Consolidation has been the buzzword in the beverage industry, but the year has seen its share of new products, new segments and new initiatives — mainly by smaller players trying to hang in there through product and marketing ingenuity and targeted distribution moves.
Meanwhile, after lavishing much attention and tens of millions of dollars on unproven “new age” categories in recent years, the beverage behemoths seem to have refocused on their core competencies. The cola giants are launching major efforts to restore colas to what the companies view as their rightful share of the industry’s growth, even as they launch a variety of new brands and new positionings in the flavored soft drink category dominated by the likes of Sprite, Mountain Dew and Squirt. Outside the cola conglomerates, Seagram’s Tropicana unit is augmenting its orange juice dominance by focusing on convenient, single-serve packaging and new or restaged value-added orange juice blends, even as it experiments with limited tests of new smoothie-style products that might tap into a potentially burgeoning beverage segment.
Generally, though, for the major players, the burnish is definitely off new age beverages, as iced tea growth tilts toward cold-filled entries like Lipton Brisk (via Pepsi-Cola) and Cool from Nestea (via Coca-Cola). Fruit drinks have also started moving in that direction, most noticeably with the restaging of Coca-Cola’s Fruitopia as a cold-filled entry produced, packaged and merchandised just like a soft drink.
One of the stars of the non-carbonated beverage segment continues to be bottled water, racking up another year of double-digit growth in single-serve packs in 1997 and expecting continued volume growth. Aggressively priced national entries like Great Brands of Europe’s Dannon, Perrier Group of America’s Oasis and Pepsi-Colas Aquafina are extending their reach and, possibly, helping to precipitate a long-anticipated shakeout. While the industry may not need 1,000 players, few industry execs expect growth to taper off in overall demand, whether you chalk it up to consumers health concerns, poor municipal water quality in many jurisdictions, or even the simple fact that, unlike soft drinks or other beverages, bottled water remains drinkable even after you’ve been carrying it around for some time and after it has gotten warm.
Also performing well, entirely on the strength of so-far-impregnable leader Gatorade, is the sports drink category. Under assault by entries from Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola since the early 1990s, Gatorade actually grew its share in 1997, on the strength of a line extension, Gatorade Frost, that seemed to hold broader appeal among more casual athletes (and non-athletes).
As before, though, the most compelling product innovations seem to be coming from the smaller and independent firms. Although wiser after having taken hits on some of the poorly supported, undifferentiated products brought to market in recent years, distributors and retailers are keeping their eyes on such fledgling segments as bottled smoothies, herbally-enhanced juice drinks and teas, energy drinks and superoxygenated bottled waters. If any ignites, it could provide a new leg of growth to an alternative beverage segment that has defied continued predictions that it was about to dwindle into irrelevance.
Although it may have bungled its acquisition and operation of Snapple, Quaker Oats has continued to operate Gatorade with a sure hand. The brand rebuffed intensive assaults by Coke’s PowerAde and Pepsi’s All Sport and won back some market share from All Sport in 1997.
Arguably, the twin assaults by the cola giants starting early in the 1990s were the best thing that could have happened to Quaker. First, it galvanized a complacent brand into an aggressive path that brought hot-filled, sports-capped plastic bottles. And last year, the company embarked on a major line extension with Gatorade Frost, which already has grown to a $150 million business, exceeding both Powerade and All Sport in sales and making it the second-largest sports drink.
Frost, with a lighter taste and bolder flavors, was seen as a way of cultivating 13- to 18-year-old consumers so they’re ready to come into the Gatorade franchise when they’re older. While it contained the potential to cannibalize sales of the core brand, so far the trade-off seems to have been worthwhile: Beverage Digest estimated that for 1997, an 8.2-share erosion of the core brand was more than offset by the 9.3 share acquired by Frost, yielding an overall 1.1 share gain for the entire franchise. By contrast, PowerAde picked up a smaller 0.4 share gain, and All Sport was down by 0.8 share points. While Quaker execs acknowledged this was a considerably higher cannibalization rate than anticipated, that was more than offset by the degree to which it exceeded the $100 million initial target for first-year sales. Total 1997 Gatorade sales came to $1.2 billion domestically.
Sue Wellington, recently appointed president of the company’s U.S. beverages operation, noted that the major priorities are to broaden availability of the product so that it is always available at the “point of sweat.” The goal is to get amateur and professional athletes to rely on the brand for rehydration.
