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Coke takes first US dairy steps with ‘next generation’ beverage brand

By Ben Bouckley , 21-Jun-2012
Last updated on 22-Jun-2012 at 18:01 GMT

The Coca-Cola Company has confirmed to BeverageDaily.com that it has signed a deal to distribute dairy-based sports recovery beverage Core Power as it targets early stage growth in an ‘exciting’ category.

Core Power (pictured) is marketed as a post-exercise recovery shake – using a patented filtration process to remove lactose it contains 26g per 11.5oz (340ml) bottle of concentrated whey and casein proteins – and Coca-Cola will start delivering it to stores from July across Arizona, Illinois and Indiana.

Company spokeswoman Kerry Tressler confirmed the deal, but said that – since high protein, monk fruit sweetened beverage Core Power was a Fair Oaks Farm brand – further questions should be directed to the Chicago co-operative.

She did not comment on questions asking whether Coke saw dairy-based beverages as a promising US market opportunity, or if there were any plans to acquire Core Power or even launch a similar Powerade line extension.

Instead she referred us to a statement from Julie Francis, chief commercial officer for Coca-Cola Refreshments, who said the firm was lending its “distribution and marketing expertise to help deliver new Core Power to consumers”.

This was another means of providing customers and consumers with additional beverage choices, Francis added.

Deryck van Rensburg, president of Coca-Cola North America Venturing and Emerging Brands (VEB), said: "This new brand is part of an exciting category for consumers and retailers that is still in the early stage of its growth potential."

Van Rensburg said he viewed the tie-up as another example of how the Coca-Cola system could participate in the development of the next “generation of beverage brands”.

A Core Power spokesman told BeverageDaily.com that the brand was "pretty excited" by the Coca-Cola deal.

By staking out new sports performance territory, and moving beyond juice, waters and soda to US dairy involvement for the first time, speculation will rise that Coke is looking to rival PepsiCo’s market leading Gatorade brand.

Gatorade grew 8% by value, in the US single-serve, small package business, in the year to June 3, according to Symphony IRI data; Coke is also seeking to counter US soda volume declines by exploiting lucrative new beverage categories.

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