Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bye Bye Caffeine in Four Loko... Luckily there are lots of other replacements

With thanks to Lehrman Beverage Law...

# 3 AM Vodka with Caffeine and Guarana
# 3 Sum Malt Beverage with Caffeine
# 24-Seven Malt Beverage with Caffeine and Guarana
# 808 Vodka with Caffeine and Guarana
# A:M Vodka with Caffeine
# Agwa Herbal Liqueur with Guarana
# Alexandra Cream Liqueur with Coffee Beans
# Atwater Malt Beverage with Coffee Beans
# Axehead Malt Beverage with Guarana and Caffeine
# Bacchus Meadery Honey Wine with Coffee
# Barley Island Black Magic Java Stout with Coffee Beans
# Bee Creek Stout with Coffee
# Bell's Java Stout with Coffee
# Belvedere IX Vodka with Guarana and Ginseng
# Big Boss Beer with Coffee
# Big Shot Stout with Espresso
# Bluegrass Brewing Co. Stout with Coffee
# Bold City Coffee Stout with Bean Coffee
# BooYa Tequila with Caffeine
# Bootlegger's Black Phoenix Ale with Coffee
# Borghetti Cafe Sport Espresso Liqueur
# Brooklyn Intensified Coffee Stout Ale with Coffee
# Bruery Turtle Doves Ale with Cocoa Nibs
# Burnett's Espresso Flavored Vodka
# Buzz Bomb Vodka with Caffeine and Guarana
# Buzz-A-Rita Margarita with Caffeine and Guarana
# Cafe Boheme Liqueur with Vodka and Coffee
# Cafe Lue Orange Wine with Coffee
# Captain Lawrence Stout with Espresso Beans
# Captain Morgan Rum and Cola
# Catalyst Malt Beverage with Caffeine
# Chang Rai Green Tea Wine
# Charbay Aperitif Wine with Tea Leaves
# Charbay Tea Flavored Vodka with Whole Leaf Green Tea
# Chicca Ale Brewed with Coffee Beans
# Cofia Vodka with Hazelnut Espresso
# Cohete Rum with Guarana
# Core Malt Beverage with Guarana and Caffeine
# Corner Stone Ale with Espresso Coffee
# Dark Horizon Ale with Coffee
# Dark Horse Perkulator Malt Beverage with Coffee Grounds
# Deschutes Black Butte Porter with Coffee and Chocolate
# Dizzy Panda Green Tea Wine
# Dogma Ale with Kola Nut and Guarana
# Dolce Nero Liqueur with Espresso Beans
# Dogfish Sah'Tea Ale with Black Tea
# Dogfish Theobroma Ale with Cocoa Nibs and Cocoa Powder
# East End Literally Just a Coffee Porter
# Ecstasy Liqueur
# Esprexxo Coffee Flavored Vodka with Caffeine
# Everglo Liqueur with Caffeine
# Firelit Coffee Liqueur made with brewed coffee
# Flying Fish Ale with Coffee
# Fort Collins Ale with Coffee
# Founders Breakfast Stout Brewed with Coffee and Chocolate
# Four Malt Beverage with Caffeine and Guarana
# Freaky Ice Vodka with Guarana
# George Dickel Whisky and Cola
# Goose Island Bourbon County Stout with Coffee
# Grind Rum with Coffee Extract
# Gruv Malt Beverage with Guarana
# Hard Wired Malt Beverage with Caffeine and Guarana
# High & Mighty Sono Distrutto Stout with Espresso Beans
# Holt's Cyclone Lager with Guarana, Kola Nut, Ginseng
# Hoodoo Majic Rum with Caffeine
# Iki Beer with Green Tea Leaves
# Illy Espresso Liqueur
# Ineeka Ale with Green Tea
# Ithaca Eleven Malt Beverage with Coffee
# Jack Hammer Malt Beverage with Guarana
# Jah-Va Stout with Coffee
# Jakk'd Grain Neutral Spirits with Caffeine
# James River Plantation Sweet Tea Flavored Vodka
# Java Head Stout with Coffee Beans
# Java the Hub Porter with Coffee
# Javara Rum with Coffee
# Jett Vodka with Caffeine and Guarana
# Jim Beam Bourbon and Cola
# Joe Mama's Milk Stout with Coffee
# Joe Porter with Coffee
# Joose Malt Beverage with Caffeine and Guarana
# Kahlua Coffee Liqueur
# Keweenaw Mogiana Ale with Coffee
# King Mocha Java Stout with Coffee
# Kona Brewery Da Grind Buzz Stout with Coffee
# Koval Liqueur with Coffee
# La Granja Stout with Coffee
# Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout Brewed with Colombian Coffee
