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5 Things To Watch For In The Confusing World Of Buzzword Food Marketing

Without a doubt, the food supply in the developed world has never been more abundant, varied and safe as it is today. Take a moment to picture the grocery store you visit most. You walk in, grab a cart and, even if you shop with a list, the choices are seemingly endless. Want fruit? Not only are there bananas, apples, oranges, grapes, berries, peaches and more, but there are often multiple options for each type, even as snow drifts pile up in parking lots across my home state of Wisconsin, where several counties are running low on salt supplies for icy roads this winter.

Now, picture the cereal aisle (and marvel at the fact that there is an aisle just for cereal). Next, think of the labels adorning foods on store shelves with buzzwords like natural, non-GMO, no artificial preservatives, made with real sugar, heart healthy, USDA certified organic, no high fructose corn syrup, grass fed, immune support, gluten free, cage free, fat free, free range and more.

In a way, the proliferation of buzzwords makes sense. In a saturated market, with the safest, most abundant food supply in all of history, there is an incentive for companies to differentiate products in trivial ways disguised as meaningful, and paint everything else as inferior.

Consumers increasingly want information about where their food comes from, conditions on farms and in factories, and health and environmental impacts, and buzzwords provide the illusion of knowledge and empowerment. Products, from pantry staples to specialty items, succumb to the labeling game every day in a race to keep up with the food jargon Joneses.

Organic alternatives

Take Capri Sun. A household name in the U.S., the product is hardly more than thirst-quenching sweetened water in a pouch. Yet last year, the brand launched an organic version, which can be found on store shelves next to non-organic varieties of the same brand. Organic Capri Sun fruit punch, has 2 additional grams of sugar and no added nutritional value according to nutrition facts. For this, parents pay over a dollar extra per box. Despite stubborn misconceptions, buying organic doesn’t mean that a product is better for health, pesticide-free, or is any better for the environment. Sometimes, it means more injuirous labor for farm workers, in part because using less efficient organic-approved practices means more hand weeding. The organic industry has historically differentiated its products by intentionally misleading consumers about what organic means, as thisAcademics Review marketing report explains.

Read more here ~

A Founder of Odwalla Tries to Recapture His Mojo

Greg Steltenpohl at the Downtown Los Angeles headquarters of his new beverage company, Califia Farms. Mr. Steltenpohl started Odwalla, his first company, with members of his former band.                                                  
COLEY BROWN FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES

By STEPHANIE STROM - DECEMBER 17, 2016

LOS ANGELES — For the past 20 years, Greg Steltenpohl an avant-garde jazz saxophonist turned beverage entrepreneur, has worked to rekindle the magic behind his greatest hit — and make peace with a nightmare that led to an abrupt fall.

Mr. Steltenpohl started the juice company, Odwalla in 1980, selling drinks out of his band’s Volkswagen van in and around San Francisco. Within a few years, the company was a multimillion-dollar business, flying high as one of the first break out healthy drinks now commonplace in grocery aisles.

Then, in 1996, a child died and dozens were sickened because of contaminated apple juice produced by Odwalla, changing everything. About 90 percent of the company’s revenue evaporated almost overnight in the wake of the outbreak. With the company on the brink of bankruptcy, Mr. Steltenpohl, and his partners were forced to sell a controlling interest in Odwalla to private equity firms, the equivalent — to him — of selling out to the devil. Not long after, the company was sold to Coca-Cola.

“Odwalla took him to the top of the world and then to the bottom,” said Berne Evans, his business partner today. “I don’t think he’s ever gotten over it.”

But now Mr. Steltenpohl, a gentle and avuncular 62, is once again near the center of beverage industry buzz as the head of Califia Farms, a nut milk business that is fast expanding into bottled coffees and other drinks. This time, he is taking advantage of a new trend sweeping the industry, as young beverage companies — empowered by changes in distribution and consumer tastes — are rising and competing successfully with titans like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo.

Read more here -

Pepsi brings back aspartame

Coca-Cola accused of 'health washing' because a single can of Coke Life maxes the daily recommended amount of SIX teaspoons of sugar

  • A 330ml can of Coca Cola Life still has 22g of sugar and 89 calories
  • A can of regular Coca Cola has 35g of sugar and 139 calories
  • Experts say branding Coke Life as low-calorie is 'disingenuous'
  • 'Coke Life should not be considered a healthy option,' nutritionist says
  • It has its very own 'super mix' of both sugar and natural sweetener Stevia
  • 'People should be aware that a sugar sweetened beverage is still an excessive calorie product with no nutritional benefits,' expert says

Health experts have accused Coca Cola of ‘health washing’ consumers with the launch of its new ‘lower-calorie’ soft drink as it still contains the full amount of an adult’s recommended daily allowance of sugar.

