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The Danish aroma company, EvodiaBio, secured 6.4 million dollars in a recent capital raise. Their goal is to become a global industry leader in sustainable aroma production for the food and beverage industry.

EvodiaBio recently introduced a ground-breaking technology platform that uses precision fermentation to produce sustainable aromas for the food and beverage industry. Now, the ambitious company has secured 45 million Danish kroner in additional funding, equaling approximately USD 6.4 million.

EvodiaBio, founded just one-and-a-half-years ago, received 14 million kroner in financial support from the BioInnovation Institute, a Danish accelerator funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation. The remaining 31 million kroner stem from several international industry players, including the German flavour house Symrise that steps in as strategic investor, and Nordic Foodtech VC is lead investor.

Jarne Elleholm, co-founder and chairman of EvodiaBio, sees the capital raise as a crucial step in reaching the company’s soaring ambitions. “Our vision is to create a sustainable, global company within the development, production, and commercialisation of natural aromatic substances and this funding is our opportunity to realise this vision. The funding was made possible by a strong support from the BioInnovation Institute and by the great progress we have made during our only one-and-a-half-year lifetime”, says Jarne Elleholm.

Non-alcoholic beer is the first segment that EvodiaBio will address, says Jarne Elleholm, as getting the taste of the beer right has been a major challenge for the brewing industry. The company’s newly developed aroma blend, called Yops, can improve the taste of non-alcoholic beer, and serves as a sustainable alternative to cultivated aroma hops. In the long term, the bio-industrial company will develop aromas for other beverages, perfume, and a range of other segments.

EvodiaBio’s monoterpenoid aromas are produced using yeast cells that secrete the individual aroma components and are then combined to mimic the aroma profiles of different hops. The result is a natural, pure, and sustainable product. The technology has been developed after years of research by the scientific co-founders, Prof. Sotirios Kampranis, Dr. Simon Dusséaux and Dr. Victor Forman. EvodiaBio’s approach surpasses all other methods and enables, for the first time, a cost-effective and sustainable biotechnological production of the volatile aroma molecules from hops. Using EvodiaBio’s solution, the brewer avoids depleting limited plant resources, while water and CO2 emissions are reduced by more than 90 percent.

Next step in EvodiaBio’s far-reaching plans is the establishment of the company’s own offices, laboratories, and pilot-production in Denmark. They are now preparing for the launch of Yops in 2023, where they also expect an increase in staff.

The team behind Schilling Cider, a leading cider producer in the Pacific Northwest in the US, announced the launch of Vida Maté, a new line of low-calorie, non-alcoholic yerba maté beverages that seek to transform the caffeine experience. Crafted to elevate the traditional South American “super beverage” with the craft quality of the Pacific Northwest, Vida Maté is made with real fruit juice and a proprietary blend of adaptogens. The result is a refreshing, delicious alternative to sugary coffee drinks and artificially flavoured caffeine-in-a-can. With operations based in Seattle and Portland, the Schilling team is excited to debut this new plant-powered pick-me-up, made exclusively with naturally occurring caffeine.

Vida Maté fits the gluten-free and vegan-friendly lifestyle, offering a boost in vitality and focus through a functional blend of adaptogens: Vitamin B12 for a power boost, L-Theanine for focus, and GABA for stress relief combine to ensure a clean, jitter-free delivery of caffeine with no unpleasant crashes.

Launching with three flavours – Lemon Mint, Mango Lime, and Blackberry Lemonade – Vida Maté is available in 16 oz. cans at thousands of grocery, convenience, and natural food stores across the Pacific Northwest, since March 1, 2022.

“Innovating in healthful, refreshing beverages is our calling,” says Colin Schilling, CEO and co-Founder of Schilling Cider. “This starts with the same quality and techniques we bring to crafting our fresh-pressed apple cider. It’s exciting to push those boundaries into the yerba maté segment. Consumers are demanding delicious, healthier options made right here in their backyard, and we can’t wait to share Vida Maté with our community.”

While other canned yerba maté drinks depend on a formula that involves non-yerba maté derived and synthetically produced caffeine, Vida Maté’s caffeine occurs naturally and comes 100 % from yerba maté. And because Vida Maté is made from real fruit juice, it’s not overly sweet and it’s lower in calories and sugar.

The team at Schilling has long enjoyed traditional yerba maté drinks, before launching their own. Yerba maté is a plant indigenous to South America. The leaves and twigs are dried, dried over a fire, and then steeped in hot water for an invigorating tea.

On 3 November 2020, Coca-Cola European Partners announced it has entered into binding agreements to acquire Coca-Cola Amatil Limited (CCL), one of the largest bottlers and distributors of ready-to-drink non alcoholic and alcoholic beverages and coffee in the Asia Pacific region.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to bring together two of the world’s best bottlers to drive faster and more sustainable growth. Since the creation of CCEP four years ago, we have proven our ability to create value through expansion and integration. Now is the right time to move forward by taking on these great franchises and markets.

“The strategic rationale behind this transaction is compelling, solidifying our position as the largest Coca-Cola bottler by revenue. I am eager to apply our proven formula in Western Europe to Coca-Cola Amatil’s markets, including leadership in areas such as revenue growth management, in-market execution, digital and sustainability. However, I am equally excited and genuinely convinced that there will be many more opportunities as we move forward together with speed, scale, excellent people and a richer, more diverse culture.

“This larger platform will unlock enhanced value for our shareholders, all underpinned by an even stronger and more aligned strategic partnership with The Coca-Cola Company and our other brand partners. We look forward to executing on the ambitious growth plans ahead of us, as we build on the best of who we are and create a very exciting future together.”