# Laurelwood Espresso Stout
# Lefty's Porter with Coffee
# Leopold Brothers Coffee Liqueur with Ground Coffee
# Liquid Charge Malt Beverage with Caffeine and Guarana
# Long Trail Malt Beverage with Coffee
# Lost Coast Java Brown Ale with Coffee
# Lotus Vodka with Caffeine and Guarana
# Luna Coffee Stout
# Macarsi Coffee Liqueur
# Mancos Valley Liqueur with Coffee
# MateVeza Ale with Yerba Mate
# Max Malt Beverage with Caffeine
# MacTarnahan's Goose Bump Stout with Coffee Beans
# Meantime Malt Beverage with Coffee
# Mette Grape Spirits with Coffee
# Mezzaluna Espresso Liqueur
# Mickey’s Stinger Malt Beverage with Caffeine and Guarana
# Mikkeller Black Hole Stout with Coffee
# Mikkeller Oatmeal Stout Brewed with Coffee
# Minx Vodka Cocktail with Guarana
# Mobius Lager with Caffeine
# Mocha Death Ale with Coffee and Cocoa
# Modern Spirits Abstract Standard with Caffeine and Guarana and Tea Leaves
# Modern Spirits Vodka with Green, Black and Oolong Teas
# Mokka Liqueur with Coffee Beans
# Moonshot Beer with Caffeine
# Natty-Up Beer with Caffeine
# New Belgium Giddy Up! Ale with Espresso
# New Belgium Lips of Faith Ale with Yerba Mate
# New Glarus Stout with Coffee
# Nigata Malt Beverage with Green Tea
# Overcast Espresso Stout with Coffee
# Oxtails Vodka with Ginseng and Guarana
# P.I.N.K. Vodka with Caffeine and Guarana
# P.I.N.K. Sake with Caffeine
# Peak Ale with Organic Coffee
# Peak Spirits Grappa with Coffee Beans
# Peche Mortel Stout with Coffee
# Pinnacle Double Espresso Vodka with Caffeine
# Pipeline Porter with Kona Coffee
# Pozharnik Stout with Coffee
# Qi Liqueur with Smoked Black Tea
# R2 Rum with Taurine and Caffeine
# Real Ale Porter Brewed with Coffee
# Red Eye Black Ale with Coffee Beans
# Redhook Double Black Stout with Coffee
# Rhythm Liqueur with Caffeine
# Ricochet Malt Beverage with Caffeine and Guarana
# Rize Malt Beverage with Caffeine and Guarana
# Rockstar Malt Beverage with Caffeine
# Roundhouse Corretto Liqueur with Coffee
# Saint Aubin Rum with Coffee Grains
# Santa Cruz Brewing Porter with Coffee
# Sao Vodka with Guarana and Caffeine
# Seagram's Coffee Flavored Vodka with Caffeine Added
# Shango Rum Liqueur with Guarana
# ShotPak Gravity Vodka with Caffeine
# Slingshot Vodka with Caffeine
# Smirnoff Espresso Flavored Vodka with Caffeine
# Smirnoff Raw Tea Malt Beverage with Tea and Caffeine
# Smirnoff Vodka and Guarana
# Southern Tier Mokah Stout with Chocoloate and Coffee
# Spykes Malt Beverage with Caffeine and Guarana
# Starbucks Coffee Liqueur
# Stella di Natale Ale with Green Tea
# Stirrings Liqueur with Espresso
# Stone Brewing Coconut Porter with Kona Coffee
# Surly Coffee Bender Beer with Coffee
# Surly Four Stout with Coffee
# Swamphead Midnight Oil Ale with Coffee
# Sweet Horizon Ale with Coffee
# Tenure Espresso Flavored Vodka
# Terrapin Coffee Oatmeal Beer with Coffee
# Terrapin Depth Charge Espresso Milt Stout with Coffee
# Thirdrail Beer with Caffeine
# Three Olives Vodka with Caffeine
# Torque Malt Beverage with Caffeine and Guarana
# Tosta Ale with Cacao
# Trader Joe's Vodka with Chocolate and Espresso
# Troll Liqueur with Guarana
# Twin Shot Java Cream Vodka with Espresso
# Twisted Pine Espresso Stout Malt Beverage with Espresso
# Twisted Tea Malt Beverage with Tea
# Tyranena Porter Brewed with Coffee Beans
# Underground Grain Neutral Spirits with Guarana and Ginseng
# V2 Vodka with Caffeine
# VAD Vodka with Caffeine, Guarana and Ginseng
# Valdamor Grappa with Coffee
# Van Gogh Double Caffeine Coffee Flavored Vodka
# Vicious Vodka with Caffeine
# Vinergy Table Flavored Wine with Caffeine
# Volta Vodka with Caffeine, Guarana and Yerba Mate
# Voyant Chai Cream Liqueur with Black Tea
# W. Willy's Wine with Caffeine and Taurine
# Walders Coffee Liqueur Made with Coffee
# White Birch Malt Beverage with Coffee
# Wide Eye Liqueur with Caffeine
# Williamsburg Coffeehouse Stout Ale with Roasted Coffee
# Wolaver's Ale with Coffee
# XZO Vodka with Caffeine and Guarana
# Yeti Great Divide Stout with Coffee
# Zen Green Tea Liqueur
# Zygo Citrus Flavored Vodka with Guarana and Yerba Mate

