Zevia CEO talks rebrand, the “rising tide” for sugar-free sodas

By Ryan Daily

- Last updated on GMT

Image Credit: Zevia
Image Credit: Zevia

Related tags Zevia carbonated soft drinks Stevia sugar reduction

Natural soda brand Zevia is sweetening its branding with a new look as it aims to boost its household penetration and eliminate plastic from its supply chain, company CEO Amy Taylor told FoodNavigator-USA.

Featured at its booth at Natural Products Expo West, Zevia’s new look features​ a "bold, leafy new logo that has its roots in [Zevia's] plant-based ingredients,​" and the pack designs feature a "contemporary clean colorway ... [that's] more modern and premium but accessible​," Taylor noted. The rebrand is currently rolling at select retailers this month, starting first with its Creamy Root Beer flavor in a six-pack format, and will expand to more retailers and beverages this summer, Taylor said.

With the rebrand, Zevia hopes to “bring new consumers into the franchise through that new look and feel,​” expanding its household penetration in the process with the help of multi-pack offerings, Taylor said. Zevia now sees "more than 50% of its business is eight packs and above now,” and the brand has increased household penetration "with limited marketing spend; 28% in the last 12 months,​" she added.

Zevia is communicating this rebrand with its "core consumer, digitally [through] email and social, to let them know this is coming and ... bringing them along the journey,​" Taylor said. To ease into the transition, Zevia will not be “doing a hard cutover and pulling existing Zevia off shelf,​" and it is keeping an eye on its P&L metric as it makes the change, she added. 

No-sugar soda category heats up

As Zevia rolls out its rebrand, many large soda brands are retooling their portfolios around zero sugar. PepsiCo recently reformulated its Zero Sugar product to compete with Coca-Cola Zero Sugar​. From her vantage point, Taylor sees the activity around zero-sugar sodas as “a rising tide floats all boats.”

One universal truth that we see that … we believe is a real sea change and not a fad or trend is the move away from sugar, and it's across generations.​”

Looking at the large brands like PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, “their growth is coming from zero [sugar] and diet,​” with “boomers and maybe a little bit of Gen X coming back to the carbonated soft drink aisle,​” Taylor said. Additionally, young consumers are turning to the low-sugar category, but they are also looking for products without artificial ingredients and reading ingredient labels more closely, she noted.

Cutting plastic out of its supply chain

While Zevia will continue to work on taking “metric tons of sugar out of the diets of the communities​” it serves, the brand also is removing plastic throughout its supply chain, which includes phasing out its 6-pack plastic rings for recyclable cardboard packaging, Taylor said.

Zevia has actually never sold a plastic bottle, and we continue to... take plastic out of the supply chain altogether. And honestly, ultimately, what I hope is that we can make it socially unacceptable to produce a plastic bottle and socially unacceptable to walk down the street carrying one.​”

Not only is plastic pollution a major environmental issue, but "it takes 10 times the amount of water in a plastic bottle to produce said plastic bottle,​" in comparison to metal cans, Taylor said. On the topic of water stewardship, stevia takes "1/10 of the water of cane sugar to produce agriculturally,​" she added. 

"Our marketing messaging is all about taste ... and no sugar. But then behind the scenes, there's a real lens on how do we do this in a way that's best for the planet and how do we challenge other players in the industry to do the same.​"

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