The soft drink giant’s latest product, Coke Life, is partly made from a naturally sweet plant called Stevia, in a bid to target health conscious soft drink lovers.

But a 330ml can of Coca Cola Life still has 22g of sugar, equivalent of six teaspoons and 89 calories.

When compared to a 330ml can of regular Coca Cola which has 35g of sugar, equivalent of almost 10 teaspoons of sugar and 139 calories, that is 35 per cent less sugar.

However, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that adults of normal body mass index only eat 25g (six teaspoons) of sugar in total per day. 

University of Sydney nutritionist Dr Kieron Rooney told Daily Mail Australia: ‘Coke Life should not be considered a healthy option… it should not even have a seat at the table.

‘This is health washing, yes it is less sugar than the original but that is still an excessive amount - it is still a sugar sweetened beverage and is no way part of a healthy life or lifestyle.

Dr Rooney highlighted research carried out in the eighties where rats were given a sugar solution, a saccharin [artificial sweetener] solution and only drank a certain amount. But when the rats were given both sugar and saccharin mixed together they drank more than they normally would.

‘It’s called a super mix, a little bit of sugar and sweetener drives over consumption… if this translates to the human population then that is fantastic for Coke’s profit line,’ Dr Rooney said.

Coke Life has its very own ‘super mix’ of both sugar and Stevia - a type of sweetener.

‘Coke will be pushing more products but we will be doing more detriment to our health,’ Dr Rooney warned. 

When it comes to the green colour of the Coke Life packet it can give off a ‘healthy vibe’, Dr Rooney said. He noted Coke would have done a great amount of market research before they launched the product

Read more here ~

 

 


Pepsi’s Continued Use Of ‘Conflict Palm Oil’ Comes Under Fire From Environmental Activist

By Cory Herro April 26th 2016

Pepsi Destroys Rain Forests

The environmental organization Rainforest Action Network (RAN) has a message for snack food company PepsiCo: Stop sourcing palm oil from companies that bully palm farmers and cause unsustainable deforestation.

Activists on Monday delivered their demand by draping a massive “Cut Conflict Palm Oil” bannerfrom New York City’s iconic, six-story-tall “Pepsi-Cola” sign. The stunt was part of RAN’s larger effort to pressure twenty of the biggest food companies in the world — what activists call the “Snack Food 20” — to cut so-called “conflict palm oil” from supply chains.

Palm oil is in nearly half of what we buy — from lipstick and soaps to instant noodles and cookies. It’s also used in diesel fuel. Palm oil accounted for one-tenth of the world’s permanent cropland in 2010, and the industry is rapidly expanding.

Although palm oil cultivation has boosted the income of millions of rural farmers in South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia, many activists have also highlighted abuses by big companies partnered with governments. In Indonesia, the world’s largest producer and exporter of palm oil, human rights groups have accused the government of being too aggressive in expanding palm cultivation — taking land from indigenous peoples who lack official land titles, exploiting farmers who received government loans, and destroying rainforests and wetlands that store precious water during the dry season.

Responding to pressure, many companies have released “responsible palm oil commitments,” usually promising to source oil that is certified sustainable by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO-certified) by 2020. This means the oil meets standards around human rights, company transparency, and deforestation.

PepsiCo released such a commitment in 2014, but RAN says the commitment chalks up to lip service. PepsiCo’s supply chain is vast — including plantations, mills, collection ports, refineries, margarine producers, and product manufacturers — but the company’s commitments don’t apply to all these moving parts. They don’t even apply to all PepsiCo branded products, RANclaims.

Read more here ~

 

 

Viroqua beverage maker Wisco Pop! carves out natural niche

March 25, 2016

The beverage market is growing steadily. But sales for traditional soda products (think Pepsi and Coke) are declining. In fact, according to a recent report in Fortune Magazine, soda sales have dropped steadily for the past decade, as consumers increasingly shift their focus from high fructose and aspartame-filled beverages to juices, flavored waters and other "healthier" beverages.