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Rush To Judgement

Over the past week since I first wrote the Four Loko post Oklahoma, Washington and now New York have pulled the drink off retail shelves- all accompanied by suitably outraged politicians and shocked media.

We can now await the crackdown on Vodka/Red Bull, rum & coke and Irish Coffee with baited breath...

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fascinating Cocaine Infographic

From - click on the image to see it full size.

Especially like the Coca Cola trivia.

Facts about Cocaine
Via: Pharmacy Technician

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Four Loko And the End of RTD Caffeine/Alcohol Beverages

Sometime in July, I had arrived at the Mad Dogs cricket ground in Greenwich, CT and had begun the process of getting ready for the game. I unlocked the front gate and the club house - all pretty normal. Our ground is located by the local recycling center (ok, the dump) and is often used by the local teens to do what teens do. They disappear into the nearby woods during the day to get high. And at night they hang outside our clubhouse to drink a beer or three. Normally this ends with the ritual smashing of bottles on our steps, requiring some clean up. But not this time.

The alcohol of choice for the previous evening - and would be for the rest of the summer - was Four Loko.

Four Loko is a caffeinated malt liquor. As an article in Fast Company put it, one 23.5 oz can contains the equivalent alcohol of a six pack of Budweiser (yes, its over 12% alcohol by volume) and the caffeine equivalent of two Red Bulls (around 160 mg).

At the time, I was happy that we just had a few cans to throw away, somewhat surprised to see another alcohol/caffeine product and noticed how spilled product more resembled a New Age juice drink in smell and color, rather than a beer.

Later at the local bodega (yes, there are some in Greenwich), I saw the cans, on the bottom shelf, and priced at $3 each (double the normal price), I asked the owner how it was selling. He responded "Like you would not believe".

I googled the product at home to discover that 4 Ohio State grads had started the brand and were trying to get their idea off the ground. Unsurprisingly however, they were becoming the new bete noir of the campaign against alcohol/caffeine.

