend were anything but. As beverage companies look ahead, the future of alternative beverages is bright. Consumers are more open to new tastes now than ever before.


To learn more about alternative beverages, read the BevNet article.

Seasonal Craft Beers Gain Popularity

13 Jan

In recent years, craft brewers have been on the rise. With companies like Sam Adams and Sierra Nevada gaining widespread popularity, many small craft breweries have sprouted up across the nation. Not surprisingly, seasonal craft beer accounts for the majority of all craft beer sales. According to the LA Times, some craft breweries are even considering ending production of their classic beer lines in order to accommodate for ever-changing seasonal production.

Craft breweries have found success in the seasonal variety because they can experiment more with interesting flavors and varieties. From vanilla and coconut and IPA to Stout, craft brewers have seen it all.  Moreover, the limited quantity available makes seasonal craft beers in greater demand. According to an article by Beverage Industry, seasonal craft beer sales totaled more than $294 million in 2013. Seasonal craft breweries are up more than 24.3 percent in the last year and they are expected to continue growing.

To find out more, read the Beverage Industry article on seasonal craft beer.