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Coca-Cola Whets Thirst for Vitaminwater with Stevia in UK

Posted by Dale Buss on December 7, 2012 04:04 PM

The relaunching of Vitaminwater in the U.K. relies on the confluence of two big developments: the growth of the Vitaminwater brand in what has become an important new market, and the rise of stevia-based beverages in Europe.

Glaceau is introducing fresh and more nutritionally informative new packaging for Vitaminwater in the U.K. and a new formula including stevia sweetener that cuts calories by 30 and reduces sugar levels by 30 percent. The company also is altering its nutrient blend in some varieties as well, boosting vitamins and minerals. 

"Being able to keep the products tasting great, but with fewer calories and introducing" stevia and more nutrients "is a fantastic step," Philippa Classey, a marketing manager for Vitaminwater, said in a Glaceau press release.

Stevia — the super-sweet extract of a bush native to South America — has been slower to penetrate the European beverage market than the U.S. in part because European regulators were slower to approve the low-calorie ingredient. But major beverage makers also including PepsiCo lately have been ramping up their use of the natural sweetener there.Continue reading...

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Coconut Water Draws Battle Line in the Cola Wars

Posted by Dale Buss on February 14, 2012 11:54 AM

Many argue that Coca-Cola overpaid substantially for a better-for-you beverage line when it bought Glaceau, and its Vitaminwater brand, for $4 billion in 2007. Yet the share of the bottled-water market enjoyed by Vitaminwater and its siblling Smartwater brand continues to grow in a category that has flattened out.

Coke would probably settle for a similar outcome as it moves to exercise its option to acquire a majority stake in Zico, the no. 2 brand of coconut water in the United States by sales, after purchasing a minority holding in the start-up for less than $15 million in 2009. Coke won't disclose the price of the option, but it probably isn't $4 billion.

Coconut water is emerging as another important front in the "cola wars" between PepsiCo and Coke, because just as Coke is moving in on Zico, PepsiCo is rolling out nationwide distribution of the No. 3 brand, O.N.E., after taking a majority stake in the brand in 2010.

Vita Coco, the No. 1-selling U.S. coconut water brand, has attracted celebrity endorsements by Rihanna, Madonna and the New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez. It's controlled by founder Michael Kirban and Verlinvest, a Belgian investment firm, and more than doubled its revenue last year to nearly $100 million. That figure indicates a continued acceleration in growth of coconut-water sales because near the middle of that high-growth year, for the 52 weeks ended September 3rd, sales for the entire coconut-water segment in the U.S. were about $110 million — more than double the year-earlier figure of $54 million — according to SPINS, which provides sales data on nutritional and better-for-you foods.Continue reading...

brand ambassadors

Ashton Kutcher, Popchip Culture Czar

Posted by Shirley Brady on June 28, 2010 04:00 PM

Ashton Kutcher isn't just a fan of Popchips. He loves the brand so much he has just acquired a minority stake in the company, and will oversee the San Francisco-based firm's social-marketing efforts as its first ever "president of pop culture." One thing he won't do — appear in Popchips ads.

"Listen, I'm going to eat these chips anyway," the socialy media-savvy actor (who boasts 5 million-plus Twitter followers) tells the Wall Street Journal. "If I can, why not actually own a piece of the company? As my image is being leveraged, I am participating in the upside."

The move echoes Polaroid's "hiring" of Lady Gaga in January as its creative director, a partnership (she similarly acquired an undislosed minority stake) that led to a meeting in April but not much (yet) beyond that.Continue reading...

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