Damian Gammell
CEO, Coca-Cola European Partners

The UK non-alcoholic spirits category has grown to be worth £37m in 2019, up 506 % versus 2014, and is forecast to more than double in size again over the next five years, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

David Harris, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, says: “Younger generations are drinking less, with Gen-Z only strengthening this trend as they reach legal drinking age. This is hardly ground-breaking news. Adult soft drinks, premium juices and a growing range of high-quality non-alcoholic beers are all targeted at this demographic, in addition to older consumers who simply want to moderate their alcohol consumption.”

So what about consumers who don’t want a non-alcoholic beer, but still want an ‘alcohol-alike’ beverage? This may be at a party, on a night out, or at home when everyone else is enjoying their gin and tonics. This is the specific opportunity non-alcoholic spirits are targeting. Where craft beers targeted consumers turned off by mainstream German and US lager brands, non-alcoholic spirits aim to engage consumers who want to feel part of the party, but who don’t want a sore head in the morning.

Harris adds: “Talking of craft beer, what is notable is how the rise of non-alcoholic spirits mirrors the rise of craft beer, arguably the beverage trend of the last decade. With laser targeting of a specific need, from a specific demographic, there are clear similarities between non-alcoholic spirits and craft beer.

“Both target younger legal age consumers. Both target consumers who are either tired of, or have no interest in, the mainstream variant of the offering, and both use flashy, stylized and no-nonsense packaging to engage with their audience.”

Excited with the prospect, major players in spirits are increasingly looking to get involved, with William Grant and Sons launching their Atopia range, Pernod-Ricard launching Celtic Soul, as well as the Diageo-funded Seedlip, which has now expanded out of the UK and into overseas markets.

Retailers also seem to agree that this is a category to watch too, with Tesco, Lidl, Asda, and more major UK retailers all stocking at least one non-alcoholic spirit.

Harris concludes: “While this may not be the next craft beer, the opportunity is certainly there, and both brands and retailers agree that this in an opportunity which is too big to miss.

As this year saw the rise of the sober-curiousness trend, non-alcoholic drinks such as wine waters have a great market potential, due to their natural antioxidants content and their functionality. Wine water, either still or sparkling, is promoted as healthy and naturally functional, with a distinctive wine taste. According to GlobalData’s Q3 2019 global consumer survey, 92 % of surveyed consumers consider that eating healthily creates a feeling of wellness and 60 % say they believe antioxidants have a positive impact on their health.

Ana-Maria Iscru, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, explains: “A new water concept, wine water is different from alcoholic seltzers, non-alcoholic wine and fruit flavored waters, in that it does not contain alcohol but does have a wine-infused flavor, for a more sophisticated taste. The wine essence water from Wine Water Ltd., for instance, was released last year and has already sparked interest. The brand taps into a few consumer trends, namely the absence of alcohol, low sugar content, low calories and an elegant glass bottle packaging instead of plastic.”

Another slightly similar brand is Napa Hills, flavored water ‘with red wine’s natural antioxidants’, but without a wine flavour. PepsiCo also gave the trend a try, releasing a limited-edition rosé-flavored sparkling cola, which was served at the first edition of the BravoCon in November. Moreover, Walmart recently introduced a rosé wine drink enhancer, but it is not expected to come too close to the wine taste.

Iscru adds: “Wine waters are seen as much lower in calories and sugar than actual wine, enough to respond to the growing health & wellness demands. All of this while not ditching the classic wine taste that a lot of people love.

“The category is yet to grow, as there is not a large variety of wine waters, but it has potential in the way it is presenting itself: natural, sustainable and tasty. However, until wine water as a category grows globally, for now consumers are just left wanting more.”

Diageo announced the acquisition of a significant majority shareholding in Seedlip, the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirits brand. Seedlip was launched by Ben Branson in 2015 to solve the dilemma of ‘what to drink when you’re not drinking®’. Ben set out to change the way the world drinks and continue his family’s 320-year-old farming legacy. Ben will remain actively involved as a shareholder and director and will work with the Seedlip team and Diageo to continue to support Seedlip’s future success.

In June 2016, Seedlip announced a minority investment from the Diageo-backed accelerator programme Distill Ventures. Independently run, Distill Ventures receives funding from Diageo to support entrepreneurs as they launch and grow innovative drinks brands. Seedlip is the first non- alcoholic brand acquired by Diageo through Distill Ventures.

In the last three and a half years, Seedlip has grown from Ben’s kitchen to a presence in more than 25 countries. Seedlip’s three variants (Spice 94, Garden 108 and Grove 42) are stocked in over 7,500 of the world’s best bars, restaurants, hotels and retailers, including the majority of the world’s 50 best cocktail bars and over 300 Michelin Star restaurants.

The industry is being disrupted by significant trends with consumers, products, brands, and distribution. As niche players eat up more of the market share, established companies must evolve to stay competitive.

From the traditional powerhouses to new entrepreneurial start-ups, non-alcoholic beverage companies are operating in a whole new world as the industry is undergoing monumental shifts. For example, with an eye on health-conscious consumers, PepsiCo purchased the sparkling water company SodaStream in 2018, and after Coca-Cola moved into the tea market a decade ago with its organic, fair-trade Honest Tea subsidiary, the company is dipping its toe in the rapidly growing coffee segment by buying Costa Coffee in 2019. Meanwhile, new entrant Boxed Water is nudging plastic bottles off the shelves with its paper-based packaging.

With today’s consumers thirsty for healthy and eco-friendly options, massive changes are coming.

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