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Over 110 non-alcoholic beverage brands, which include many globally recognised brands, have active sponsorship deals in place with sports properties based mainly in the US. Many of these deals are title or main sponsorship deals, which allow brands to receive substantial brand exposure opportunities, often from sports properties that have substantial global fanbases. With many of the deals being highly lucrative, eight non-alcoholic beverage deals are worth over USD 10 million annually. PepsiCo is the biggest spending brand in the Americas region, with an estimated expenditure of USD 322.96 million, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

GlobalData’s latest report “Americas Non-Alcoholic Beverages Sports Sponsorship Landscape,” estimates that the American multinational food, snack, and beverage corporation PepsiCo has 55 deals in place, which are worth USD 1 million or more annually. In 2023, over USD 100 million is being invested by PepsiCo in team deals, which include many NFL teams such as the New England Patriots, Washington Commanders, and Miami Dolphins.

PepsiCo’s biggest competitor in the sector is Coca-Cola. In 2023, Coca-Cola is estimated to spend close to USD 277 million on sponsorship deals across the Americas region, according to GlobalData. The brand’s biggest annual deal in the region is with US Soccer. The current five-year agreement between the two parties is estimated to be worth USD 100 million.

Tom Subak-Sharpe, Sport Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “It is not surprising that PepsiCo and Coca-Cola dominate the region of all the competing non-alcoholic beverage brands due to the vast amounts of funding that these two powerhouse organisations have to spend on developing their sponsorship portfolios.”

In 2024, it is unlikely that any other non-alcoholic beverage brands will come close to competing with these two brands. However, a brand to keep an eye on who may increase their sponsorship spend and deal volume count is PRIME, the brand that is currently serving as the official sports drink of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Subak-Sharpe concludes: “The meteoric growth experienced by PRIME in 2023 may allow the brand to invest more finances into securing more sponsorship deals with globally recognised sports properties based in the Americas region.

Today, Lucas Bols N.V. and De Kuyper Royal Distillers, two leading global cocktail spirits companies, and Refresco Group B.V. announce that they have entered into an agreement in which alcoholic beverage manufacturer Avandis will be acquired by Refresco. As part of the agreement, Lucas Bols and De Kuyper have entered into a long-term manufacturing contract with Refresco. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and to a Works’ Council consultation process.

Avandis, a 50/50 joint venture of Lucas Bols and De Kuyper, is a leading beverage manufacturer based in Zoetermeer, the Netherlands. They have one of Europe’s most advanced bottling facilities for distilled beverages. Avandis provides a wide range of contract manufacturing solutions to brand owners in the alcohol category. Refresco fully supports Avandis’ growth strategy.

Transaction highlights

  • The transaction includes a long-term contract manufacturing agreement with both Lucas Bols and De Kuyper, allowing Refresco to invest and expand the business
  • The purchase price for 100 % of the shares in Avandis amounts to EUR 25 million, to be adjusted for Avandis’ net debt position (31 March 2022: EUR 15 million) and any working capital adjustments, both as at completion date
  • This transaction is subject to regulatory approval and the consultation process with the respective Works Councils
  • Pending approval and Works’ Council processes, completion is expected by the end of 2022

The fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector has undergone a significant transformation over the past decade and it continues to evolve.

Sumit Chopra, Consumer Research Director at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, highlights top five innovation trends that are going to impact the production, marketing and sales of consumer goods in Asia-Pacific (APAC) in 2019.

Fat gets thumbs up

“The consumer sentiment towards fats is evolving. Perceptions such as ‘Not all fat is bad’ and ‘fat is prosperity’ have started picking up in recent years. In an era of personalized nutrition, interest in specialty diet trends such as Keto, Paleo or Whole30 will continue to grow as consumers are questioning the role of sugar weight management, thus, adding more protein and fats to their diets. As specialty diets which rely more on fats move into mainstream, food and beverage makers are capitalizing on the opportunity to deliver low-carb and high-fat products. Buoyed by the unexpected success of high-fat, moderate protein and low-carb keto diet, companies such as US-based Just Inc are exploring Asia’s market to launch their products.

‘Better-for-you’ alcoholic beverages

“Consumers are gravitating towards lighter, less caloric, flavored alcoholic drinks, creating opportunities for manufacturers. Liquor manufacturers are paying close attention to nutrients, calorie counts and healthful ingredients while incorporating ‘better for you’ ingredients such as fruit juice, water and tea. The ‘better-for-you’ alcohol trend is graduating from niche status to a broader market sufficient in size and scope to interest alcohol manufacturers at the global level. Manufacturers in APAC are already keeping a close eye on this space. The Cannabis Co launched The Myrcene Hemp Gin, claimed to be the world’s first cannabis-infused gin that has value as a ‘dietary health and wellness supplement’ in Australia. In the first phase of ‘better-for-you’ alcoholic beverage revolution, we will see alcohol companies find even more ingenious ways to reach out to health-oriented consumers and more product launches in the flavored alcohol category are expected this year.”

360-degree wellness

“According to GlobalData’s 2018 Q3 Consumer Survey, 64 % of consumers in APAC are always or often influenced by how a product impacts their health & wellbeing while making their food choices. Against this back drop, FMCG companies will map out the wellness considerations for the products they offer and position them positive to consumers of all ages to leverage on growing consumer interest in healthy eating, local flavors, and personalization. In the wake of the health & wellness trend, Nestle forayed into the breakfast cereal category with Nesplus to offer healthy breakfast options to Indian consumers. In the non-alcoholic beverage category, Kombucha, turmeric latte or kefir will remain very much on-trend to attract interest from major soft drink manufacturers.