Meanwhile, in its marketing behind the core brand, Quaker has gone back to basics, renewing its National Basketball Association contract and employing superhoopster Michael Jordan, who will be the centerpiece of their advertising and marketing program. A summer promotional push tabbed “NBA Dreams” offers prizes that include chances at engaging Jordan in a one-on-one game of H-O-R-S-E (dubbed G-A-T-O-R in the contest). Wholesalers were promised $12 million in advertising support in May just for the promotion.
A new Gatorade ad that broke during the NBA All-Star Game went back to the “Be Like Mike” ad platform of 1991 — this time, though, bringing in a raft of celebrities, from female athletes Sheryl Swoopes and Lisa Leslie to sportscasters Chris Berman and Ahmad Rashad, to musicians such as Blues Traveler’s John Popper. Given Jordan’s continued popularity, “Why not give it another run?” Wellington asked.
While Jordan’s possible retirement from basketball next year poses a potential challenge to the brand, the bigger challenges are likely to stem from Gatorade’s status as the sole beverage in the Quaker arsenal following that company’s divestment of the ill-fated Snapple brand. Coke may wield its broader array of beverage brands to get Gatorade excluded from such crucial endorsement packages as the National Football League’s, where Coke is believed to be pushing for total non-alcohol beverage exclusivity, as well as from specific arenas. There has been inevitable erosion in that regard, but so far it has remained far from catastrophic for Gatorade.
While there is some evidence that Coke and Pepsi might be ready to moderate their investments against sports drinks this year, nobody in the beverage industry expects them to abandon their efforts. Indeed, sports drinks play a crucial strategic role in any balanced portfolio assembled by companies that like to think of themselves as “total beverage” players, to use Pepsi’s term.
Of course, one possibility is that Coke, Pepsi or another major global beverage player will go back to courting Quaker for an outright acquisition of Gatorade, as several companies did back in 1996. But under its new chief executive officer, Robert Morrison, Quaker certainly is acting as though it intends to remain a long-term, independent player in its major cereal and beverage lines. One such move, to drive efficiencies, was Morrison’s abrupt reorganization in March that eliminated an entire layer of management.
The expensive battle among the three sports drink titans over the past several years has made the sports drink segment less hospitable to smaller entrants, including lines licensed with venerable sports names such as Everlast, Spalding and Upper Deck. The one-time number two brand, 10-K, owned by Suntory, has been relegated to a regional brand. Still, there are some newer entrants in the segment, such as Rebound, a “fortified quencher,” launched by a former Pepsi executive, and Gameface. But short of yet another intensified assault from Coke and Pepsi, for the near term it seems as if the stiffest challenge to Gatorade’s continued strong domestic growth may come simply from tap water and bottled water.
The fruit drink segment is at something of a crossroads now. On one hand, newly energized juice players are stepping up their efforts in the single-serve segment. At the same time, megaplayers Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola are trying to replicate their success in iced teas by putting emphasis on cold-filled entries against the premium, hot-filled entries marshalled by such players as Snapple, Ocean Spray and Arizona.
Coca-Cola recently committed to a complete makeover of its Fruitopia brand to cold-filled production; Procter & Gamble scored solid gains with a cold-filled version of its Sunny Delight targeted at direct store delivery channels; and Pepsi claimed encouraging results from a 1997 test of its FruitWorks brand in such markets as Baltimore/Washington. Pepsi also continued its distribution alliance with the cranberry growers’ cooperative to market hot-filled Ocean Spray-branded drinks. Even skeptics of cold-filled products acknowledged that better taste profiles have made the new cold-filled drinks a far cry from the chemical-tasting brands of the past, posing a challenge to the premium beverage marketers. In essence, the question is: will the richer taste, cheaper price and broad availability (often gained through stiff slotting payments) of the newer cold-filled brands be enough to offset some consumers’ reservations about chemical preservatives? Answers to that question are expected to emerge later this year.
Those answers will come in a segment in which growth has tapered off considerably from the headier days of the early ’90s. According to supermarket scanner data reported by Beverage Digest, juice drink volume in 1997 grew by a slight 1% to 556.7 million 192-ounce cases, and margins deteriorated, with dollar sales at retail rising only a negligible 0.1% to roughly $2.8 billion.