The "caffeine+alcohol" issue has been under debate since last year. The argument is that the depressant effects of alcohol are masked by caffeine's stimulant effects, thereby enabling the drinker to imbibe for longer, and causing them to drink too much, which results in more people drinking and driving, getting into fights and generally becoming a menace to society.

And we all know how much the media  likes a "menace to society". In 1976 it was the Sex Pistols (well at least in the UK), In 1988 it was wine coolers, in 1997 it was Smirnoff Ice, Zima and other "alcopops", in 2000 it was Red Bull and Vodka, last year it was Sparks (only 6% alcohol), and today it is Four Loko.

This is a simple and easy story for local TV, and its easy to get a dramatic quote from parents, college presidents etc etc.

A few examples of the hysteria are here:

New Mexico

OK... a few observations

The real insight here is that Four Loko has a real value proposition. - Fruit taste, and a significant kick that does not put you to sleep - all for around $3.

The image and reputation of the product are creating the phenomena...  getting the names "liquid cocaine" and "blackout in a can" are great for their young male purchasers - but a real scare for the rest of puritan American society. Remember prohibition only ended 78 years ago.

Four Loko has also become a favorite for young urban black and hispanic drinkers. And they are also making viral videos for the brand.

Youtube is also the location of viral videos in competition to see who can chug the product fastest.

Or Shotgun it

or Beer Bong it...

Alcohol and caffeine is not inherently bad for you. Like other recreational substances, it is about your tolerance and ability to be responsible with it. Four Loko has combined taste, effect, branding and price into a powerful proposition that engages and excites its consumers - while scaring just about everyone else.

So go and buy one for the experience now - I would guess that it will only be available on the black market by 2011.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Leaving a Bad Taste...

Trident Layers - So Good You'll Want To Get Paid in Gum

There are three objectives in launching a new brand: Awareness, Trial and Availability.Often the "Trial and Awareness" is generated an by innovative sampling technique. So it was with interest that some friends of mine saw the Trident Layers Brink's Truck in lower Manhattan on Monday.

Being interested marketers they went over to see the nicely decked out vehicle and see what the trial experience was all about. With the campaign around "So good you will want to be paid in gum" the Brink's truck appeared to be a cute idea, with he staff sampling dressed as security guards.

Then the strangeness happened. They were given an scratch off instant win game card - with Four Potential prizes. $50, $25 or $10 in cash - or free gum. This is, of course a sampling technique, so my friends were expecting at minimum a free sample of new Trident Layers.

After six "not a winner" cards it became apparent that the only way to try the gum would be to go to the local Duane Reade and buy some Layers. Read the small print on the game card and only 1 in 12 won free gum.


The objective of this event is to sample the product: Surely if you have anyone walk away without the product you have missed your chance for Trial, you may have frustrated a potential consumer.

Come on Kraft, it's chewing gum. It has massive margins.

Why would you go to all the trouble of dressing a Brink's truck and providing game cards (which were probably as expensive as a pack of gum) and NOT give the intrigued consumer a gum sample?

Did the sampling budget run out of money? Was the Marketing Director asleep at the switch? Or is this just a marketing department over-thinking everything?

Alan and Ted walked away thinking "F*** Trident Layers, I'm buying Wrigley".

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Day After, There Will Be Beer...

 SAB Miller creates brewery on a tanker... for those "just in case" scenarios.

One of the great joys of being in strategy is playing "what if...". Normally we speculate about sugar taxes, M&As, ingredient shortages. But occasionally you get asked about that time horizon greater than 5 years out when imaginations can run wild.

Apparently SAB Miller just had that exercise, and created their own "beyond thunderdome" scenario where global weather has become so unpredictable, and water/energy are in such short supply that man returns to a more nomadic existence -relying on the sea for much of its subsistence. Therefore SAB imagined this brewery on a tanker concept that could be used to provide beer for those survivors. And you would have to guess that if we really face such nightmare scenarios, we will need a beer to relax with!

A quick POV...

Pluses - ability to relocate rapidly and go to where the people and resources are:

Minuses -  Tough to stockpile ingredients, packaging and inventory

(If anyone has an actual copy of this study to share, I would love to read it - send to

Monday, October 11, 2010

Coffee Drinkers Dying Out - Or Consumption Patterns Changing?

