2014 Brandcameo Product Placement Awards

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SodaStream Takes a Note from Keurig with New Single-Use Flavor Caps

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 26, 2013 05:46 PM

The home-beverage making trend is stronger than ever, and up-and-comer SodaStream is out to grab more market share from giants like Keurig and Starbucks, both of which have increasingly stepped into the seltzer-maker's territory. 

The company has introduced SodaCaps, small recyclable containers that screw onto the top of its seltzer bottles that distribute flavor syrups such as ginger ale, cola, diet pink grapefruit, or diet cola into the bottle below. The packages of eight caps will retail for between $5 and $10 and will be sold along with the company's current bottles of syrup flavoring that consumers need to pour in manually. 

According to the Motley Fool, the strategy both Green Mountain, the maker of the Keurig system, and SodaStream are using is called “the razor-and-blade business model, in which a company sells a low-margin item that requires the use of a high-margin item, which has to be replaced frequently.” SodaCaps should create a nice new revenue stream for the company that already pulls in sales from its CO2 canisters.Continue reading...

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Green Mountain Touts Keurig 2.0 System to Vanquish K-Cup Copycats

Posted by Dale Buss on November 21, 2013 03:55 PM

Green Mountain wants to reap the full benefits of the US single-cup coffee brewing phenomenon that it started. So the maker of Keurig brewing systems and K-Cup portion packs plans to leapfrog the increasingly problematic copycat crowd with a new "Keurig 2.0" system with "interactive readability" that won't work with copycat pods.

Competition in single-serve pods is getting fiercer, with new players such as Panera continuing to enter the hot marketplace. Yet Green Mountain has continued to dominate the industry. And at least Panera and other brands like Starbucks are coming into the segment under licensing arrangements with Green Mountain and makers of pod systems.

A far bigger problem for Green Mountain has been the fact that patents on its K-Cups ran out in 2012. Unlicensed copycats rushed in, and they've already grabbed 8 percent of the Keurig platform, CEO Brian Kelley told financial analysts this week, with a record penetration of 12 percent by end of Green Mountain's just-completed fiscal fourth quarter. Copycats' price points are as much as 25 percent lower than official K-Cups.Continue reading...

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Panera Looks to Juice Sales with Single Shots of Caffeine

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 20, 2013 04:02 PM

Bakery-cafe Panera Bread has had a rough go at it lately, with its extensive menu turning out to be a hard sell. So the fast-casual restaurant is hoping further investment in one of its simplest offerings pays off.

In partnership with coffee provider Disant Lands Coffee, the restaurant is launching four varieties of its cafe coffee in K-Cup form, following in the footsteps of cafe rival Starbucks. The four flavors—dark roast, light roast, Colombia, and hazelnut crème—are the same ones served up at the chain’s more than 1,700 locations, according to Food Business News. The effort will bring the Panera brand into Supervalues, Save Marts, Hy-Vees, Dierbergs, and select Winn-Dixie locations across the country.

"Our customers appreciate the level of care we put into our menu, like our commitment to fresh coffee, on the hour, in every bakery-cafe," said Stephanie Crimmins, vice-president of Panera Bread. "With Panera Single-Serve Cups we are offering them the same fresh coffee experience in their own kitchen."Continue reading...

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Monster Seeks to Lead with Energy-Drink Innovations—and Industry Guidelines

Posted by Dale Buss on November 13, 2013 06:12 PM

In an energy-drink category that was created and is still topped by Red Bull, Monster Beverage is attempting to assert its own leadership in two new ways: as the leading innovator, and the leading accommodator.

Monster maintains that it's the leading product innovator in a category where growth is slowing overall. Recent SKU launches including Muscle Monster energy shakes, zero-calorie Monster Ultra Blue and the latest variant of 10-calorie line Monster Rehab have "exceeded expectations," the company said recently, according to BeverageDaily.com. All in all, CEO Rodney Sacks told a conference call, recent Nielsen data showed that Monster sales were up more than 9 percent while the overall US energy-drinks and -shots category inched up by only 3 percent.

