ORLANDO, FLA. – Califia Farms is adding 16 to 25 items a year and could end up with about 95 total stock-keeping units this year, said Dan Mader, senior vice-president of sales for the plant-based beverage company.
“That kind of speaks to the marketplace for consumers as well,” he said during an April 20 presentation at Ingredient Marketplace in Orlando. “I think the day of the $1 billion power brand and three s.k.u.s is kind of gone. Consumers demand variety. They get bored quickly.”
Beverage companies need a pipeline of innovation to keep consumers interested in a brand, he said.
Companies like Los Angeles-based Califia Farms may have an advantage over larger corporations. It might take PepsiCo, Inc. or the Coca-Cola Co. two years or two and a half years to develop a new product and get it into the marketplace, said James S. Tonkin, founder and president of Healthy Brand Builders, a consulting company in Scottsdale, Ariz.
“Trying to get those companies to be innovative has been very, very difficult, which is why they’re buying a lot of brands that are out in the market today,” he said. “It’s easier, less expensive for (the larger corporations), and they already have a place in the market that they can then grow because they’re so good at distribution.”
Califia Farms has expanded its distribution into Canada and soon will enter the United Kingdom and Australia, Mr. Mader said. Weekly sales are up 50% to 70% compared to the same time period a year ago.
The company offers plant milks from nuts, seeds, fruits and roots and also milks enhanced with such ingredients as matcha or turmeric. Cold brew coffee, creamers and juices are other items. Califia Farms in April launched Pure Black Cold Brew Coffee, a line of all-black cold brew beverages bottled in a 48-oz carafe and made exclusively with Direct Trade-sourced Brazilian coffee. Under Direct Trade, Califia Farms sources coffee directly from the farmers.
The company’s products target consumers who want convenience, want to feel good about the sustainability of the packaging and want to feel good about how the product is sourced, Mr. Mader said. While the products are vegan, Califia Farms mostly promotes plant-based nutrition, Mr. Mader said.“It’s really moving out that niche, you know, hippie vegan world to broad-based,” he said of plant-based nutrition.