Founded in 2010, Austin-based Chameleon is now the top organic cold brew brand in the US, and one of the top three refrigerated cold brew brands in the US.
It was named as one of the top 25 most innovative brands by CircleUp last year, as well as one of the top 10 F&B companies in Inc. magazine’s 2016 list of the fastest-growing US companies.
Chameleon’s portfolio includes multi-serve concentrates and single-serve RTD products - two segments that account for 18% of the $2.5bn in-home coffee category.
Its products – which also include kegs, cold brew kits and whole bean coffee – are distributed nationally in retailers including Whole Foods, Target, Safeway, Albertson’s and Bed, Bath and Beyond.
The acquisition will allow Nestlé to expand in the growing cold-brew coffee category; while providing Chameleon with a bigger platform for its products.
Cold brew coffee craze
Offering consumers a premium, less bitter take on coffee, the cold brew category has gathered traction in recent years.
In the 12 months ending February 2017, sales were up some 80% on the previous year, according to StudyLogic.
'Cold brew' refers to coffee prepared by the process of steeping coffee grounds in room temperature or cold water for an extended period of time. Chameleon soaks its beans in Texas Hill Country water for 16 hours, for a ‘super-smooth, less acidic and highly caffeinated’ coffee that can be served hot or cold.
The brand also prides itself on ‘a conscious approach to bean sourcing, inventive roasting, and meticulous brewing’: with Chameleon using organic, non-GMO beans from farmers who are encouraged to use ecological innovations and provide workers with insurance and other benefits.
“Chameleon has been extremely fortunate to grow from our hometown base of cold-brew lovers in Austin to a national brand in just a few short years,” said Chris Campbell, co-founder and CEO of Chameleon.
“Partnering with a world-class company like Nestlé will give us the opportunity to do so on a bigger platform. Our shared values around product integrity and commitment to sustainability made Nestlé the best choice to enable Chameleon Cold-Brew to accomplish our goals for the future.”
Nestlé's coffee strategy
Nestlé is the world's largest coffee producer, and its brands in the US include Nespresso, Nescafe, Dolce Gusto and Coffee-Mate. In September this year it acquired a majority stake in Blue Bottle Coffee, a high-end specialty coffee roaster and retailer based in Oakland, California.
“The Chameleon brand is perfectly positioned to support Nestlé’s strategy for coffee, which is to have a variety of offerings in terms of format, taste and price points,” said Paul Grimwood, Chairman and CEO of Nestlé USA.
“We believe this relationship will benefit both of us as we expand our access to the emerging cold brew category while helping Chameleon grow so that more people can enjoy its delicious, premium crafted coffee.”
Pictures: Chameleon/Nestle; and istock/sumnersgraphicsinc