Changing regulatory landscape

“FMCG companies need to be ready for the likelihood of increased regulation of specific products, markets and packaging as governments across the world are exercising more power, particularly around issues such as obesity, consumer welfare and plastic pollution. The Indian government is exploring frameworks to ensure GST rate cut benefits to reach consumers along with proposing new packaged food labeling rules while food and beverage manufacturers in China are required to use a new set of quality and safety standards and have a food production license for all food categories.

Halo effect of plants

“Plant-based ingredients are seen as safer, more natural and better for the environment than ingredients from other sources. As a result, FMCG companies in Asia are beginning to add plant-based ingredients to their products, rebranding them as sustainable and environmentally friendly. Unilever’s move to launch vegan ice-cream in New Zealand under its Magnum brand is an example of major companies getting creative with iconic food ingredients in the region. We will be seeing more launches similar to PepsiCo India’s new packaging format made from 100 % compostable plant-based material for Lay’s and Kurkure snacks products. FMCG non-food makers are also turning to plant-based ingredients.”

From dating through apps and online shopping to working from home, it seems Millennials prefer to do nearly everything from the comfort of their couch—and now socializing is best done from home for this generation, as well. New research from Mintel reveals that almost three in ten (28 %) Younger Millennials (aged 24-31) drink at home because they believe ‘it takes too much effort to go out.’

But while going out is proving to be too much effort for young Americans, the country’s older consumers are willing to make the time as just 15 % of Baby Boomers (aged 54-72) agree it takes too much effort to drink away from home.

Overall, more than half (55 %) of American consumers prefer drinking at home. In fact, it seems the at-home drinking trend is catching on as on-premise alcohol drinkers are more likely to say they are drinking alcoholic beverages away from home less often (18 %) in 2018 than they did a year ago, than to say they are drinking away from home more often (15 %), with Younger Millennials most likely to agree (29 % drinking away from home less vs 17 % more). In addition to being perceived as more relaxing (74 %), cheaper (69 %) and personal (35 %), nearly two in five (38 %) in-home drinkers are choosing to drink at home in order to better control their alcohol intake.

“While Americans enjoy going out for a drink now and then, our research shows that the majority of consumers say they prefer drinking at home. Today, Millennials are currently leading the way when it comes to socializing in the home, but the preference for at-home drinking will likely be even greater among the up-and-coming iGeneration, who are generally regarded as more frugal and pragmatic than Millennials. Bars and restaurants must work harder than ever to provide customers with a unique drinking experience. For example, an ‘Instagramable’ pop culture pop-up bar offers an experience that can’t be replicated from consumers’ living rooms,” said Caleb Bryant, Senior Foodservice Analyst at Mintel.

Premiumization boosts sales; wine grows on menus

On-premise alcohol sales continue to rise, reaching an estimated $108 billion in 2017. But it seems less is more for consumers when it comes to ‘trading up’ for pricier drinks as on-premise alcohol volume consumption has fallen year-over-year. On-premise alcohol consumption is estimated to fall to 17.8 liters per capita in 2017, compared to an average of 20.9 liters in 2010, according to Mintel Market Sizes.

Where consumers are drinking is also changing as traditional bars have seen a drop in visitation. Overall, those who drink alcoholic beverages away from home are more likely to say they’re visiting drink-focused venues less often compared to a year ago. This includes bars in general (20 % less vs 10 % more), nightclubs (17 % less vs 7 % more) and sports bars (17 % less vs 10 % more).

Meanwhile, venues that offer more unique experiences are winning over consumers as many who drink away from home say they are visiting breweries (19 %), entertainment venues (14 %) and independent restaurants (13 %) more often in 2018. What’s more, trying out new drinks (49 %) is the number one reason why those who are drinking away from home more often say they are doing so and 22 % agree that more bars should offer activities such as trivia and darts.

Restaurants and bars are helping consumers get more adventurous with their drink choices through new, innovative offerings. According to Mintel Menu Insights, the amount of cocktails on menus across the US increased 15 % between Q4 2015-Q4 2017, with wine in particular presenting an opportunity as a versatile cocktail ingredient. Wine is by far and away the most common alcoholic beverage on menus, representing 39 % of all alcoholic beverages offered on menus today, and is now more often being used in cocktails. In fact, the inclusion of wine in cocktails showed the strongest growth of any alcohol type in the last two years, growing 20 % between Q4 2015-Q4 2017.

“Despite falling volume consumption, total on-premise alcohol sales are rising, indicating that while consumers are drinking less, they are trading up for more expensive drinks. Our research shows that consumers are ordering imported and craft beer over light beer, and premium spirits are growing more popular than value spirits. Looking ahead, drink variety will build consumer excitement at bars and restaurants, while currently trendy drinks such as sparkling wine and rosé will continue to be a popular option for both special and casual drinking occasions. Millennials enjoy experimenting with new drinks on-premise, with this adventurous behavior indicating an opportunity for foodservice retailers to innovate their drink menus and create better experiences to further encourage consumers to drink more away from home,” concluded Bryant.