Beverage Bites: news up to February 12, 2015

Coca-Cola and milk, stevia without the plant and more beverage bites

By Rachel Arthur contact

- Last updated on GMT

Stevia - without the stevia plants?
Stevia - without the stevia plants?

Related tags: Stevia

A feast of financial results from some of the industry’s big players (Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Crown Holdings, Pernod Ricard, and Heineken); a potential shake up in beverage can manufacturing; and stevia from fermentation technology: some of the nuggets of news in this week’s ‘Beverage Bites’ feature. 

Coca-Cola and PepsiCo eye up 2015

Coca-Cola and PepsiCo both defied analyst expectations as they released their FY2014 results this week, with better than expected figures. However, the beverage giants see challenges for 2015, including economic downturns and political disruption. Read the results for Coca-Cola here​ and PepsiCo here​.

Meanwhile, Coca-Cola has set its eyes on a new category: milk. Fairlife CEO Steve Jones says the white stuff has been lacking innovation: the new premium brand will boast high protein and calcium content, zero lactose, 50% less sugar, and an extended shelf life. As to whether it will be a success – Jones says consumers want the added value​.  

Ball, Rexam, and Crown: the latest in beverage can manufacturing

A £4.3bn ($6.6bn) deal could see two of the world’s largest beverage can manufacturers combine. Ball Corporation (headquartered in the US) is in talks to buy UK rival Rexam​. 

Meanwhile, Crown Holdings – the third largest beverage can manufacturer behind Rexam and Ball – posted its FY2014 results. Net sales grew to $9.1bn in 2014, compared to $8.7bn in 2013 (each period ending December 31). Crown says this is thanks mainly to its Mivisa acquisition and increased global beverage can volumes.

fairlife 2
Fairlife chocolate milk

Stevia without the stevia plant

Steviol glycosides (the compounds responsible for giving stevia leaves their sweet taste) could be derived via fermentation, without the need for stevia plants.

On Monday, Swiss firm Evolva Holding SA announced it expects to launch such stevia sweeteners next year.

Stevia can be used in beverages as a replacement for sugar. Evolva and agri-giant Cargill have been working together on fermentation technologies since filing a patent for the technology in 2013.

The technology could mean production of better tasting, low-cost steviol glycosides – including rebaudioside D and rebaudioside M - which are not commercially viable at the moment because they are only present in leaves in very low concentrations.

Whisky, champagne, and beer

Pernod Ricard noted a gradual improvement as it announced its half year 2014-15 sales and results today (Thursday 12). Sales for the period totalled €4.62bn ($5.24bn), with organic sales growth up 1%. The company says growth was powered by whiskies (in particular Jameson, The Glenlivet, Ballantine’s, and Indian whiskies) and champagnes (Mumm and Perrier-Jouët).

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Foster's Radler - 2% ABV

Meanwhile, Heineken is turning to products with a low ABV - it released its FY2014 results yesterday​.

And finally… forget the gym, burn fat with wine

Wine could help you burn fat better​, according to researchers in the US.

They studied the effect of ellagic acid – as found in muscadine grapes – on fat cells. In their study, ellagic acid dramatically slowed the growth of fat cells, and delayed new ones from growing.

Muscadine grapes have already gained plenty of attention from scientists: they also contain resveratrol, which has been earmarked as an agent which lowers cholesterol and coronary heart disease risk. 

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