Dr Pepper Snapple to distribute Vita Coco

by Eric Schroeder
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PLANO, TEXAS — In the company’s first investor meeting since going public in May 2008, executives with Dr Pepper Snapple Group described long-term strategies that have the Plano-based beverage manufacturer poised for growth, including a new distribution agreement for coconut water.

Larry Young, president and chief executive officer of Dr Pepper, said the company’s strategy from 2007 through 2010 involves “building the foundation,” followed by “investing for growth” between 2011 and 2015, before finally “focusing on optimizing the business and driving strong capital returns” in 2016 and beyond.

Part of the “investing for growth” strategy was evident in the company’s announcement on June 8 it has reached agreement to distribute Vita Coco, an all-natural, pure coconut water introduced in 2004.

“Vita Coco is the No. 1 brand of coconut water in the U.S. with a 60% share of the market today,” said Rodger Collins, president of packaged beverages for Dr Pepper Snapple Group. “The coconut water market is exploding, and we’re excited to be on the front end of this growth opportunity.”

As part of its agreement, Dr Pepper will distribute five Vita Coco flavors: 100% pure; pineapple; acai and pomegranate; peach and mango; and tangerine. Initially, the distribution will be set for Florida and Georgia, with more states to follow, the company said.

In addition to new partnerships like the one with Vita Coco, Mr. Collins said Dr Pepper will look to its existing portfolio for growth opportunities. Specifically, he said the company will use the lessons it learned from the recent repositioning of the Crush brand through third-party bottler network leveraging to unlock other potential in its portfolio.

“We’re finding new ways to expand our brands in new markets and through different applications,” he said. “In fact, we’re considering something similar to what we did with Crush with another big brand sitting near idle in our portfolio. This move would allow us to compete through our D.S.D. business in a category that one company controls today. It’s just an example of how with innovation and new ways of thinking we can exploit the tremendous upside within our portfolio.”

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