Interestingly enough, one of the niche markets that's benefitted from this shift in consumer buying is another type of soda. But this time it's the craft variety.

Take, for instance, Wisco Pop!

If you've ever sipped a bottle of this Wisconsin-made beverage, which is steadily cropping up in restaurants, cafes and retail shops around Milwaukee, you already know that it barely resembles the cloyingly sweet concoctions most recognize as soda. And according to co-owner Austin Ashley, that's the whole point.

"I really go for simplicity when it comes to flavors," he says. "There are a lot of things on the market with a lot of ingredients – things like ascorbic acid and sodium benzoate – but the goal for us is really to let natural flavors of the ingredients shine."

Another goal for Wisco Pop!, says Ashley, is to align itself with customers who share the company's sense of values.

"We don't use artificial flavors," he says. "We don't use preservatives. And we're making our products from scratch, using fresh ingredients like juice, honey and organic sugar. For a lot of companies, the questions they ask are 'What's hip? What's cool?'... for me, it's more like 'What's right?'"

For Ashley, that means making a commitment to purchasing locally sourced products – including sustainable local honey, Door County cherries and Wisconsin maple syrup – as well as products from socially conscious growers, like La Grama organic ginger cooperative in Peru.

"We're very cognizant of where we're buying from," he says. "I want to forge relationships that are not only good for us, but good for others, good for the environment … people who support their communities."

But despite their dedication to all natural and organic products, Wisco Pop! is careful not take itself too seriously. Take for instance this video, which declares: "Wisco Pop! It's a lifestyle."

 

Prior to his foray into pop-making, Ashley dabbled in a variety of food related businesses. Originally from Texas, Ashley worked his way through Colorado playing music and working in the restaurant industry. When he met his wife Hallie [Nicholes], whose brother Caleb co-founded Kickapoo Coffee in Viroqua, WI, he spent some time roasting coffee. From there, he worked for a time at Hidden Springs Creamery as a cheesemaker.

But it wasn't until 2003 or 2004, that he discovered his love for crafting soda.

"I was a craft beer fanatic," he says. "And I learned everything I could about beer. And I spent a lot of money on beer. I'm not a guy who goes into anything halfway, so when I decided I could no longer afford my craft beer habit, I had to move on to something else."

In 2004, after reading the work of master fermentor Sandor Katz, Ashley started a small fermented foods business in Madison. He says he never really fell in love with the idea of sauerkraut or kimchi. But, he did get hooked on ginger beer.

Read more here~

Plastic by Any Other Name

Coke and Pepsi's plant-based bottles still damage the environment

By Amy Westervelt

First came the press releases: In March, PepsiCo touted the " World's First 100 Percent Plant-Based, Renewably Sourced PET Bottle," prompting CocaCola to stammer, " Odwalla First to Market with up to 100 Percent PlantBottle™ Packaging." The subsequent headlines bumped the hype up a notch: " Pepsi bottles: no more plastic" (Christian Science Monitor), "Pepsi Ups Ante on Plant-Based Bottles with 100% Non-Plastic Bottle" (GreenBiz),"Coca Cola—designing bottles from recycled plastic and plant by-product" (Guardian). Last month, Coca-Cola released a commercial for its Dasani-brand bottled water arguing that its partlyplant-based packaging is "designed to make a difference":

 

 

But despite all the buzz, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo's plant-based bottles are still very much plastic.The companies have merely replaced the fossil fuels (petroleum and natural gas) traditionally used to make their plastic bottles with ethanol from renewable sources (plant waste in Pepsi's case and Brazilian sugar cane in Coke's). Though these initial inputs come from renewable, lower-carbon sources, the resulting plastics are chemically identical to the polyethylene terepthalate, or PET,and high-density polyethylene, or HDPE, that regular plastic bottles are made of—a fact the companies acknowledge. And once the inputs become plastic, they carry all the same environmental impacts as plastic made from fossil fuels: They don't biodegrade, they pollute the world's oceans and soils, and still leach potentially harmful chemicals into our food.

