Coca-Cola Launches New Innovative Freestyle Operating System

Coca-Cola Launches New Innovative Freestyle Operating System

Continuing on the innovative journey, Coca-Cola Freestyle will be releasing its newest member of the Freestyle family this week at the National Restaurant Association (NRA)  trade show in Chicago. 

The new unit- Coca-Cola Freestyle 9100 will be available nationally in 2019, featuring a 24-inch, high-definition touchscreen, and Bluetooth connectivity. This will let consumers connect to the Freestyle mobile app when they enter an outlet with a machine and will be able to cue up their beverage choice, or create a new mix. 

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AR and VR Revamp Restaurant Experiences for Customers and Employees

AR and VR Revamp Restaurant Experiences for Customers and Employees

Just a few years ago, virtual and augmented reality experiences seemed incredibly futuristic, but VR headsets AR technology are now becoming more affordable and companies are beginning to make the investment into developing these experiences, clearing the path for VR and AR to work their way into daily use.

With experiences like the Museum of Ice Cream and 29 Rooms showing incredible success, industry brands are taking note and, according to “TechCrunch,” are beginning to reallocate advertising dollars to building experiences into their food and beverage offerings.

Consumer product companies like Coca-Cola and Treasury Wine Estates (makers of Beringer, Lindeman’s and 19 Crimes), have begun expanding their brand experiences by adding augmented reality videos to their logos and labels, extending the brands’ storytelling abilities further than a label could normally go. For example, using 19 Crimes’ AR app, customers can see and hear the convicts pictured on the 19 Crimes labels tell their stories.

Seeing such great value in this technology, the restaurant industry has begun testing multiple types of virtual and augmented reality experiences, not only for their customers but also for their employees. Restaurants, like Honeygrow, have created entire training videos in virtual reality. And while there are still improvements to be made in the tech, tests done by Google’s Daydream Labs have shown that VR training actually improves speed of learning and information retention.

Training can be an extremely expensive part of onboarding when given the attention it needs. In the past, businesses may have had to choose between large-scale training groups for the sake of efficiency or hands-on one-on-one training which can be time-consuming and costly. With virtual reality technology, operators can ensure thorough and consistent training for all employees while freeing up the time of trainers, saving time and money while ensuring a perfect training experience every time.

Read more about the changes VR and AR are making in the restaurant industry in this TechCrunch article.

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Will These Two New Fruity Coca-Cola Soda Flavors Attract the Attention of Millennials?

Will These Two New Fruity Coca-Cola Soda Flavors Attract the Attention of Millennials?

While the war on sugary beverages battles on as organizations lobby for sugar taxes in certain areas of the country, big soda brands are adapting by investing in healthier beverages like flavored sparkling waters and craft sodas.

At the end of last year, we pulled data from Foodable Labs to see what beverages millennials were drinking.

In the last half of 2016, 46.9% of millennials were drinking craft beer, 9.2% were drinking craft soda and 11.8% were still drinking major soda brands.

But in the areas with soda taxes being implemented, the percentage of major soda brand drinkers was much less. In Boulder only 3.4% of millennials were drinking major soda brands and in San Francisco it was 7.4%, versus the 11.8% of Millennials in the rest of the country.

So it’s no wonder that big soda brands are developing innovative craft products to stay competitive.

Although soda companies are launching or investing in these healthier innovative beverages, Coca-Cola isn’t giving-up on sugary beverages just yet and is focusing on building its specialty cane sugar soda portfolio in 2018. The company saw 8% growth in the specialty soda category in 2016.

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Will Coca-Cola Finally Make This Monster Investment?

Will Coca-Cola Finally Make This Monster Investment?

The beverage mogul Coca-Cola may be on a verge of a monster deal­– in two ways than one.

The soda company already owns 16.7% of the energy drink brand Monster and it looks like it is the right time to buy beverage company.

With the favorable market conditions, an industry banker told the publication “The Deal” that an acquisition "would be the logical next step for both companies."

Considering there aren’t many other companies in the position to invest in a beverage company of Monster’s size, Coca-Cola is one of the most logical suitors.

Coca-Cola has a massive market cap of 195.22 billion, while Monster is at $31.86 billion. PepsiCo is another potential suitor, but it’s much more unlikely since Coca-Cola has already had a head start. Just a few years ago, Coca-Cola purchased a 16.7% stake of Monster.

"It seems Monster has made its bed and decided Coca-Cola is the way to go," said “The Deal’s” mysterious source.

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Consumer Planning Program: How to Better Understand Your Customer

On this episode of On Foodable Weekly, we talk to some of the instrumental players in creating IFMA’s Consumer Planning Program. The Consumer Planning Program, or CPP, was a collaboration between IFMA and Datassential to dive deeper into the consumer mindset and find out why consumers pick a food-service venue, how those decisions are made and what manufacturers (and operators) can do to influence those decisions.

CPP began in 2012 when IFMA realized they were not as in touch with the consumer as they wanted to be and so the association dedicated resources to really building that understanding and relationship. This began their research into consumer needs and purchase motivations.

As Coca-Cola’s Ben Shanley put it, “At the end of the day from a manufacturing perspective, we’re trying to create consumer demand for our products and with all the changes that are going on right now in the industry it still all has to start with consumers.”

This initiative has been aimed at reaching consumers and helping brands understand their customers better. The team conducts qualitative research like focus groups with consumers to gather information and understand the language consumers use when they talk about their ‘away-from-home’ meals. That data is then validated through thousands of survey interviews– providing a lot of insight on what consumers are looking for.

Foodservice professionals can join the Consumer Planning Program and be a part of the committee that drives study topics and receives annual reports. Find out more about CPP here.