Those trends found premium-beverage vendors racing to enhance their product lines with greater-value-added SKUs that might keep them a step ahead of the cold-filled clones. For example, one of the leading new-age players, Triarc Beverages, made several moves: under its Mistic brand, the company debuted a line of “Potions,” featuring the herbal enhancements that have become a familiar fixture in health food stores; Triarc also increased the marketing investment behind its Rain Forest nectars line, and its Snapple brand recently brought WhipperSnapple, a smoothie-like drink, to the market.
For its part, Ocean Spray moved to acquire a controlling stake in Nantucket Nectars, whose higher-juice-content products promise extra value. In addition, last year the company augmented that positioning with an enhanced line called Super Nectars. Surprisingly, Ferolito, Vultaggio & Sons, whose Arizona line had helped usher in the higher-value subsegment several years back with a ginseng-enhanced iced tea, has remained quiet on that front, with its sales mix increasingly emphasizing its lines of fruit teas over its juices.
The burgeoning smoothie segment has been attracting increased experimentation that originated in West Coast juice bars and has rippled throughout the country. The fruit-based drinks have begun to inspire experiments from major packaged-goods marketers, including a series of chilled Fruitwise smoothies and shakes from Tropicana, the shelf-stable WhipperSnapple line from Snapple, and even a frozen Smoothies line entering test in the Southwest from Welch’s. They join the shelf-stable line of segment pioneer Hansen Natural, a presence mainly on the West Coast but planning to augment its effort later this year. The attraction is one of tapping into a larger food industry trend by offering a “meal replacement” to on-the-go consumers seeking a healthy and tasty energy boost. Should that prove to be a compelling consumer proposition, proponents hope it will be a safe harbor if cheaper, cold-filled drinks from the beverage giants take a bite from volume and margins of their core lines of hot-filled juice drinks.
“It’s going to be really interesting,” predicted Ken Gilbert, senior vice president of marketing for Triarc. “What’s happening with Fruitopia is absolutely what you’d expect: Coke has done an absolutely phenomenal job of distribution, but now Fruitopia is in its fourth restage and somewhere in the range of $100 million in marketing investment.
“We still believe there’s a seriously strong proposition for an all-natural positioning, and that the outlook for hot-filled drinks is really good. Short-term, if we lose a little bit of distribution it could hurt, but long-term, it could still be a very bright future.”
RTD ICED TEA
The RTD iced tea segment, which ushered in the most explosive phase of the new age beverage boom, has tailed off considerably, with all of the segment’s growth accounted for by two cold-filled entries from Coca-Cola (Cool from Nestea) and Pepsi-Cola (Lipton Brisk). The implication seemed unmistakable: Whatever mystique the segment initially offered is being replaced by the improved taste, lower pricing, cool production and merchandising efficiency of the cold-filled entries.
Suddenly, iced tea, far from being “alternative” in its consumer dynamic, isn’t looking much different from soft drinks. The resulting consolidation has intensified the pressure on the two major independent players, Triarc Beverage, managing the Snapple and Mistic franchises, and Ferolito, Vultaggio & Sons, with its Arizona brand. Arguably, FV&S, based in Lake Success, NY, is more vulnerable in this regard, since Arizona has relied disproportionately on teas for its success. But the company in the past has found ways to marshall brilliant packaging and innovative formulations to provide consumers with the added value that they perceive to be worth a few pennies more than cold-filled alternatives. In 1997, that took the shape of a renewed effort behind diet iced teas, this time in 16-ounce bottles sporting a ceramic-looking wrap-label motif and priced more directly against Snapple than the brand’s workhorse 20-ounce bottles.
Arizona also tweaked its core superpremium line of 20-ounce bottles and offered a laminated plastic sports “can.” But if the company was able to maintain its strong new-product momentum, it also foundered last year with a major shift of distribution from beer wholesalers in such markets as Southern California, Ohio and Michigan to soft drink bottlers, with a resulting significant drop-off in availability of product to independent retailers where the brand had initially been built. Thus, while doing far better than many other brands at maintaining its consumer appeal, the Arizona brand in several regions proved harder to find on store shelves, and in a narrower range of SKUs, than previously. FV&S execs acknowledged some disruptions as a result of the shift, but said they were staying the course in 1998.
As is also happening with juices, one avenue to avoid the downward price pressure caused by the cold-fills was to add value and exoticism to the higher-priced hot-filled products. Thus, green teas proliferated in the independents’ portfolios, on the heels of some scientific evidence that they may inhibit disease, and so did entries fortified with herbal ingredients perceived as beneficial. Snapple offered its first line of green teas, while South Beach Beverage, having earlier misfired with more conventional new age beverages, seemed to have struck a chord with nutraceutical offerings fortified with such ingredients as guarana, ginseng and gingko biloba. Whether that approach will succeed in keeping consumers away from cold-filled products will be one of the issues in the beverage business in the next couple of years.
