LAS VEGAS and MYRTLE BEACH, SC - The American public's enthusiasm for cold beverages shows no sign of diminishing, nor does its desire for greater choice. Vending operators are responding by stocking an ever-wider range of categories, styles and flavors to accommodate this patron demand.
For this reason, packaged cold drinks were a prime attraction at this year's National Automatic Merchandising Association Spring Expo in Las Vegas, and at the Atlantic Coast Exposition, cosponsored by the North Carolina Vending Association, South Carolina Automatic Merchandising Association and Virginia Automatic Merchandising Association, in Myrtle Beach, SC two weeks later.
From soft drinks and sport drinks to juices, waters and ready-to-drink iced teas, innovative new flavors, unique packaging and nutritionally and herbally enhanced products abounded at both expositions. Here's a sampling of the profusion of cold beverages on display.
Atlanta Coffee & Tea unveiled "Teaze Iced Tea" in a variety of novel flavors for foodservice environments during the recent Atlantic Coast Exposition in Myrtle Beach. The fresh-brew iced tea is available in 20-count, gallon-size filter packs; 1.5-gallon filter packs; and three-gallon fraction packs.
Flavors include Raspberry, Mango, Peach, Strawberry Kiwi, Passion Berry, Black Currant, Key Lime, Classic and Decaffeinated.
For more information on "Teaze Iced Tea" and Atlanta Coffee & Tea's complete line of coffee and tea products, contact the company at (800) 428-4781; atlantacoffeeandtea.com.
B.L. Sizemore & Associates, Inc. showcased its "fountain BOB" technology, designed to deliver profitability within new and existing low-volume accounts by converting any fountain beverage system from free-pour to prepay. An acronym for "Bolt-On-Box," the fountain vending controller allows operators to capture retail sales for post-mix fountain dispensed beverages.
Utilizing MDB protocol, the "fountain BOB" technology allows fountain beverages to be dispensed utilizing domestic and international currencies, bill validators, and card readers (both magnetic stripe and smart cards), and is wireless compatible. "fountain BOB" operates effortlessly with all makes and models of countertop fountain beverage dispenser, and can be mounted on either the left or right side of the dispenser.
"fountain Bob" is ideal in any location in which a vending machine would be too large, in low-volume accounts and as a complement to coffee programs. It is also well-suited to catered events and other self-service beverage applications.
For more information, contact B.L. Sizemore & Associates, Inc., 1353 South Park Dr., P.O. Box 512, Kernersville, NC 27285-0512; tel. (877) GO BOB GO; www.blsizemore.com.
Campbell Soup Co. unveiled its new "Diet V8 Splash" in Berry Blend, Strawberry Kiwi and Tropical Blend varieties in 16-oz. and 32-oz. PET bottles during NAMA and ACE. The new diet drinks are sweetened with a Sucralose blend and contain only 10 calories per 8-oz. serving. Like its regular counterpart, "V8 Splash," the diet line provides 100 percent RDA of Vitamins A and C.
For more information, contact Campbell Soup Co., 1 Campbell Pl., Camden, NJ 08103; tel. (856) 342-3592.
Certes Corp. showcased its "Nature's Beverage" all-natural, certified Sierra-Nevada alpine water during NAMA Spring Expo. Certes' patented PET "Un-Can" is designed with the same dimensions as 12-oz. aluminum cans and virtually eliminates jamming, crushing and leaking often associated with conventional containers. "Un-Cans" are certified for use by Dixie-Narco.
The large-mouth bottle and resealable cap with tamper-evident seal add to consumer appeal.
Certes Corp. can be reached at tel. (888) 245-0801.
For The Coca-Cola Co., the spring vending shows marked the rollout of "Minute Maid" Lemonade and Fruit Punch in three new easy-to-handle packages that can be stored without refrigeration. Made with real fruit juice, "Minute Maid" Lemonade and Fruit Punch are now available nationwide in shelf-stable 20-oz. single serve plastic bottles, 12-oz. cans, and two-liter multi-serve plastic bottles.
The company debuted 20-oz. PET "Nestea" iced tea in two new flavored varieties , "Raspberry Cooler" and "Peach Frrreezer" , during NAMA and ACE.
Coca-Cola also showcased its recently acquired "Planet Java" line of chilled coffee beverages in three varieties , Javadelic, Caramocha, and Tremble.
For more information, contact Coca-Cola, P.O. Box 1734, Atlanta, GA 30301; tel. (404) 676-2121.
Dean Foods drew crowds of operators to its NAMA Spring Expo booth, where the company exhibited its popular "Chugs" milk line in colorful, resealable plastic containers in a variety of novel flavors. The newest flavor additions to the line are Vanilla Shake, Mocha Milk and French Vanilla.
