‘We’re trying to disrupt categories that we go into’: Nestlé turns Outshine fruit bars into coconut water

By Beth Newhart

- Last updated on GMT

Coconut water, canned coffee, flavored milk and protein drinks were all featured at the NACS show from Nestlé USA.
Coconut water, canned coffee, flavored milk and protein drinks were all featured at the NACS show from Nestlé USA.

Related tags Protein Nestlé Cold brew coffee Milk Coconut water NACS

After years of success with Outshine frozen fruit bars, Nestlé USA is crossing categories with its new coconut water beverages. It rounds out its c-store portfolio, all on display at the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) show in Atlanta last week.

The Outshine brand boasts 12 varieties of frozen fruit bars, as well as yogurt, fruit and cream, half dipped and kids bars. Now parent company Nestlé has developed a new coconut water-based line of Outshine beverages, expected to hit shelves in January 2020.

Blueberry Lemon, Strawberry Watermelon and Tropical Fruits were formulated to have all the benefits of coconut water without the polarizing taste, according to Leo Aizpuru, general manager of RTD beverages at Nestlé USA.

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​[Outshine] is known for its fruit equity, so we thought, how do we take that equity and put it into a ready-to-drink format in a way that makes sense for consumers?”​ he told BeverageDaily.

Coconut water divides consumers on taste, and the representation of flavored options is still growing. Nestlé calls it a fruit enhanced, healthy refreshment that doesn’t taste like coconut water. Each 16.9oz bottle contains 50 calories, 0g of added sugar and no added sweetener.

Aizpuru noted that it should appeal to health-conscious consumers because of its natural electrolytes, and that it’s made only from fruit puree and coconut water. He said it was a natural progression for Nestlé to leverage its existing Outshine brand into coconut waters, rather than acquiring another brand or building one from scratch.

“We saw this really cool space, and we’re trying to disrupt categories that we go into. In this category, we ​[saw] the one thing that’s missing in there, that fruit and taste equity,”​ Aizpuru said.

A total beverage portfolio for c-stores

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Also featured at the NACS show were Nestlé's latest innovations in coffee, milk and protein drinks. Acquired by Nestlé in 2017, Chameleon Cold Brew is expanding its presence into the convenience channel with shelf stable coffees and lattes.

“We took our sweet time to develop a product that has the exact same taste as a refrigerated concentrate, except in a shelf stable format. This is the fruit of that labor,”​ Aizpuru said.

Four new varieties are now available in 8oz cans specifically for c-stores--Original Smooth Black Coffee, Churro Smooth Black Coffee, Original Whole Milk Latte and Cinnamon Dolce Whole Milk Latte. There will also be a few more launching exclusively at Whole Foods.

Jacked Rabbit is a new high-protein product from the Nesquik family with a unique backstory. Nestlé launched an internal contest for its employees to pitch their ideal product, and a body-building financial analyst wanted to develop a better athletic beverage.

Mark Suslik’s pitch said he wanted his protein drinks to taste like Nesquik, and he came up with the Jacked Rabbit name, packaging and formula. He is now the CEO of the brand, which had its initial launch in Florida in August.

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Available in Chocolate and Vanilla, each drink contains between 180-190 calories, 38g of whey isolate protein and less than 1g of sugar. Nestlé thinks its has a big opportunity in the protein drink category to be a better-tasting option attached to a well-known brand mascot.

Earlier this year, Nestlé partnered with Mars Wrigley for two milks modeled after Snickers and Twix candy bars, which now have national distribution in c-stores. The indulgent milks contain caramel, chocolate and nutty flavors with 14g of protein per 14oz bottle.

“We’re all about what you need. You want to get energized, or you want something with no sugar, a little bit of sugar or a lot of sugar? We’ve got it all,”​ Aizpuru said.

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