Van Gough illustrates the look of today's coffee drinker...
Mintel has been analyzing coffee and seeing precisely these trends.Older consumers still drink their coffee as a daily routine. Younger consumers drink less at home and not everyday. In fact just 27% of 18-24 year olds say they are drinking coffee on a daily basis.

In other analysis, it is apparent that the dollars spent on coffee is holding/increasing as Starbucks (single serve away from home consumption) and K Cups (single serve at home consumption) have made carafe coffee consumption (at home multiserve) less  frequent. Changes that will be margin enhancing, but not scale producing.

This is a new model for coffee, one that has take root over the past decade. Coffee has gone from the all purpose caffeine delivery system to a relaxing personal beverage occasion. With, I would believe, more changes to come.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Will The Future Be Quite So Bubbly?

The past year has been dominated by concerns about the impact on obesity of Carbonated Soft Drinks. Whether it has resulted in renewed calls for social engineering through a soda tax, or availability bans (most recent of these has been Boston's Municipal Buildings), the press coverage has been negative.

One bright spot has been the impact of the Pepsi Refresh Everything project. The project is visibly and creatively changing the discussion about Pepsi in a positive direction.

 Refresh Everything started as a social media experiment and has become the marketer's dream combining relevance, interactivity and a positive message that reflects well on the brand.  In contrast the big movie and sports tie-ins found on other CSD brands this summer feel empty and self-centered.

Over the length of the recession the big CSD businesses have delivered big profits despite the carnage around them as consumers have returned to their value offerings. The big question that has highly paid executives up late is whether these trends will continue to drink them as the economy improves?

My observation is that the old way of marketing CSDs is becoming irrelevant as their level of commoditization increases.

Finding a way to drive relevance - like Refresh Everything - will be essential to giving the category a chance as consumers seek more healthy and functional alternatives.

The Change Is (almost) Complete

So, early on Saturday morning KO took over CCE in North America to align most of the big North American beverage businesses. As with both Pepsi and Dr Pepper Snapple the fanfare will be overshadowed inside Coke by the talks of duplication and synergy. In real terms for the employees this change will mean relocation and lost jobs for many employees. It will be a trying time, and efficiencies will be made. Wall Street will applaud.

But we are now left with three behemoth beverage businesses, with massive challenges regarding what portfolio they sell, and the degree of autonomy that can be left to the marketing manager, branch manager, route salesman and merchandiser. It remains to be seen whether such centralization can be successful, or whether it creates more opportunities for the small, nimble innovative companies.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Generation Gap or Food Politics? The Complexities of Caffeine

There are number of issues within the politics of food that are always interesting: Organic Vs GMO, soft drinks in schools - and my own personal favorite, coffee Vs energy drinks.

In Huffington Post today is such an article by Matthew Edlund MD. His observations are as follows:

Coffee is an important social lubricant: Energy Drinks are for loners
Coffee comes from trees: Energy Drinks are chemical creations
Coffee is for everyone: Energy Drinks are for teens

But "Used regularly all such drinks create caffeinism, the addiction to caffeine which can move from the buzzing speed of the addict to the withdrawal hell of headaches, nausea, vomiting and terrifying sleeplessness." All this is used to support his thesis that we get too little rest.

While I have some sympathy for his view that, we are all busy... but believing that consumers have no understanding on how to use caffeine is naive. Consumers are well aware of the caffeine in their beverages.

But also thinking that there is no sociability to caffeine drinks is false. Red Bull is drunk just about in every night club around the world. And there are plenty of 7 Eleven parking lots in Arizona where friends are drinking their Monster together.

Now, if we were talking about 5 Hour Energy... well, that is a different discussion.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Welcome to the L Shaped Recovery...

Nielsen analysis is saying that its unlikely that any significant recovery will occur until more people get back to work. Until then as opposed to a V shaped recovery (steep increases in confidence etc) we will get the L shaped recovery.

