The beverage industry as a whole is innovating at a pace faster than at any time in history. As traditional soda consumption continues to decline year after year, consumers are looking to find new beverage options to replace once reliable brands. In turn, beverage companies are vying to claim geography on the new long tail of beverage offerings.
While this environment has led to many upstart beverage companies to introduce a myriad of creative new products and beverage categories, the industry leaders are also innovating and bringing new, creative beverages to the market. No longer do Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Keurig Dr. Pepper only boast of a handful of brands. Rather, all three companies are continually introducing new categories, products and brand extensions.
Quick Fact: In 2020 alone, one Enliven client purchased 819 unique product SKU’s from a single beverage supplier.
Why Innovation Matters
For companies wanting to delight their guests and employees, this innovation is great news. Having the right product mix can have a measurable impact – both on customer satisfaction and the bottom line.
Innovative products help to increase sales and per capita spending. According to reporting by Retail Dive:
“Results from a survey by the innovative research firm, Lab42, take an in-depth look at innovation …. The key findings:
- Perception of innovation is hugely important in purchasing decisions.
- Consumers are willing to pay a premium for innovative goods and services
- Half of consumers say they have bought a new product without fully understanding what it did or how it worked solely because they thought it was ‘cool’”
New Beverage Products for 2021
Here’s a quick snapshot of just some of the products that are being introduced by the largest beverage companies in 2021:
Mountain Dew Rise Energy
This new energy line is positioned as an extension of the popular Mountain Dew brand and will hit the market with six different flavors (Blueberry Pomegranate, Citrus Zest, Tropical Pineapple, Acai Berry, Peach Mangy and Strawberry Melon). The drink will contain 5% juice, 20 calories, and 180mg of caffeine – edging out competitors Monster and Rockstar, which both contain 160mg of caffeine, and Mountain Dew Kickstart, which has 90mg.
Most notably, however, is the recent announcement that Lebron James will become the primary brand ambassador after an 18-year stint with competitor Coca-Cola. This product line follows Bang Energy’s very public dispute with PepsiCo over its recent distribution agreement.
Coca-Cola with Coffee
Originally planned to debut in 2020 but delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this category-mixing drink will launch with three different flavors, including vanilla, caramel, and dark blend. This new offering will debut in slim, 12-ounce cans and feature 69mg of caffeine (as compared to 34mg in regular Coke).
Coca-Cola with Coffee follows the company’s 2006 venture into a coffee cola beverage, Coca-Cola Blak, which was eventually discontinued after a couple of years, and its 2018 acquisition of Costa Coffee. It has recently tested similar products in international markets.
A result of an employee contest hosted by PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Ramon Laguarta, Driftwell is a new drink aimed at helping its consumers calm down and fall asleep. While many of the innovative products are found in the energy or coffee categories – helping people boost their energy – Driftwell aims to do the opposite.
The enhanced still water will contain 10% of one’s recommended daily value of magnesium and 200mg of L-theanine, an amino acid which is also found in many teas and mushrooms. It’s flavored with lavender and blackberry, contains zero calories, and will be available in mini, 7.5oz cans.
Topo Chico Hard Seltzer
No longer will Coca-Cola only be a soft drink company. 2021 will bring the U.S. debut of its first alcoholic beverage – a hard seltzer produced under the Topo Chico sparkling water brand. Topo Chico was acquired by Coca-Cola in 2017.
While the product was launched in Europe and Latin America in 2020, it’s recently exclusive agreement with Molson Coors Beverage will enable the product to be launched in the United States in 2021. In addition to distribution, Molson Coors will also manufacture and market the beverages.
With an ABV of 4.7%, the product line will be available in 12-ounce slim cans and will launch with four flavors: tangy lemon lime, exotic pineapple, strawberry guava, and tropical mango.
After launching its Bubly sparkling water brand in 2018, PepsiCo now has about 8% of the sparkling water share. With many consumers switching from traditional or diet colas to sparkling waters, the addition of caffeine might appeal to those wanting an extra energy boost. The Bubly extension will also allow the Bubly line to better match up against Coca-Cola’s new sparkling line, Aha, which also features certain flavors with caffeine.
Originally planned to launch in 2020, Bubly Bounce was another casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic. The flavors haven’t been officially announced, but images sourced online suggest they may include blueberry pomegranate, citrus cherry, triple berry, and mango passion fruit.
Company: Molson Coors
ZOA is a better-for-you energy drink which was founded, in part, by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. ZOA will be Molson Coor’s first foray into the energy category as the company recently signed on to become ZOA’s exclusive distribution partner for all retail locations.
With it’s 2019 name change (replacing “Brewery” with “Beverage”), Molson Coors Beverage has signaled to the market that it aims to be a total beverage company, competing in many different categories. With its size and scale and recent moves, Molson Coors is a company to watch in the new beverage landscape.
The product will be sold in 16-ounce servings, contain 160mg of caffeine and feature five flavors: original, pineapple coconut, super berry, wild orange and lemon lime.
Strategic Beverage Partnerships = Allowing Your Guests Be the First to Experience New Products
Brand teams responsible for introducing new products to the market often look to current organizational partners as the ideal places to launch these new offerings.
One of the key benefits of entering into a direct partnership with one of the leading beverage providers is obtaining early access to new products as they are introduced – enabling businesses to treat their customers and employees with products not yet available anywhere else. These new products are supported through a variety of promotional activities – experiential marketing activations, digital ad campaigns, samplings, giveaways, etc. – that all contribute to excitement, and most importantly, the bottom line.
If you’re interested in learning more about entering into a best-in-class strategic beverage partnership, contact us today.