Dean also exhibited a new "Chugs"-filled Vendcraft machine with first-in, first-out loading, and new Automated Merchandising Systems "Milk Machine" spiral beverage vender, both of which are equipped with health safety meters for milk vending. Dean's is field testing the first 10 production models of each equipment line.
The company has revamped its all-natural line of "Swiss" drinks, packed in same bottles as "Chugs" and designed to be co-merchandised with the milks, with new labels and the addition of Green Tea with Ginseng and will kick off a marketing campaign to launch the brand.
For more information contact Dean Foods, 10255 West Higgins Rd., Suite 500, Rosemont, IL 60018; tel. (847) 699-8310; www.deanadvantage.com.
Hansen Beverage Co. showcased a diverse beverage lineup at the NAMA Spring Expo, including "All-Natural Hansen's Healthy Start Super Juice." Fortified with essential vitamins and minerals, the 12-oz. line includes "Tropical Orange Vitamax," "Citrus Punch Focus," "Cranberry Grape Defense" and "Carrot Orange Antioxidant."
"Hansen's Functionals," in 8.2-oz. cans, are an innovative new family of drinks for health-conscious consumers of all ages, specially formulated to deliver a refreshing carbonated beverage, along with a specific functional benefit , "Energy," "Stamina," "Anti-Ox" and "D-Stress."
The company also showcased its unique shelf-stable "Hansen's Smoothies" in 11.5-oz. cans, in Strawberry Banana, Mango Pineapple, Pineapple Coconut, Guava Strawberry, Peach Berry, Tropical Passion, Apricot Nectar, Cranberry Raspberry Lite, and Energy Island Blast varieties.
Each variety is blended with natural fruit juice purees and other premium ingredients and provides 100 percent RDA of vitamins A, C, and E.
They're fat-free, cholesterol-free, do not contain preservatives, and require no refrigeration.
Hansen's also markets a wide array of "Hansen's Natural Sodas" in 11.5-oz. cans with unique flavors such as Vanilla Cola, Mandarin Lime and Orange Mango. Also available are "Hansen's" juice drinks and iced teas in 16-oz. bottles.
In the snack category, Hansen's complements it health-oriented beverages with "Hansen's Functional Bars" line of meal replacement snack bars, with only 190 calories and 26 essential key vitamins and minerals, including Be-Well Bar, Energy Bar, Active Bar and Slim Down Bar.
Contact Hansen Beverage Co., 1010 Railroad St., Corona, CA 92882; tel. (800) HAN-SENS; or visit Hansen's website, www.hansens.com.
NestlĂ© has added extra calcium to its "Nesquik" ready-to-drink flavored milk varieties.
The new product now delivers 40 percent of the recommended daily value as opposed to the 25 percent that it previously contained. Available in chocolate, fat-free chocolate, strawberry and banana, the new and improved "Nesquik" is available nationally.
According to NestlĂ©, "Nesquik" is targeted toward active teens and young adults (ages 12-24), who are constantly on the go and heavily drawn to high-energy adventure sports, and single-serve "Nesquik" provides a convenient, easy-to-gulp bottle design.
The new fortified product is available in 16-oz. and 32-oz. resealable bottles, which now deliver a 90-day extended shelf life. According to NestlĂ©, the 16-oz. ESL flavors that were introduced in April 1999 continue to perform exceptionally well and have significantly contributed to the growth of the ready-to-drink category.
A.C. Nielsen scantrack data shows that in markets where the 16-oz. ESL bottle has launched, "Nesquik" sales have increased 111 percent, while at the same time increasing the category of 16-oz. flavored milk by 43 percent.
For more information, contact NestlĂ© Food Services at (818) 549-6000 or visit http://www.nestlĂ©usa.com.
Pepsi-Cola Co. premiered "Mountain Dew Code Red" during the Atlantic Coast Exposition. It's formulated with the same signature citrus "Mountain Dew" flavor, with a smooth rush of cherry flavor and a striking new look.
"Mountain Dew Code Red" will be available initially in single-serve 20-oz. and one-liter PET containers. Label graphics feature the unmistakable "Mountain Dew" logo on a bright red swirl background.
"Code Red" is "Mountain Dew's" first line extension since the introduction of Diet Mountain Dew in 1988.
Pepsi also showcased, for the first time since its acquisition of South Beach Beverage Co., the SoBe alternative beverage family, enhanced with vitamins and herbs, including 20-oz. "3G Teas," "3C Elixirs," and "Powerline," "Enlightenment" and "Lizard Line" products.
Pepsi also spotlighted its new "Pepsi High Visibility Vendor," available from Vendo or Dixie-Narco, designed to bring the features of a retail visi-cooler to a vending machine, making it easy for consumers to identify available brands, simple for them to retrieve a beverage and fun and entertaining for them to use. Nearly life-size select buttons display the variety of products in the machine, conveying brand name, package, size (12-oz. cans, 16-oz. glass or 20-oz. PET), price and stock status. The machine features a large, centered transaction area, with improved, easy-access delivery port and state of the art anti-vandalism design with remote-controlled keyless access.
