Coca-Cola continues to expand its line of non carbonated beverages. The company, most famous for its original Coca-Cola brand, has shifted its focus to healthier options like Powerade and Vitamin Water. Today Coca-Cola announced a deal to bring its popular Vitamin Water brand into Subway stores.
The new deal will see customers in Subway able to purchase Vitamin Water Zero beverages. Vitamin Water had a market share of 1% in the noncarbonated beverage market (Beverage Digest). Sales of Vitamin Water Zero saw sales growth of 28% last year. The deal is for Vitamin Water Zero brand only, keeping the full calorie Vitamin Water bottles out of Subway stores. Two flavors, Lemonade and Acai Blueberry Pomegranate, will be offered in stores. Subway began testing sales of the bottles over the last several years. Along with Coca-Cola on fountain, Subway also offers Minute Maid, Powerade, and Dasani beverages in bottles. With 25,000 locations, Subway is the largest restaurant chain in the United States.
Vitamin Water was purchased in 2007 for $4.1 billion by Coca-Cola. The acquisition was part of beverage companies shifting to alternative drinks as consumers move away from carbonated beverages. Rival Pepsi acquired Sobe and Gatorade brands. Considered rich at the time, the acquisition has allowed Coca-Cola to expand from carbonated beverages into alternative options like bottled water, flavored water, and juice drinks.
The push into Subway with Vitamin Water also strengthens Coke’s restaurant business. The company competes with Pepsi in the restaurant fountain beverage industry. Pepsi has YUM Brands, which includes Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC. YUM Brands is the largest restaurant chain by number of stores in the World. Coca-Cola has its fountain machines in McDonald’s, Burger King, and Subway. Subway and McDonald’s are the two largest restaurant chains in the United States. Coke is also experimenting with its Coca Cola Freestyle machine, which allows customers to choose from individual flavor combinations. A recent article points out the benefits of the new machine and how it could transform the restaurant fountain industry.