By contrast, there seemed little question that the outlook remains robust for the cold-filled entries, although industry execs continue to debate whether those products are sourcing their consumers from the ranks of hot-filled players or from soft drinks and below-premium segments. New cold-filled entrants included the likes of Tetley, with Tetley Splash!, but the big kahunas remained Lipton Brisk and Cool from Nestea. According to Beverage Digest, the pair captured all of the market share growth in teas in the take-home channel in 1997, with Brisk grabbing 2.9 points to a 32.1% share and Cool grabbing 6.4 points to a 22.8% share. All the others, including hot-filled entries under the Lipton and Nestea brands, lost share, although some executives noted that chain store data understates the performance of brands like Arizona and Snapple. To continue growth, the cold-filled drinks weren’t expected to deviate from what increasingly resemble classic soft drink advertising, promotional, merchandising and pricing strategies — including expensive ads like the stop-frame animation ads marshalled behind Lipton Brisk. For brands like that, an emphasis on sheer refreshment, not ingredients, is the ticket — as with Brisk’s takeoff of “Rocky,” in which a Brisk-invigorated fighter exclaims, “Yo, that’s Brisk, baby.”
This year, Triarc’s Royal Crown Cola brand is wrapping itself in the American flag with an ad campaign that exhorts consumers to make the most of their “freedom to choose.” “Be Free, Drink RC,” the tagline proclaims. If the patriotic sentiment seems unimpeachable, that does not offset the fact that consumer choice in soft drinks shows every sign of narrowing, as industry giants Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola wage a battle for supremacy. And their pricing, distribution and promotional volleys are leaving most of the lesser players with severe wounds.
That battle shows signs of intensifying this year, even though the two soft drink giants don’t look quite the same as the ones that battled in 1997. Pepsi, with its new “globe” logo now rolled out nationally, entered 1998 confident that its long-anticipated spinoff of its restaurant units would enhance its focus and improve its ability to regain ground in the crucial fountain segment.
However, while chairman/CEO Roger Enrico in December spoke of “reloading the advertising and marketing gun” in 1998, the year got off to an uneven start when the creative approach behind the Pepsi brand drew a less than universally enthusiastic response when it was unveiled to Pepsi bottlers. One ad, which depicted a sky surfer refueling a goose in mid-air with Pepsi, drew a strong favorable reaction. However, others were considered off the mark and one, which featured the Rolling Stones song “Brown Sugar,” drew disbelief from some bottlers who questioned why Pepsi would remind consumers that brown sugar is the essential ingredient base of the brand. In such a crucial year for the brand, the initial uncertainty was a somewhat ominous development, sending Pepsi and its long-time agency, BBDO, New York, scurrying to retool and, in some places, likely replace some of the ads. And, as we go to press, Pepsi announced a restructuring of its marketing leadership. Chief global marketing officer Brian Swette will be leaving the company, and will be replaced by a marketing council made up of three top executives. They will be responsible for all the advertising and marketing intiatives both domestically and internationally.
Coke was undergoing its own upheavals. After managing a seamless transition to new leadership under Douglas Ivester following the unexpected death of its visionary chairman, Roberto Goizueta, the company found itself needing to find a successor to its mercurial chief marketing officer, Sergio Zyman, after his abrupt resignation this spring.
Charles Frenette, a long-time Coke executive and the son of Coke bottlers, got the post. The combination of Ivester and Frenette, both bringing a deep understanding of logistical and operational issues, was viewed by industry executives as possibly inspiring a greater emphasis on sales and marketing fundamentals than the flamboyant Zyman. Still, as he prepared to move on, Zyman generally received high marks from bottlers for keeping the core brand fresh, and it was by no means certain the company would abandon Zyman’s penchant for having multiple ad agencies vie for creative opportunities on Coke’s brand portfolio.
In truth, neither Enrico nor Ivester could have been happy with the way 1997 concluded for their core cola brands, none of which matched the soft drink industry’s overall growth of 3.3% to 14.7 billion gallons. Even with the best performance among the top colas, a gain of 2.5%, Coca-Cola Classic still lagged the industry’s growth, while Pepsi-Cola rose a scant 0.5%. Diet Coke rose a modest 0.9% and Diet Pepsi actually declined by 1%. That amounted to the steepest decline in market share for the cola segment since 1992, with share declining by 1.1 points, according to supermarket scanner data, and both regular and diet colas taking a hit.
