Pass Me A LaCroix: How Specialty Sodas Are Disrupting the Beverage Industry

In our “Trending Foods” series of blog posts, we analyzed interesting trends in the food industry, such as the increasing popularity of protein-rich grains, the avocado craze, and the changing customer habits that are fueling new consumption patterns, such as the brunch and street food phenomenon.

In this post, we are going to analyze a few interesting trends in the beverage industry, which is another segment of the consumer space that is experiencing significant changes due to increasing health consciousness, changing consumption habits, and ethics-driven diets.

 

Craft Sodas Taking An Increasing Market Share

The first trend we analyzed is the growing popularity of craft sodas, which has created challenges for traditional beverage mass-producers. Like other trends in the food/drinks industry, the growth of craft sodas has been fueled by the increased health-consciousness of consumers, the desire for premium/quality products, and the preference for specific ingredients due to ethical reasons. From the increased use of “organic” and “local” ingredients, to the higher adoption of brown sugar at the expense of the more popular refined alternative, we have seen interesting trends shaping customer habits and opening new market opportunities.

At the same time, traditional sodas are under scrutiny and doubted by consumers due to their high sugar content and obscure ingredients lists, in a moment when consumer appetite for non-alcoholic consumption has risen significantly by people making healthier lifestyle choices.

We can use Sentieo to analyze the demand for craft soda. We’ll take a quick but in-depth look at which companies are exposed to the new trend and how they are trying to benefit from it. Sentieo’s Document Search allows us to quickly identify the companies that are very active in this segment, such as Reed’s Inc., which, according to its company presentations, aims to become “the Sam Adams of Craft Carbonated Soft Drinks.”

However, the growing popularity of these drinks is also creating an opportunity for smaller operators and for restaurant chains that offer their own crafted sodas — like BJ’s Restaurants (BJRI) and Bagger Dave (BDVB). This trend is a potential threat for mass producers and a great opportunity for smaller players and the restaurant industry. They can offer their own premium drinks and generate higher margins thanks to a direct relationship with customers.

Sentieo allows us to search company documents, but it can also show us customer interest trends. We can use Sentieo’s alternative data tool Mosaic to plot Google Trends data and track consumer interests. In this case, we plotted Google Trends data for the term “craft soda.” To make the trend more visible, we applied a 12-week moving average to Google Trends’ raw data below:

As we can see, craft soda’s popularity boomed between 2011 and 2016, but remained basically flat for the past two years. Companies’ activity in this field has basically followed the trend in consumer interest highlighted by Google Trends, with a solid growth between 2011 and 2016 and a more flat trend in the past two years. This is clear when we analyze the number of mentions of the term “craft soda” in company-related documents and transcripts using Sentieo’s Document Search tool:

Given the aforementioned adoption of healthier lifestyles, another acceleration of this positive trend is possible in the future, and Sentieo can help you keep monitoring these trends.

 

Flavored Water Quenches Consumer Thirst

A second trend worth analyzing is the increasing popularity of flavored water, which is considered as a healthier alternative to soda drinks thanks to the absence of artificial sweeteners, caffeine, and flavor enhancers. While the debate is open and everything obviously depends on how the flavored water is actually prepared (e.g. with or without sweeteners or nutritional enhancements), the evidence is that the changing consumer preferences are boosting this segment of the beverage industry.

The growing popularity of flavored water is truly a strong and current trend. We looked at Google Trends data in Mosaic and noticed a massive growth in the number of searches for “flavored water” on the search engine. As in the case of flavored water, we used a 12-week moving average of the Google Trends data to make the trend more visible. This is the result:

We can easily see how the searches for flavored water have been growing constantly since 2009, and actually skyrocketed in the first half of 2018. Companies have been increasingly active in this area as well, as the growing number of mentions of “flavored water” in company-related documents and transcripts shows:

The companies that have invested in this segment of the beverage industry include Del Monte Pacific Limited, Sodastream International, True Drinks Holdings, Keurig Dr. Pepper, and National Beverage Corp (FIZZ), which produces the soda that has become a national phenomenon: LaCroix sparkling water.

