Beverage Bigs Try to Woo Restaurants

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Soda Giants Expand Beyond the Fizz Biz

Next time you're in a restaurant, try ordering a Defend & Protect on the rocks.

That's just one of the new products Coca-Cola Foodservice offered at the recent National Restaurant Association Show. Its Dasani Plus vitamin-enhanced waters come in three varieties. The other two-flavored blends sport names such as Refresh & Revive and Cleanse & Restore, monikers that sound much like the Glaceau VitaminWater brands Coke is buying. On sales materials for the line, Coke highlighted ACNielsen research stating that bottled water is expected to be bigger than carbonated soft drinks by 2008. It also said 62% of consumers purchase functional foods every day.

The beverage share leader also featured expanded Icee slush flavors, Minute Maid smoothies and an extended line of bar-mixer recipes. In touting its green movement, Coke featured high-yield syrup, stating that it cuts the equivalent of 3 million delivery-truck miles to 93 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.

Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages heavily merchandised its Snapple tea portfolio as the tea craze continues. Three flavors, including Earl Grey, English breakfast and orange pekoe, sport distinctive black labels are sure to stand out on the table. Boasting all-natural ingredients and sugar or honey as the sweetener, the line targets the $26.6 million superpremium tea segment that grew 129% in 2006, according to ACNielsen grocery figures.

The overall goal is to offer restaurants custom brands that will enable them to stand out against the competition. To that end, the major soft-drink marketers showed new fountain dispensing systems that can hold between 12 and 16 fountain heads and up to nine flavor shots. Coke showed a system that can perfectly blend beverages from 16 varieties, plus up to 12 flavoring or sweetener options.
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