By contrast, the flavored entries of both Coke and Pepsi performed well, and both were planning to step up activity in this arena in 1998. Pepsi’s Mountain Dew, continuing its edgy attack on teens, spurted by 13%, while Coke’s Sprite, tuned into hip-hop and other urban trends, spiked up by 10.4%. Coke rolled out the green, citrus-flavored Surge as a teen-oriented challenger to Mountain Dew and launched Citra as a challenger to Cadbury’s Squirt.
Pepsi expanded a test of Storm, a challenger to Sprite, and took a more radical tack with venerable Orange Slice, flagging a reformulation that offers a lighter taste with a twist of lemon-lime with ads touting the brand as “New Slice. It’s orange, only twisted.”
Beyond Coke and Pepsi, other players were looking increasingly vulnerable, despite bright spots like the continued strong performance of Dr Pepper, up 5.4%. The “Be Free, Drink RC” anthem, of course, was part of yet another broad restaging for RC that also included new packaging and promotional approaches, while Cadbury’s Dr Pepper/Seven Up dumped 7 Up’s “uncola” tag in favor of the “crisp, clear refreshing taste” associated with the reformulation of the declining brand. The company also teamed with investment house Carlyle Group to acquire two key bottlers, thus taking the first step to committing its own capital to insuring a viable distribution channel for its brands, which have increasingly found themselves squeezed from the Coke and Pepsi systems. Industry executives said they expected the deal, for Midwest bottlers Select and Beverage American, to be echoed in the future with alliances on both the East and West Coasts. Like Coke, private-label leader Cott found itself without its visionary chairman, Gerald Pencer, and put itself in play, with Triarc, National Beverage and others rumored to be considering an acquisition.
For premium colas marshalled under such brands as Jones, Stewart’s (now also under the Triarc umbrella) and Boylan’s, the outlook continued to hang onto their higher-margin niche with demonstrated strength in on-premise venues cultivating an alternative, high-end positioning. But in a consolidating arena, there seemed to be limited opportunity for them to get beyond niche status.
Bottled water continued its strong growth pace in 1997, marked by the continued surge of portable “convenience” plastic bottles and the drive by several players to launch national brands in what has heretofore been largely a fragmented, regional business. All told, bottled water consumption surged another 9.6% to 3.43 billion gallons, according to Beverage Marketing Corp., New York, with convenience packs scoring double-digit gains. Per capita consumption rose to a new high of 12.7 gallons.
The business has been viewed as fertile enough to be worth its share of quirky subsegments, including sweetened flavored lines such as Geyser and caffeinated waters such as Water Joe and Krank20, although so far none has exploded into major volume. The latest such subsegment: so-called “superoxygenated” waters – that is, bottled waters infused with more than 50 milligrams of dissolved oxygen per liter, versus about 7 milligrams in regular purified bottled water – that promise enhanced athletic performance. Early entrants include Life O2, now rolling nationally from Life O2 International, Sarasota, FL; O2 Water, from a company of that name based in Island Park, NY, and Airwater, from established water player Talking Rain Beverage, Preston, WA.
Another dynamic worth watching in 1998 will be downward pressure on pricing from some of the newer national entries such as Dannon and Aquafina, as well as expanding regional and private-label brands. To meet this challenge, premium-priced entries such as Evian and Naya will need to maintain or likely increase their commitment to image-enhancing value-added packaging, advertising and promotion.
In 1997, likely the biggest news was the strong push behind several recent national entries. Great Brands of Europe, a unit of French food conglomerate Groupe Danone, moved into its second year of marketing Dannon water. The brand features a new generation of packaging and advertising, sponsorships targeted at soccer moms and dads, along with a continued juggling act between warehouse-delivery channels suited toward its supermarket base and experiments with direct store delivery (DSD) distribution in some markets. In the space of only a year, the brand has already moved into the No. 2 sales spot in supermarkets, and its addition of a domestic source to buttress its Canadian source is expected to help profits. Executives at the company noted that with 75% of U.S. households still not jumping on the bandwagon of convenience still water, there is ample room for further growth without cannibalizing competitors. “Unlike any other brand out there, we’re uniquely positioned to bring in our own customers from our own franchise,” noted Matthew Wiant, marketing director for GBE’s Danone International Brands unit.