"They're just using plants to make the same polymers you find in other plastics. It has zero effect on plastic pollution," says Marcus Eriksen, a marine expert who co-founded the nonprofit 5 Gyres a few years ago to study ocean plasticization in areas like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Eriksen and his crew just finished exploring the world's five major oceanic gyres (slow-moving currents that create massive whirlpools where plastic can accumulate). They've found "plastic soup"—water thick with tiny bits of plastic—in all five. Eriksen's team and other researchers have also found larger chunks of plastic on the various islands scattered throughout the gyres, and in the bellies ofdead birds, fish, and animals who fill themselves up with plastic bits that they mistake for fish and eventually die because they can't digest the stuff.

Likewise, plastic—plant-based or otherwise—harms human health. The dangers of chemical additives commonly used in plastic, such as BHT, * as well as chemical compounds released by plastics, such as acetaldehyde have been widely publicized for their apparent link to various types of cancer.

Read more here ~

 

Natural soda market sparkles

18-Year-Old Eva Duckler is Founder and CEO of Tree Fort Soda

February 25, 2015

By Mecca Bos

Sometimes, it can be hard to hear a kid utter this phrase: "My whole life.... "

Kid! What life? You're barely knee high to a bug.

But then, when they're smart and creative and together enough to have started their own successful company when most other people their age are bopping down the street with the earbuds and the saggy pants and the long hair, oblivious to the cold, cruel world that likes ahead, well, you've got no choice but to perk up and listen.

Eva Duckler had been in search of the perfect root beer for her entire, entire life. But in 18 years on the planet, she couldn't find just the right one. You can guess what she did next.

See also: New Digs (With Brewery!) for Verdant Tea Shop and Sample Room

Granted, she had a few things working in her favor -- at Blake, her class was tasked with taking some time off to do a senior project, whatever it is that they wanted to do. Some kids went to internships, some tested the waters of starving artistdom, but Duckler knew this was her big chance. Soda. And with her brother and sister-in-law David and Lily Duckler being the founders of Verdant Tea, she had plenty of access to the raw materials, namely herbs, that she would need in order to tinker, plus the facilities.

"I kind of feel funny talking about it, like I'm some kind of wine snob," she answers, when I ask what it was she was after in the perfect soda. But what do you do? Kids these days are discerning, and while growing up, she and her brother David would do exactly what an oenophile might do in search of fine wine -- collect them, line them up, and conduct tastings. "We would sit down and collect all our thoughts to find the world's best soda."

Aside from her own, she likes local Joia for their "brilliant flavors" and U.K. brand Fentiman's.

So, with access to herbs -- sasparilla of course, but also cinnamon, chicory, marigold, ginger, anise, and clove, she steeped and she sweetened and she carbonated.

"During my research I found out what was in Coke and Pepsi -- it's kind of horrible, kind of rough stuff, and it doesn't feel good to drink them either."

Read more here ~

 

Rainforest Activists Just Scored a Big Win Against One of Pepsi's Closest Business Partners

Why Coca-Cola is dying

Thursday, 28 April 2016 

The love affair is over. After so many hot summer days together, nights out, nights in and cosy Christmases, we’re moving on.

 

By Emma Reynolds

Coca-Cola is dead, and no one is sorry.

The iconic brand has tried everything to keep that fizz going. As it realised people were turning on its signature teeth-rotting drink, it created diet choices.

When the healthy eating movement decided sugarfree sodas were almost as bad, it came up with Coca-Cola Life, made with natural sweetener stevia.

It unveiled new packaging, "unifying" its labelling so that all of its drinks feature a red disc like the original Coke, so fans feel more like they're drinking The Real Thing.

Tragically, what the brand just doesn't understand is that's precisely what we're no longer interested in.

It's not you, Coke, it's us.

It's gone flat

This week, Coca-Cola's profit slipped in the first quarter as the world's biggest beverage maker was squeezed by weakening foreign currencies and costs around transforming its North American operations.

Worst of all, soda volumes were flat, with its original drink in decline and a lack of consumer demand in Europe and Japan.

Net income for the quarter ending April 1 was $1.9 billion, down 4.8 per cent year-on-year. Revenues fell four per cent to $13.3 billion.

"They're banking growth on third world countries, and that's tragic," Geoff Dart, of retail consultancy firm DGC Advisory, told news.com.au. "When you've exhausted the Western market and you turn to countries like Africa ... There are better choices third world countries could make regarding nutrition. Water would be a far better resource."

With celebrities like chef Jamie Oliver calling for a sugar tax, and anti-sugar campaigners Sarah Wilson (I Quit Sugar) and Damon Gameau (That Sugar Film) speaking out against the sweet stuff, our former favourite needs to wake up and smell the sucrose.