And its not even an issue of lack of credit anymore. Nielsen believes that credit is available - but its at such a price that no-one is interested - or has the confidence to borrow.

And simultaneously, earnings reports remain strong, and financial services are back in the black in a big way...

It all seems to be out of balance...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Gourmet Soda in New York

There are some really interesting things going in Boheminan NYC - a movement that the New York magazine is calling "Noveau Soda" - but its really a throwback to the days of drugs store prepared soda.

There places in Bed-Stuy, Carrol Gardens and the east village...

Must say that this does look interesting. Anyone up for a tour?

Monday, August 9, 2010


Interesting report from Mintel that products are getting "simpler" ie fewer ingredients. This is a logical extension of the natural trend (which has just entered its 20h year) and a desire from consumers to avoid highly processed foods.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Alcohol Info

Really interesting information from Gallup on the alcoholic preferences of Americans. Overall we now have the highest penetration of alcoholic beverages in last 15 years.

While Gallup does not go into the causes for this, you would imagine that a combination of the poor state of the economy, the increasing variety and kinds of alcohol and competitive pricing are encouraging consumption even as health and wellness trends may mitigate against them. 

 The additional detail provided is also interesting. While beer remains the dominant beverage, there is an increasing interest in wine across all demos. It is also interesting to see that spirits have an almost uniform interest across the demographics.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Obesity and Soda.

A study by UAB was released today saying that there is no direct correlation between consumption of sugary drinks and obesity.

Anyone out there surprised?

It does appear that we as a society have sought a one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition - and weight loss. From the food pyramid to the Atkins diet, we seek a single over-arching philosophy that will our stomachs to satiety and our bodies to six-packs and thin waists.

But these approaches seem extreme and simplistic. In reality the personal genes and metabolism of each individual hold the keys to a healthy diet. Right now we get to our ideal state by trial and error experimentation. But it is likely that within a few years, a simple assessment of an individual's DNA will be all that is needed.

So no decisive link between sugar and obesity. The tax lobby loses a key argument... And the rest of us have to continue to look for our own nutritional answers elsewhere.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Worst 20

 1 Sierra Nevada Bigfoot = 1 case of Michelob Ultra

Always love a good "worst" list: here are the top (or should that be bottom?) 20 most harmful beverages in the USA.


More positives for Caffeine

And more negatives for sugar...

Interesting new study from LSU says that it is the sugar in soft drinks that is bad for you - and increases risk of heart disease. The caffeine is OK.

“Sugar may actually be the nutrient that is associated with blood pressure and not caffeine which many people would suspect.” - Liwei Chen, Assistant professor of Public Health LSU.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Supermarket Segmentation

It has been said that the days of the consumer segmentation have gone, but when you find one, it is always interesting. The folks at Supermarket News have just published their own view of the supermarket shopping world. Its a nice topline view, but it would be better to understand the relative importance of each group.

See my slideshare account for a hard copy of the full document.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Trying to Be All Things...

The KFC Double Down... targeting young men...

The KFC Double Down has been in test for a year, and chain wide availability for a few weeks. The sandwich which replaces the bread with 2 chicken breasts was designed to appeal to a young male demo that the franchise was losing.

The issue is that KC has been attempting to reposition itself as a healthier alternative, using KFC Grilled as its monicker.

Result of the intro/exposure of doubledown - according to NRN - confusion in consumer's minds... And a position of weakness for the healthier rebranding.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Food Inflation... The Next Big Issue?

undoubtedly there is a feel good factor around right now. The stories in the media are less negative, and the stock market is up. But the spectre of inflation, absent so far in the economy, may be emerging.

This press release from the National Inflation Association is very bearish...

"Some of the startling food price increases on a year-over-year basis include, fresh and dry vegetables up 56.1%, fresh fruits and melons up 28.8%, eggs for fresh use up 33.6%, pork up 19.1%, beef and veal up 10.7% and dairy products up 9.7%. On October 30th, 2009, NIA predicted that inflation would appear next in food and agriculture, but we never anticipated that it would spiral so far out of control this quickly."