Find out more from Pepsi-Cola Co., 700 Anderson Hill Rd., Purchase, NY 10577; tel. (914) 253-2544; www.pepsi.com.
Quaker Oats/Gatorade introduced ACE showgoers to its new "Gatorade" Passion Fruit and Starfruit tropical fruit flavors and "Gatorade Frost" High Tide, a light, crisp blend of tropical and citrus fruit flavors, bringing the total number of Gatorade flavors to 18.
Starfruit and Passion Fruit are available in the company's new E.D.G.E. (Ergonomically Designed Gatorade Experience) sport bottles which make it easier for athletes to drink in active situations, featuring squeezable grip zone and a mouthpiece shaped to precisely fit consumers' lips. The E.D.G.E. bottle can open and close with a simple twist.
Details are available from Quaker Oats/Gatorade, 515 W. Main St., Barrington, IL 60010; tel. (847) 842-4644; http://www.gatorade.com.
Shasta Sales Inc. shone the spotlight on its 16-oz. "VooDoo Rain" herbally enhanced beverages during the Atlantic Coast Exposition. Each of the line's five flavors offers unique benefits for body and mind: Mojo Luv Tropical Passion Punch; Jungle Ice Berry Endurance Drink; Brain Broo Orange Think Drink; Firefly Buzz Citrus Energy Drink; and Purple Haze Herbal Grape Drink.
Shasta also showcased its "Clear Fruit" sweetened, non-carbonated water with the flavors of real fruit. Orange Mango; Blackberry Rush; Strawberry Watermelon; Cherry Blast; Peach Fling; Fruit Punch; and Lemonade Twist are available in attractive resealable 20-oz. PET containers.
The company's "Everfresh" juices and juice drinks are available in 10 popular flavors in 11.5-oz. cans; and 25 varieties of 12-oz. "Shasta" regular and diet soft drinks are offered.
Contact Shasta Sales, Inc., 1343 Garner Lane, Suite 105, Columbia, SC 29210; tel. (803) 750-9244, fax (803) 750-9248.
Snapple Beverage Group made a splash at the Atlantic Coast Exposition with its new 20-oz. PET bottles of its most popular core "Snapple" flavors: Lemon Iced Tea, Raspberry Iced Tea, Peach Iced Tea, Kiwi Strawberry, Fruit Punch and Mango Madness. Attractive new vending machine fronts are available for maximum merchandising appeal.
Contact Snapple from more information at 709 Westchester Ave., White Plains, NY 10604; tel. (914) 397-9254; http://www.snapple.com.
Tropicana unveiled three new "Twister" varieties during the Atlantic Coast Exposition. Joining the popular 20-oz. PET fruit drink line are Blue Raspberry Rush, fortified with 100 percent RDA of Vitamin B6; and Passion Fruit Eruption and White Grape Kiwi, both fortified with 100 percent RDA of Vitamin C. The three new flavors feature a new label design that combines inviting fruit graphics with a refreshing "Twister" swirl.
Details can be had from Tropicana at 1001 13th Ave. E., Bradenton, FL 34208; tel. (941) 747-4461; www.tropicana.com.
Veryfine representatives met with Atlantic Coast Exposition showgoers to discuss advantages of placing dedicated eight-select Dixie-Narco Veryfine water vender, merchandised exclusively with combination of 16-oz. PET "Fruit20" zero-calorie, flavored waters and "Veryfine Balsams Springs" bottled spring water.
Machines feature striking "Fruit2O" graphics, and Veryfine is offering the vending machines on loan to operators who fulfill minimum case requirements.
Veryfine can also assist operators who wish to convert existing can vending machines to merchandise "Fruit2O" and "Veryfine Balsams Springs" bottles.
The company has a wide range of vending machines available for merchandising its full line of fruit juices and drinks, with bold branding and inviting graphics, in addition to glass door merchandisers and counter coolers.
Veryfine also rolled out its "Fruit2O Plus" at the spring shows, including vitamin and herb-fortified Tropical Immunity, Citrus Energy Boost, and Berry Relaxing, all of which are calorie-free and packaged in blue-tinted clear bottles. The company promoted its new Healthy Solutions line, featuring 100 percent juice in 16-oz. bottles, also fortified with vitamins, minerals and herbs in Tropical Orange (energy), Blackberry Raspberry (relaxation), Kiwi Strawberry (focus) and Citrus Twist (immunity).
Also new is Veryfine's nectar beverage family, with bilingual label and colorful fruit graphics, targeting the Hispanic population. The line includes 10-oz. Guava Nectar, Apricot Nectar, Pear Nectar and Peach Nectar.
More information can be had from Veryfine, 210 Littleton Rd., P.O. Box 670, Westford, MA 01886-0670; http://www.veryfine.com.