Meanwhile, Perrier Group of America, although enjoying solid growth from regional still-water entries like Poland Spring and Arrowhead, last summer launched its own national entry, Oasis Natural Spring Water. Oasis is targeted at younger consumers (ages 18 to 34), who have been instrumental in sending single-serve water packages on their strong growth path. Packaging depicts a desert oasis scene, while radio and outdoor ads in some metros demand: “Oasis. Are you thirsty enough?” In contrast to the largely supermarket tilt so far of its archrival’s Dannon brand, Perrier was going the DSD route to market Oasis, at an aggressive price. As Perrier executives acknowledged, though, that was proving a tough road, and as the summer season is getting under way in 1998, they are backing off advertising of Oasis in order to continue to concentrate on establishing viable distribution.
Pepsi’s Aquafina, in its first year of full national availability, also is going to be worth watching. The brand is receiving ad support that also targets younger consumers, ages 18 to 34, particularly males, and reports strong sales in such retail channels as convenience and gas stores. Still a question is whether its status as purified municipal water will eventually hurt the brand. One salvo early this year was a report on NBC’s “Dateline” that aimed at that vulnerability, much as the program a year earlier had attacked some craft beers for being contract-brewed at larger, industrial brewers. By many accounts that report had damaged the image of such products as Samuel Adams. In this case, Pepsi executives maintain that their research indicates that target consumers are interested primarily in taste and convenience rather than the origin of the product. And, indications show that the program has not damaged Pepsi or the bottled water industry as a whole.
While much of the focus is on the new national entrants, existing brands have not exhausted their growth potential. GBE’s Evian, which shifted from TV ads to only print ads last year, was continuing to enjoy single-digit growth. Rival executives said the growth was a result of an aggressive push to the trade and a heavier reliance on multipacks. For its part, Perrier also enjoyed the benefits of multipacks. Naya Canadian Natural Spring Water continued to enjoy healthy growth, thanks in part to aggressive marketing to younger consumers, ethnics and gays via highly targeted ads and focused promotions. With 1998 already seeing an under-the-label effort called, “The Edge,” that offers consumers eight chances at a six-day Canadian adventure trip for two, the new approach shows no sign of change. So far, few others have sought to adopt a similarly un-sedate positioning, aside from Aquafina and some caffeinated waters that, a few years ago, joined the beverage scene with little marketing support.
ENERGY DRINKS & OTHERS
You’ve heard it before: consolidation is occurring, distributors and retailers are fed up with unproven new products that will fail to sell through once in the warehouse and on the shelf, and doors are slamming all over America to new entries, with the consequence that the most fertile period of innovation is over.
Don’t believe it. While the trade has adopted a justifiably skeptical view of the avalanche of new products occurring throughout the food sector, wholesalers and retailers keep open minds about new concepts that could be the next Snapple or Arizona. They are driven by several dynamics that haven’t changed: enhanced profitability, the ability to differentiate themselves from competitors, and the less than spectacular record of innovation in single-serve products by major beverage producers such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola, Tropicana and Nestle. As a result, the market has continued to see an influx of intriguing, sometimes just wacky, concepts ranging from Clearly Canadian’s now-declining Orbitz line to flavored still waters, caffeine-reinforced waters and juices, energy drinks and other miscellanea.
Among established beverage players, Pepsi showed the code could be cracked on iced coffees by teaming up with the right partner, Starbucks, with their Frappuccino success, though few others have followed it with much of an impact. But other companies were planning or expanding entries, under brand names ranging from Gehl’s and Ghirardelli to Arizona. Meanwhile, on the chocolate side, Yoo-hoo (Austin, Nichols) rebuffed a slew of contenders, including major players like Nestle and Cadbury, to continue its dominance of chocolate drinks.
Perhaps one of the most intriguing uncategorizable products seen as having vast upside potential is a brand abandoned by Austin, Nichols’ French parent, Pernod Ricard, which sold its Orangina brand to Coca-Cola. Although Orangina has enjoyed a modest success in the U.S., primarily on the East Coast, the planets may be in alignment for a more sustained success. Mildly carbonated with real fruit pulp, the brand could tap into some consumers’ desires for a better-for-you soft drink. The brand boasts another equity that Coca-Cola ought to be able to run with: a curvy, proprietary package. As a result, industry execs were expe