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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Overnight Sensations

It seems that everyone believes that "next big thing" beverages are created overnight and leap to national prominence after a short gestation period. Lately this has been the vibe behind the Energy Shot business (nice article from Matt Casey at Bevnet here).

But it seems to me that shots are following in the footsteps of Snapple, Hansen's, Vitamin Water etc in taking a long period of time to reach the national consciousness. In past work, the average period of time takes around 5 years, and often includes some kind of "last chance" gut check in the brand's history.

The implication here is that the next big thing (due in 2 years) is already in the market, finding its feet - and hoping that its funding will keep it alive.

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After a couple of silent months, I thought I would restart my musings with a quick recap of the top three things on my mind...

First, its a project I have been working on - underWAY. I have been banging away in person and on this blog about real, differentiated functionality for a while - and this is something I believe underWAY has in spades. underWAY is the first appetite suppression beverage, using a combination of superfiber technology for "stomach bulk" and low GI sweetening for smoothing body insulin/blood sugar levels. The result is a beverage that can immediately end hunger in a great tasting beverage. We are out starting to introduce this to retailers, targeting the nutrition aisle... Contact me (neilgkimberley@gmail.com) if you want more info.

Second has been the exuberance in beverage stocks. A combination of higher retail pricing, M&A activity and lower input costs has made beverages a flavor of the month with Wall Street, led by the non-M&A bottling-driven stocks (DPS, CCE) and HANS. Will this last? How can these businesses sustain growth in an environment of more promotions and higher input costs?

Third, where are the other hot new ideas? Energy Minus (Purple/Drank)? Coconut Water (Zico, Vita Coco, ONE). Kombucha (look for it in the POM section of the grocery store!)? Can energy evolve one more time?

Here we go 2010!