We found a recent press release from FIZZ within Sentieo which details the success of LaCroix:

Traditional Drinks Producers Face Mounting Competitive Pressure

The popularity of alternative drinks like craft sodas and flavored water threaten traditional beverage companies such as Coca Cola (KO) and Pepsi (PEP), especially if consumers find alternative sources for these drinks, as we have seen with craft sodas and the growing tendency of restaurant operators to produce their own drinks.

Sentieo helps us identify, analyze and compare industry trends quickly and effectively, in the beverage industry as well as in many other sectors. We used powerful and flexible Document Search, and alternative data from Mosaic to analyze some important underlying trends in the beverage industry. Sentieo can be used to run ad-hoc searches on a virtually unlimited number of topics, allowing us to gain important insights into any industry that are not available anywhere else. 

What’s For Brunch? Trending Foods with Growth Potential: Part 2

Last week, we took a close look at the food industry, which certainly follows trends and changing consumption habits that can ultimately greatly affect the performance of various companies. Using Sentieo, we were able to take a look at data and trends regarding protein-rich grains like quinoa, hemp, and sorghum. This week, we’ll examine how the hype around brunch and street foods have been discussed across company filings.

 

The Avocado Craze and Brunch Boom

Avocados have been available to consumers for a while, but they were not very popular outside of Mexican cuisine until a few years ago. Since 2010, the popularity of this fruit has boomed, and consumer interest has spiked due to people’s greater awareness of healthy eating habits. The benefits of the avocado are many: the fruit has more potassium than bananas and is full of antioxidants, to name a few.

Google Trends data from Sentieo shows the booming popularity of the avocado quite clearly. The volume of searches has risen by over 400% since 2004 – 2008:

 

Many companies are not waiting on the sidelines. They are well aware of the recent trends, and the number of times that the word “avocado” has been mentioned in company filings proves it. (See below).

There are numerous companies exposed to the growing popularity of the avocado. Del Monte produces and markets several avocado products, while Limoneira claims to be one of the leading producers of avocado in the Americas. In the restaurant segments, more and more companies use it as an ingredient in their recipes. Del Taco Restaurants even mentions avocado in the company’s About section on every press release:

Consumers’ changing tastes are not just reflected in the growing or falling popularity of specific foods, but also in changing consumption habits when it comes to where to eat and when to eat. The way people eat and relax across the world is evolving, and the growing popularity of brunch is a clear example of that.

Document hits confirm that the brunch boom is a trend that many companies have been riding for several years now:

Based on the number of times that the word “brunch” has been mentioned in filings and transcripts, the most active companies in the brunch space seem to be Brazilian steakhouse chain Fogo de Chao, The Cheesecake Factory, and Brinker International. Even hospitality chain Marriott International has tried to take advantage of the new trend by offering several brunch options to its customers.

Speaking of how and where, we can’t avoid mentioning the constant growth of street food concepts. Street food’s growth is rampant. Even Michelin has recognized street food in its Hong Kong guide, and even two Singapore street-food hawkers have each received one Michelin star. The street food concept is loved by companies that want low-risk ways to test a new restaurant concept or food offering before committing to larger investments.

Look at how the number of mentions of “street food” in company-related documents and transcripts has boomed since 2013:

It is also a reflection of the growing interest from customers:

Street food combines the pleasure of eating tasty food with an important experience component, and it’s highly shareable, as the growing number of Twitter mentions indicates:

 

Sentieo’s tools help us identify, analyze and compare industry trends quickly and effectively. We used Document Search and alternative data from Mosaic to analyze these interesting trends in the food industry, a segment of the consumer space that is experiencing significant changes due to increasing health consciousness, changing consumption habits, and the rising adoption of specific diets for ethical reasons.

However, Sentieo’s tools can be used to run ad-hoc searches on a virtually unlimited number of topics, allowing us to gain important insights into any industry that are not available anywhere else. Stay tuned for the upcoming Part 3 of our Trending Foods Series!

