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Conference Overview

WINTER FANCY FOOD SHOW 2015 Cold-Brew Coffee, Kombucha Make Headway in Specialty and Beyond By:Ray Latif As cold-brew coffee and kombucha continue to blossom in natural retailers, an uptick of exhibitors seen at the 2015 Winter Fancy Food Show, held Jan. 9-12 in San Francisco, signaled a desire for brands in each category to take on a greater market presence via the specialty channel and beyond. Califia Farms, which nearly a year ago extended its line of almond milk-infused, cold brew coffees with three single-serve varieties, is one such company. The products debuted at the 2014 Winter Fancy Food Show, and like their multi-serve

planning a revamp of the products, with the phrase “cold brew” now being the main focus. Califia founder and CEO Greg Steltenpohl, who offered BevNET a sneak peak of the new labels at the 2015 show, noted that “18 months ago, retailers didn’t understand” cold-brewed coffee, a process by which coarse-ground beans are steeped in temperate or cold water for 12 to 24 hours, with the resulting liquid said to offer a smoother taste profile than hot-brewed versions. However, Steltenpohl said that natural channel sales data from the past six months

had been hampered by the astounding rise of iced coffee sold in multi-serving packages, in particular, those marketed by International Delight. Consumers, however, are increasingly seeking out natural and premium coffee options, and pointed to a decline in sales of large-format products, particularly those made with artificial ingredients and preservatives (which is the case with International Delight’s offerings) as a clear indication of the trend. The new-look Califia Farms coffee products, having replaced “iced coffee” with “cold brew,” also come with new flavor

counterparts, the 10.5 oz. bottles call out the cold brew formulation of the coffee near the top of their labels. However, unlike the expanding set of cold-brewed coffee products that have hit the market over the past 12 months, it’s the mainstreamfriendly “Iced Coffee” that is front and center on the package. That’s soon to change. Amid surging awareness, recognition and demand for cold-brew coffee, Califia Farms is

has shown that “cold brew is worth paying attention to” and that conventional grocers, like Safeway and Kroger, are now clamoring for a piece of the growth. “Retailers are opening up to differentiation where there is a story to tell,” Steltenpohl said. “And they don’t want natural retailers to have such a long lead time [for trends]. They just want to participate.” Steltenpohl pointed out that the development of cold-brewed coffee as a trend

varieties, each tinged with edgy-sounding names: Dirty Chai, Mocha Mexica and Triple Shot. Steltenpohl said that the drinks are scheduled for an April launch. On the concentrated front, Grady’s Cold Brew showcased its “bean bag” kits, which are now sold nationally at Urban Outfitters, the eclectic retailer known as much for its trendy clothing as it for unusual knickknacks. The bean bags are packaged in cylindrical metal canisters,


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BevNET Magazine March 2015  

The March 2015 issue of BevNET Magazine.

BevNET Magazine March 2015  

The March 2015 issue of BevNET Magazine.

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