"There's a global movement towards health," said Mr Dart. "McDonald's is struggling as well. It's still associated with hamburgers and greasy food. Coke has been going for 100 years, McDonald's at least 80. It's hard to change consumers' perceptions."

Just as Coca-Cola made that painful discovery with Coke Zero, Diet Coke and Coke Life, there's only so much the fast food chain's gourmet "create your own" range can do to alter that image.

We're not lovin' it.

Read more here ~

This Emerson Alumnus Has Bottled Up an Organic Shirley Temple

Lauren Landry

Jon Allen can still remember his first Shirley Temple. He sipped the candied concoction at his aunt's wedding, and soon started asking for the iconic non-alcoholic beverage at every restaurant he went to, hooked on the classic cherry flavor that's become adults' approved alternative to their boozy old-fashioned.

His craving followed him to Emerson College, where he participated in an entrepreneurial studies course, dubbed Emerson Entrepreneurial Experience, his junior year. After two semesters of tweaking and refining the business model, Allen won the school's 2013 E3 Expo, receiving $10,000 in cash and professional services.

With that, Temple Twist made its public debut.

With only 80 calories per serving, Temple Twist "quenches your soda craving without the unnecessary additives." Kentucky-based Flavorman, the same beverage company behind Jones Soda, helped develop the flavor for what's now become the first all-natural and organic Shirley Temple. Each drink is bottled in recyclable glass and manufactured in West Virginia byShenandoah Valley Brand.

To celebrate the impending start of summer, Allen, a newly-minted Emerson alumnus, decided to release a limited amount of original Temple Twist bottles, which are currently being sold exclusively at Lambert's Marketplace, steps from the Boston Common. More than 100 bottles were sold within the first three days of the product being featured on store shelves — a testament to the work Allen put in during his senior year of college.

"Since June of last summer, we have been testing flavors," Allen said, adding that he ran focus groups with Emerson students and faculty.

Beyond helping him taste test, the Emerson community has stepped up in other ways to get Temple Twist off the ground. An alum, who currently works at General Mills, created the logo and the college's student-run digital marketing agency,EMcomm, took Temple Twist on as a client.

"Doing this while I was in school was really awesome," Allen acknowledged, later referencing a Temple Twist promotional video, which fellow Emerson students starred in and filmed.

Read more here

THREE IN FIVE AMERICANS AGREE CARBONATED SOFT DRINKS MADE WITH NATURAL INGREDIENTS ARE HEALTHIER

August 11th, 2015 ~

With carbonated soft drinks facing mounting negative health perceptions from Americans, craft and natural options are showing promise among the most active soft drink consumers. While natural and craft comprise small, relatively new segments of the carbonated soft drink category, Mintel’s new Carbonated Soft Drinks: Spotlight on Natural/Craft US 2015 report reveals that nearly three in five (57 percent) US adults agree that carbonated soft drinks made with natural ingredients are healthier than those made with artificial ingredients. Whatsmore, 34 percent are interested in seeing carbonated soft drinks with added benefits.

Despite being in its early stages, the craft and natural segments are poised to grow. While Mintel’s research shows that two thirds (66 percent) of US adults do not currently drink craft sodas, 44 percent of non-craft drinkers are interested in trying craft products. A similar trend is seen with natural soft drinks, of which 40 percent of consumers currently drink, with usage highest among parents (60 percent) and Millennials (58 percent).

NATURAL SHOWS POTENTIAL TO SWEETEN THE MARKET

Concerns surrounding artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, strengthen natural and naturally sweetened carbonated soft drinks’ positioning as a better-for-you alternative to regular and diet sodas. These challenges have contributed to years of sales declines in the carbonated soft drink industry, with sales dropping 3.6 percent between 2011-2014. Of Americans who currently consume or are interested in craft soda, 54 percent indicate that natural or real ingredients are important to them, including 50 percent of parents, highlighting natural soda’s potential in the market. Another third (34 percent) of US adults are interested in seeing carbonated soft drinks with added benefits, such as protein, vitamins or minerals.