Sentieo Voted “Best Artificial Intelligence Technology Provider” By 2018 Waters Technology Rankings

Last week at The Players social club in Manhattan, Sentieo was presented with the 2018 Waters Rankings Award for Best Artificial Intelligence Technology Provider. Alap Shah, CEO of Sentieo, and Geoffrey Suen, Product Specialist at Sentieo, proudly accepted the award for the team.

“This award means a lot to the Sentieo team because the Waters Rankings are voted on solely by software end-users,” says Alap Shah, the CEO of Sentieo and a former equity investor himself. “We’re happy that users are impressed with our AI-powered transcript sentiment analysis feature.”

These end users, who represent a large swath of the capital markets, cast their votes over a six-week period to determine the award winners.

Shah continued: “We’re honored to receive this award and are excited to continue delivering a comprehensive product for equity investors that includes easy sentiment analysis, document search, alternative data, collaboration, and many other cutting-edge features that they want and need —in order to be efficient and ultimately more successful.”

What’s For Lunch? Trending Foods with Growth Potential: Part 1

Like other segments of the consumer sector, the food industry follows trends and changing consumption habits that can benefit one company over another. Particularly in the recent years, we have seen changing attitudes towards health, community and the environment, which have affected consumption habits and translated into the growing popularity of specific foods and drinks.

Foods without artificial additive products, colors, flavors, sweeteners, and hydrogenated fats have become increasingly popular, and the acquisition of Whole Foods by a high-tech growth giant like Amazon is indicative of the growth potential seen in this market. In this post, we use Sentieo’s tools to look at a few interesting trends in the food industry.

 

Protein-Rich Grains Gain Popularity

With the World Health Organization warning about the potential danger of eating too much meat, the vegetable sources of proteins have become increasingly popular, and not only among fitness and body-building enthusiasts. They are also popular among vegetarians and, above all, vegans, who need non-animal sources of proteins. Protein-Rich seeds and grains have become increasingly popular as standalone foods and as add-ons to yogurt, oatmeal, and peanut butter. Let’s take a look at a few of them a bit more in detail.

2013 was named the official year of quinoa, but it seems that the grain has become even more popular since then. We used Sentieo’s Mosaic tool, which offers users the ability to find and visualize alternative datasets. The number of mentions of quinoa in company filings and transcripts has basically tripled since 2013:

Sentieo

 

Consumer interest in quinoa, which we measured using Google Trends data, has also increased substantially since then, but was basically flat during the past three years as other vegetable sources of proteins started to gain market share. In the chart below, you can see Google Trends data for the word “quinoa” (blue line). We have also added a 13-week moving average of the Y/Y variation of Google Trends data (yellow line), which makes the underlying trend more visible and neutralizes seasonal effects:

The increasing popularity of hemp is even more evident. Like quinoa, hemp is a protein-rich plant and is considered a complete protein source, which means it provides all the essential amino acids (an extremely rare characteristic for vegetables). Hemp’s popularity has skyrocketed in the past few years, as the growing number of mentions in company documents and transcripts shows:

Also, consumers’ interest in hemp — and hemp seeds in particular — has skyrocketed:

Another protein-rich grain that is becoming increasingly popular is sorghum. Although it’s not a complete source of amino acids, there are many interesting ways it can be used. It is a good sweetener and can be used as a substitute for wheat flour. However, it has no gluten, so it requires a binding agent in some recipes, such as a xanthan gum or cornstarch. It can also be popped like popcorn. Sorghum’s popularity has grown consistently since 2010-2011:

This is confirmed by the growing interest from consumers:

Sentieo’s tools help us identify, analyze and compare industry trends quickly and effectively. We used Document Search and alternative data from Mosaic to analyze a few interesting trends in the food industry, a segment of the consumer space that is experiencing significant changes due to increasing health consciousness, changing consumption habits, and the rising adoption of specific diets for ethical reasons.

We can easily see what’s driving customers’ interest, such as the increasing popularity of protein-rich grains, and how the companies are responding to them. We have also detected which companies can benefit from these trends very easily by monitoring how many times certain keywords have been mentioned in a company’s documents. However, Sentieo’s tools can be used to run ad-hoc searches on a virtually unlimited number of topics, allowing us to gain important insights into any industry that are not available anywhere else. Next week, we’ll feature more trending foods.