And "The U.S. government is now paying out more to Americans in benefits than it collects in taxes".

I have no idea whether this data is true, but certainly it points to some big structural issues in the recovery.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The First Political Test For Energy Drinks

I get a lot of questions along the lines of "when do you think the government will start regulating energy drinks?".

My response is normally "Never - because it would require them to regulate coffee too."

In Louisiana, a representative put a bill into legislative committee that would ban the sale of energy drinks to under 16's. As ever energy drinks were called "speed in a can". The committee did not proceed with the bill precisely because it would unfairly discriminate against one source of caffeine Vs another.

See the story here.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

if you want to lose weight, you don’t necessarily have to go for a long run. “Just get rid of your chair.”

There was a fascinating article in Sunday's New York Times about the relationship between diet and exercise in remaining thin. The net of the article was that extreme physical exercise creates an appetite that is greater than the calories expended in working out, and that lower impact, less strenuous exercise over time is more effective because it does not drive the appetite.

It is always good to see some nuance in the coverage of weight loss issues. Too often coverage defaults to a sound bite that demonizes one food or behavior, rather than putting that in the context of everyone's real life. The article itself also mentions how America's Puritan approach to diet and exercise may be counter productive.

Very interesting...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Its All In The Genes...

Over the past few years the subject of Nutrigenomics has occasionally appeared in the press. Basically this is the belief that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition, and that your genes play an important role in how food can keep you healthy.

Today there is a new study from Stanford University that continues this theme. In prior iterations there have been the blood type diet etc, but this study appears to move the research forward. And we are one step closer to DNA analysis providing the best diet alternative for each individual - and away from the FDA's Food Pyramid.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Geek Time Again

The end of the year data always provides an interesting snapshot of the trials and tribulations of the previous year. For beverages, however, it only tells part of the story. Beverage Marketing Corporation just released their year end numbers for 2009, with the headline that consumption declined in 2009 by -3.1%, losing around a nine hundred million gallons from the previous year.

Interestingly they estimate that the top 10 beverage brands (responsible for close to 50% of the market) declined at -4.5%, where the smaller brands declined at -1.7%: They also estimate that Gatorade lost an amazing 100M cases (over 10% of the total loss) declining -15%.

What the data does not reflect is that the price and profitability of the remaining 28.8B gallons. Those metrics are as positive as they have been in a decade.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Three Faces for Gatorade

Confused yet?

I have written in the past about the challenges that Gatorade faces: Lost occasions to Vitamin Water, a 1970s approach to personality marketing etc etc.

Well, their response is finally filtering out. Its the idea of 01 Prime, 02 Perform and 03 Recover.

Prime will be a carbohydrate boost before an activity, Perform will be hydration (now without HFCS) and 03 will be a "hydrating protein beverage".

While Gatorade should be congratulated for embracing change, and for taking all sports need states seriously, the bombast that surrounds this rebranding feels fake and forced. But there are many consumers using other beverages in this way...

Preparation - Red Bull
Rehydration - Gatorade/Water
Recovery - Muscle Milk

Gatorade has only gone 50% of the way. It still feels the need to bang on about rehydration in all its phases rather than understand that engaged consumers in this space. And Caffeine is a legit preparation. And protein is needed for recovery.

Does this "fix" Gatorade?

Probably not. These changes leaves the casual, non-salty refreshment space all to other brands.

School Beverage Sales Are Down - No Surprise

Interesting discussion in the WSJ about the schools declining in total beverage sales. The data provided is pretty staggering - looking at some of the declines in big school sellers like regular CSDs and Sports Drinks (no wonder Gatorade has issues).

The issue of beverages in schools has been a hot one for many years. A decade ago the objection was marketing to kids before they knew any better. Today it is about sugar/obesity.

So, is the battle won? Well, hardly likely. Kids will have gone to other places to buy what they want, while schools that benefited from the incremental beverage income are in the process of ending programs and firing teachers that they were funding from rich, multi-year drinks deals.