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Healthy' soft drink Bionade takes on Coca-Cola

Sue Mitchell

Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) is facing new com­petition in the soft drinks market – not from traditional rivals Pepsi or Schweppes but from trendy German bottler Bionade GmbH. Bionade is taking advantage of the lack of innovation in the fizzy soft drinks market by adding an organic cola to its range and expanding into distribution channels dominated by CCA and Schweppes.

Part of Germany’s Dr Oetker food group, Bionade is the market leader in the “healthy” soft drinks category in Europe and sells about 500 million bottles a year, mainly in western Europe.

It has developed a cult following among German and Dutch expatriates since arriving in Australia a few years ago, but has a low profile in the mainstream commercial beverages market.

Read more here

London is frothing with sparkling soft drinks made from locally sourced natural ingredients

The capital is being treated to special fizzy drinks made by London's craft soda-makers including Square Root Soda, Dalston Cola and The Urban Cordial Company. Susannah Butter gets fizzical
The menu at Anderson and Co café in Peckham shows London ingredients at their finest. Bread comes from Brickhouse Bakery in East Dulwich, fruit and veg are all seasonal and its famous millionaire’s shortbread is homemade. The cold drinks are no exception. There’s not a mass-produced cola can in sight. Instead, people can choose from a range of colourful bottled beverages, all made just across the river by Square Root Soda. Rhubarb is the flavour of the moment.

 

Bubbles With Benefits: Obi Packs Powerful Probiotics into a Delicious New Low-Calorie Organic Soda

Sep 16, 2015

SANTA CRUZ, Calif., Sept. 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- "People love the taste of soda, but what if drinking something sweet and fizzy could also mean changing your health for the better?" That's the question Obi Probiotic Soda Founder Ben Goodwin asked himself seven years ago when he set out on his mission to make healthy choices affordable and fun.

"As a young teen, I was becoming overweight and unhealthy," said Goodwin. "I made a conscious effort to move from eating a diet heavy in processed foods and experienced a profound shift in my health, wellbeing and personal awareness."

Obi is made from live, probiotic water kefir, organic juices and organic stevia. Each 12-oz. bottle contains billions of beneficial probiotics and less than 20 calories with two to five grams of natural sugar, but tastes just like a delicious soda. Obi comes in four fun flavors: Organic Root Beer; Tart Cherry Vanilla Bean; Valencia Orange & Grapefruit; andMeyer Lemon & Lime. The product is certified USDA organic, certified non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan and paleo, and contains 20 to 40 percent of the recommended daily allowance for Vitamin C.

Read more here

Karma Cola puts some fizz into drinks market

The ethical soft drinks firm is taking on Coca Cola

By Rebecca Burn Callander, Enterprise Editor ~ Nov 28th, 2015

Karma Cola, a challenger soft drink brand, is taking on Cola-Cola with a Fairtrade and organic version of the famous sugary drink, which gives 3p of the cost of every bottle sold to cola nut producers in Sierra Leone.

The company, which was founded in 2012, now counts the UK as it’s second-largest market after New Zealand, where it is headquartered.

It sold 300,000 bottles of the cola in the UK during the first six months of the year and is on target to reach 600,000 by the year-end.

Growth has been driven by a rise in “conscious consumers”, co-founder Simon Coley said. “There’s a huge community of people who follow Fairtrade and organic products in the UK,” he said, speaking after the Good Business Conference in London last week.

Read more here

5 Reasons Coca-Cola Could Leave a Bad Taste in Your Mouth

By Steve Williams Jan 8th, 2014

Coca-Cola has gone to great lengths to seem socially responsible, but is it really? If you care about your health, the environment and human rights, here are five reasons to stop sipping that soda.

Read more here

 

Coke and Pepsi Are Trying to Sell You Pretend Craft Soda

By Tom Philpott Jun. 24, 2015 

Selling massive volumes of colored, sweetened, fizzed-up tapwater at a fat markup isn't what it used to be. US soda sales declined for the 10th straight year in 2014. For a while, beverage giants Coca-Cola and PepsiCo could turn to diet soda for relief. But now, the artificially sweetened stuff is losing popularity even faster than regular soda—diet beverage sales are down nearly 20 percent since their 2009 peak and are expected to plunge an additional 5 percent this year.

Enter the new savior: "craft soda." Just as the globe's two dominant beer conglomerates are seeing their own US sales decline while dozens of upstart brewers stage a fast-growing craft-beer renaissance, Big Soda has watched small players like Jones Soda and Reed's grow rapidly, defying the long-term soda slump.

