Ten years ago, when South African Breweries moved its headquarters to London, it sought to become one of the major players in a consolidating global beer business. The plan not only made the brewer, now known as SABMiller, the world’s second-largest brewer, it also positioned the company to succeed in both good times and bad, including one of the worst economic recessions in a century.
Beverage companies are playing both sides of the fence in 2009, offering traditional comfort flavors and newer, more exotic fruit and floral flavors. In addition, beverage flavoring systems are becoming more complex with the increase in functional ingredients, the addition of multiple sweetening options, and even the use of no sweetener at all.
Bill Meissner, president of TalkingRain, says the Preston, Wash.-based water company that makes the Twist and Activwater brands has been around for more than two decades, but acts a lot like a startup. As a veteran of companies such as SoBe and Fuze, that’s exactly where Meissner is most comfortable. He took over the reins at TalkingRain in January, and has made it a priority to expand those products in the same way he helped build his previous brands.
Tea benefits from a reputation for both health and refreshment, which has put it in something of a sweet spot for the past several years. But economic challenges have hit this category as hard as any other, resulting in retail sales losses for the ready-to-drink category, and only a slight gain in the bagged and loose leaf segment, according to data from Information Resources Inc., Chicago.
For most school kids, the beverage options available during school hours have dwindled over the past several years. National guidelines, as well as local regulations have limited the beverages sold in many schools to milk, juice and water. Not bad from a nutritional standpoint, but somewhat lacking in flavor and variety. The Switch, a 100 percent juice product with the bubbly appeal of a carbonated soft drink, is providing an alternative in many markets. And the good news for kids is that the brand is in expansion mode, making its way into new regions and new retail channels, as well.
From the ever-increasing array of antioxidant-rich “superfruits” to stevia and â€” gasp! â€” the return of sugar, the following ingredients are topping beverage formulation trends and consumer headlines.
Jean-Charles Boisset, president of Boisset Family Estates, says audacity is a word he loves. That bold spirit is evident in his company’s innovative lineup of wine brands such as French Rabbit, Louis Bernard, Mommessin and Yellow Jersey, packaged in everything from Tetra Pak Prisma cartons to aluminum bottles, bag-in-box and PET.