At about $8.4 billion, growth in sales of energy drinks in SymphonyIRI-measured outlets leveled off to less than 6 percent during the 52 weeks ending August 11, down from year-to-year growth of 15 percent during 2012, 18 percent in 2011 and 10 percent in 2010. The decline for energy shots was sharper: Sales of $1.2 billion were down by 8 percent from a year earlier, following just a gain of 1 percent for calendar 2012, and of 19 percent in 2011 and 40 percent in 2010 in supermarkets, drug stores, mass merchandisers, c-stores and some club stores (excluding Walmarts and Sam's Clubs) where they're tallied by the Chicago-based market research firm.Continue reading...

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India, China Beckon PepsiCo and Coca-Cola For Major New Investments

Posted by Dale Buss on November 11, 2013 03:23 PM

PepsiCo and Coca-Cola have been doubling down on emerging markets, despite feeling tremendous pressure to grow their business in developed regions such as the United States and Europe. And PepsiCo just made a massive US$5.5-billion commitment to expand its operations and sales in Mexico over the next seven years.

CEO Indra Nooyi announced that PepsiCo and its partners plan to double their current production capacity in India, to ramp up distribution infrastructure especially in rural markets, to boost its collaborative program with Indian farmers, and to continue to expand the range of foods and beverages in its current India portfolio of eight brands.

"India is a country with huge potential and it remains an attractive, high-priority market for PepsiCo," Nooyi said in a statement. "We believe we've only scratched the surface of the long-term growth opportunities." In a press conference in New Delhi on Monday, Nooyi also couldn't resist a playful dig at her biggest competitor, telling reporters that the Pepsi brand is "more youthful" than rival Coca-Cola.Continue reading...

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In Need of Juicier Results, Jamba Fights Sluggishness with To-Go Growth Initiatives

Posted by Dale Buss on November 7, 2013 12:45 PM

Facing broadening competition from Starbucks, Panera, and even Dairy Queen and McDonald's, Jamba Juice needs to find a way to squeeze more sales out of its stores and initiatives such as self-serve smoothie kiosks

The company reported a 3 percent decline in same-store sales for the third quarter, ending a two-year string of better results. And CEO James White told analysts on a conference call this week to expect some more short-term struggles as Jamba continues to tweak its new fresh-juice platform and faces more attention by rivals to a smoothie segment that used to be much more exclusive to the better-for-you retailer.

"Sliding comps in this climate suggest that Jamba's losing some of its focus as it tries to keep up with Starbucks and McDonald's," Rick Munarriz at The Motley Fool wrote.Continue reading...

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Starbucks Launches Teavana Cafe as it Looks to Brew More Profit from Beverages

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 25, 2013 11:21 AM

Following its approximately $620 million acquisition last November, Starbucks has opened its first cafe-style Teavana location on Madison Avenue in New York City, betting that the 300-store strong specialty-tea retailer will give the coffee giant a large cut of the $90 billion global tea market. 

With tea being the second most-consumed drink after water, Starbucks plans to open at least 1,000 Teavana bars (which differ from retail Teavana shops currently found in shopping malls) in North America in the next five years, as well as expand rapidly worldwide, with an eye first on tea-loving Asia.

“Tea has been a part of Starbucks heritage since 1971, when we were founded as Starbucks Coffee, Tea and Spices," Starbucks chairman and CEO Howard Schultz (who attended the NYC Teavana opening this week, below) commented in a press release, "and this new store concept elevates the tea experience in the same way we’ve done for coffee.”Continue reading...

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Starbucks Looks to Smart Appliances to Boost Efficiency, Service

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 23, 2013 06:21 PM

Starbucks may be based in Seattle, but it has generally left most of the tech innovations to its neighbors Amazon and Microsoft. But now the coffee giant is investing in new technology that will better connect its coffee makers, refrigerators and other appliances. 

This eco-friendly embrace of the Internet of Things will allow it to “track customer preferences, allow recipes to be digitally updated, and help staffers remotely monitor a coffee maker’s performance,” Bloomberg reports. Connected fridges will tell Starbucks employees from afar when milk inside has gone bad—no sniff test needed—and make its operations more efficient.Continue reading...

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