And just like Big Beer, the soda giants are taking the approach of, "If you can't beat 'em, buy' em or imitate 'em." The incentive is clear. Not only are craft sodas growing in popularity while the overall category shrinks, but the price they fetch in the market is much sweeter. As 12-pack of 12-oz Pepsis sells for as little as $5; Reed's gets that much for a four-pack of its ginger ale.

Read more here

Chris Reed  CEO and Founder of Reed’s Natural Sodas, to Discuss the Future of Craft Sodas at the Prestigious Industry Conference in December

December 01, 2015

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 01, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Reed’s, Inc. (NYSE-MKT:REED), maker of top selling craft sodas nationwide today announced Chris Reed, Founder and CEO of Reed’s, Inc. will be one of the featured speakers at the Beverage Digest “Future Smarts Conference” in New York City on December 14th, 2015.

A feature story with Chris Reed in the Beverage Digest September 25, 2015 newsletter titled “Surge in Craft Soda Interest a Boon for Pioneer Reed’s” prompted the invitation to participate in this prestigious event.

The Beverage Digest Future Smarts Conference is one of the highest level and most influential conferences for the U.S. beverage industry.

Read more here

 

Villages demand ban on groundwater extraction by Coca-Cola bottler in Varanasi

ET Bureau Nov 26, 2015

NEW DELHI: Several villages around Coca Cola's bottling plant in Mehdiganj, Varanasi, have demanded that groundwater supply to the beverage maker be stopped in view of the growing water crisis in the area.

A statement issued by activist firm India Resource Centre (IRC) on behalf of 18 village councils said the villages, which are within a 5-km radius of the Coca Cola plant, have been facing water shortage since the company began operations in the area in 1999.

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What the Ingredients in Coca-Cola and Pepsi Actually Do to Your Body

By Tom Mckay 

Coca-Cola and Pepsi have both announced they will remove brominated vegetable oil, a somewhat controversial chemical added to prevent the drinks' ingredients from separating. The change followed a series of petitions on Change.org by Sarah Kavanagh, a Mississippi teenager who noted it was patented as a flame retardant and unapproved for use in Japan and the EU.

The Mayo Clinic says that BVO is poorly understood, and few studies have been performed on its effects, so it recommends limiting your intake and opting for healthier choices. The FDA retracted its "generally recognized as safe" designation pending further research.

Though BVO has been getting its time under the spotlight, soda contains plenty of potentially harmful or unhealthy substances. Coca-Cola Light without caffeine, for example, contains sodium cyclamate (a banned sweetener, due to a possible link to bladder cancer) in parts of Europe and South America. In the U.S., it contains acesulfame potassium, which might have caused neurological conditions in mice. Some of the top offenders are below.

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How Coca-Cola affects your body when you drink it

Sugary drinks are considered a major contributor to health conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and tooth decay. But have you ever wondered exactly what these beverages do to your body after consumption? One researcher has created an infographic that explains what happens to the body within an hour of drinking a can of Coca-Cola.

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Who owns organic?

The Cornucopia Institute

In 1995 there were 81 independent organic processing companies in the United States. A decade later, Big Food had gobbled up all but 15 of them.

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Can craft sodas add fizz to slumping beverage industry?

CBS News July 17 2015

The soda business is desperate to get out of their sales slump, and boutique beverages could be the answer, reports CBS News correspondent Vinita Nair.

For the 10th straight year, soda consumption is down. Americans drank nearly 1.5 billion fewer cases last year than in 2004, when soda sales had hit an all-time high.

Read more here

Less is More

Oct 29 2015 - By Anna Wolfe
Fruit-based and fruit-flavored beverages feature clean ingredient panels, exotic flavors

What's light and refreshing yet low in added sugar? Today's fruit-flavored and fruit-based beverages.

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Craft soda in the spotlight

by Monica Watrous

CHICAGO — The carbonated soft drink category has lost its pop in recent years, with sales dropping 3.6% between 2011 and 2014 on rising concerns regarding added sugars and artificial ingredients. But while traditional brands may be falling out of favor with consumers, craft and natural options are poised for growth, said Mintel, a Chicago market research firm.

Read more here.

3 reasons why Diet Coke sales will keep plunging

Sales of diet soda have been on the decline for the last decade, and it doesn’t look like they’re going to pick up anytime soon.

Read more here.