As it did with almonds and coconuts, Califia Farms is aiming to make oats a central piece of its evolution as a plant-based beverage platform.

At the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco last week, Califia poured samples of its new three-SKU line of oat milk creamers in 25.4 oz. bottles. Available in unsweetened, hazelnut and vanilla varieties, the line is gluten-free and contains 10-15 calories per serving, depending on the flavor. Beyond creamers, however, Califia CEO Greg Steltenpohl toldBevNET at the show that the company was embracing oat as an ingredient in a variety of ways that highlight its “elevated protein and macronutrient profile.”

“We are really serious about it, we have more extensive packaging formats than brands that specialize in oats,” he said. “It’s a little different in execution than in the past when we did line extensions. This is really a true platform, just like coffee was for us.”

Some of the planks of that platform have already been built: Califia launched a nitrogen-infused line of oat milk cold brew lattes last year, along with oat milk in both standard and barista-edition varieties. Yet the brand’s relentless approach to innovation means some of those products — including both Califia’s standard and Übermilk oat milk lines — have already been reiterated and tweaked, with the former now “much richer and more oat-forward,” according to Steltenpohl. As the brand has previously done with almond milk and, to a lesser degree, coconut milk, oat milk is gradually being extended across a wide range of touchpoints; an oat-milk based version of its unsweetened “Black & White” cold brew in 10.5 oz. grab-and-go bottles has launched.

With the creamers, Steltenpohl said Califia is reacting to internal market research which indicated that “a startling amount of millennials” use coffee creamers that “have a lot of artificial ingredients.” The brand markets a range of dairy-free almond milk and coconut milk-based creamers in a variety of bottle sizes.

Along with the new oat milk products, Califia also showcased the return of Full Shot, now rebranded as Keto Coffee. Full Shot was an early entrant to the MCT-oil cold brew category, but Steltenpohl said this time around the brand, after consulting with its food science team, increased the amount of MCTs from 2 g to 2.5 g and protein from 6 grams to 7 grams in each 10.5 oz. bottle. The company has also extended its line of black cold brew coffee in 48 oz. multi-serve bottles with Blonde Roast.

Califia’s innovation drive in 2020 will be aided by a recent $225 million investment round led by the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA). Steltenpohl said the financing allows Califia to “look beyond beverage,” but that executing North American core business of creamers, coffees and milks is the company’s immediate priority. While acknowledging that he’s not sure when the “tipping point” between dairy and plant-based dairy will arrive, he said the company is making long-term plans in preparation for further mainstream growth as consumers shift from light to moderate/heavy users.

“Our job is to be ready. That’s a big challenge – operationally and in terms of production and capacity,” he said. “We’ve seen what it’s like to play catch-up. This time, before things hit hard, we are trying to be ready with the supply chain and all that stuff.”

Plant-based wellness drink maker Remedy Organics previewed a new keto line, its first line extension, at WFFS.

Speaking with BevNET, co-founder Henry Kasindorf said the line is intended to appeal to male consumers, as sales of the brand’s current line of wellness beverages index 70% female. The packaging, he said, was designed to project a “masculine look and feel.”

The new products, which will be available in Chocolate, Cold Brew Coffee and Vanilla flavors and contain MCT oil, maca, and prebiotics. The drinks are sweetened with erythritol and monkfruit and contain 210-240 calories per 12 oz. bottle. The line, which was unavailable for sampling at WFFS, will retail for $5.49 per unit.

According to Kasindorf, the line was developed in response to consumer requests for low and no-sugar offerings. Kasindorf added that he feels keto “is not just a passing trend” and has prepared a “social media blitz” to promote the line when it launches in full in March at Natural Products Expo West 2020.

The announcement comes as Remedy Organics expands distribution nationwide with a retail presence in 45 states. According to Kasindorf, the brand saw a “significant increase” in sales in 2019 and has leveraged connections and lessons gained from its participation in accelerator programs — including Nestle USA’s Terra program, the Chobani incubator and PepsiCo’s Nutrition Greenhouse — to help the company scale.

This month, Remedy Organics announced the hiring of Colin Long as director of sales. Long most recently served as a regional sales director at Goodbelly and has previously held sales roles at Uncle Matt’s Organic, Healthy Brands Collective and Brad’s Raw Foods.

Wholesale coffee roaster and supplier San Francisco Bay Coffee (SF Bay) launched a new ready-to-drink cold brew coffee line at WFFS, its first ready-to-drink product.

The canned line of 8 oz. black cold brew coffees are unsweetened and available in four roast profiles: French Roast, Fog Chaser, Rainforest and Decaf French Roast. The products are shelf stable and will retail for $3.99 per unit.

At the show, the company told BevNET the line will launch in Q1 and will primarily focus on getting retail placement locally in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Last summer, Brooklyn Crafted highlighted calamansi as the featured ingredient in its line of still “calamansi-ades” in 10 oz. glass bottles. In San Francisco, the brand turned to another popular Asian citrus fruit — yuzu — as the source for a new sub-line of sparkling fruit drinks called Moshi. The product is not yet in retailers but will be available in a single SKU in 12 oz. glass bottles. Each bottle contains 120 calories and 32 grams of sugar.

Elsewhere, Japanese craft drink brand Kimino showcased its two latest innovations in sparkling juices: Mikan (mandarin) and Ringo (fuji apple). The California-based brand also markets sparkling Yuzu and Ume juices and sparkling waters.

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