And in the interim, beverage costs have increased and the profitability from the channel is now compromised. Is there a way back? Probably only through innovation. But since kids like the taste of sugar, its unlikely that just offering a limited range of either low sugar or stevia sweetened products.

There is no simple solution here, kids want good tasting products, schools need funding, but cannot endorse full sugar beverages, and the beverage industry lacks the right single serve package size.

Come back 6 oz Coke bottles, all is forgiven?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Shopper Information

Liked this story from the New York Times. Apparently consumers - on average - enter a grocery store intending to spend around $40, but with the mental preparation of spending around $60.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

CAGNY Presentations

GAGNY - the consumer analyst group of New York held its annual meeting in Florida, and the major CPG companies came before them to update them on their progress. I have uploaded the presentations that were made available on the various investor relations websites to my slideshare account.

The KO and PEP reviews focused on their non-USA businesses (Coke made a big presentation in November, Pepsi is in the middle of restructuring its US business). DPS, HSY and KFT re-iterated much of what they have said previously.

Perhaps the most interesting presentation is from French giant Danone. In other posts I have looked at their interest in functional food. Their presentation here is a breath of fresh air, really thinking about the future of food.

Anyway - if you are in the Food and Beverage business, it is all worth a look.
If you are not... I will call you later to wake you up.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Loading Up At the Wegman's has a whole new meaning

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer you can now visit the pub while you are shopping. Surely a ciunning plan to reduce shopper inhibitions - and really make the fresh produce section a singles bar!

Either way I like the idea. Done right it would make for a more interesting retail experience.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Signature Sausages Are Coming

According to signature sausages will be a prominent trend in 2010.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Bad For You Sandwiches...

Meatball Marinara Sandwich from Subway 1,160 Calories

If you needed any more information about bad lunch choices, this piece on Yahoo! is interesting. If for no other reason but for the trivia value of discovering whose sandwich is 1,930 calories...

Friday, January 29, 2010

How Much Sugar in Mountain Dew Throwback?

Mountain Dew has always been a guilty pleasure of mine, so I was intrigued to taste some made with cane sugar. Then I noticed the amount of sugar in the product...

There are 73 grams of sugar in a 20oz single serve bottle.

Innovation Slowing

Unsurprisingly, Mintel is reporting that the rate of rate of innovation of food and beverages is slowing, with 30% fewer new product entries in 2009 over 2008. After a decade of massive growth from innovation retailer's category management, a reduction corporate resources and the focus on value is taking its toll.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Its That Most Wondeful Time of the Year...

Well maybe for statistical geeks like me. It is that time when annual numbers for 2009 are solidified and we start to get a better picture of the American consumer and the retail marketplace.

Today we have been provided data on consumer use of coupons. With the recession, it was likely that coupon use would be up - but the results are jaw dropping. Coupon use is +27% worth over $35B in retail sales.

A quick quote from the article...

“There has been a noticeable increase in page count over the past year,” said News America Marketing EVP of Marketing, Jesse Aversano. “Manufacturers understand that in a tough economy, coupons are an effective and efficient way to spend their advertising dollar.”

“Brands saw coupons as a key to maintaining brand strength,” adds Matthew Tilley, Director of Marketing for Inmar’s promotion services division. “If they reduced their promotional presence, they stood to lose sales to lower priced competitors and store brands – so they doubled down hoping to create brand loyalty once the economic dust settles.”

Hmm. Coupons as a source of brand building? Sorry, nice try. Coupons have become a way to keep retailer prices high (ie not give back the hard won price increases of 2007) but still give price motivated consumers a promotional reason to buy their product. Coupons have become the path of least resistance and greatest motivation in a market place full of easily duplicated products.

I could buy that these are tactics to gain share, but in 2009 these were tactics of survival - and not cunning plans for brand domination.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

90s Are Back

At least in waist-lines.

Apparently the combination of eating out less and fewer dollars to spend has reduced American obesity to the levels of 1999. See the Wall Street Journal for info.

The Next Decade...

I was recently asked by an industry group to provide a perspective on successful beverage innovation and the future of beverages... Here is the paper I gave.