Packaging and sweeteners have most room for innovation, says Imbibe beverage expert

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Of the many novel beverages that launched in the past year, La Colombe’s Draft Latte, a nitrous-oxide infused ready-to-drink coffee, stands out to Laura Dembitzer, marketing director of beverage innovation firm Imbibe.

la colombe draft latte

“The packaging is one of the things that’s really innovative—when you open it, it releases air into the can and it froths the milk, so you’re getting this frothy latte that you would’ve only experienced in a third-wave coffee shop,” she told FoodNavigator-USA.

The product has been well received by retailers and the public. “Sales are great, velocity increases week-over-week,” Jon Spear, senior brand manager for La Colombe’s RTD arm, told FoodNavigator-USA.

It launched earlier in 2016 in cafés, and then expanded to retail and grocery in the last three months, shipping out to big chains like Wegman’s, Target, Meijer, and different Whole Foods regions across the country. He added that despite being off season for cold beverages, growth for La Colombe’s Draft Latte product has been steadily going up. Spear also sees the ‘texturized beverage’ such as La Colombe’s product to pick up as a major trend. “It can be stretched into other categories, like tea for example,” he said.

Technical wow-factors aside, Dembitzer also mentioned Califia Farms’ eye-catching, curved bottles as an example of how potent package innovation can be to benefit beverage brands. “They came up with this really premium packaging, and it really differentiates their non-dairy plant milks in the retail stores—I mean, how many almond milks are there now in stores?” Dembitzer said.

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