- All Market Inc (AMI), the parent company of Vita Coco, purchased natural energy drink Runa, according to FoodBev Media. The brand's organic beverages are made from guayusa leaves, which are found in the Amazon rainforest.
- Both Vita Coco and Runa will exist as independent companies under AMI after the acquisition is complete.
- “We’ve spent 14 years at Vita Coco creating a category and building an iconic brand. We’re confident that we’re in the perfect position to replicate that success with Runa. Runa is currently growing at over 50% year to date and we plan to increase that growth significantly," Vita Coco co-founder and CEO Michael Kirban told FoodBev Media.
Even as consumers demand for clean-label and all-natural beverages —such as sparkling waters, teas, kombucha and coconut water — grows, many shoppers are still reaching for drinks that will give them a little more pep in their step.
This interest in energy drinks and beverages containing ingredients that enhance productivity, such as ginseng and caffeine, is being driven by increasingly hectic work schedules and lifestyles, according to Market Research Hub.
The market for energy drinks is expected to increase at a CAGR of 8.86% between 2017 and 2021, the research company said. Already, energy drink sales in U.S. convenience stores hit $8.4 billlion last year, according to Mordor Intelligence figures reported by Forbes. There have been particular gains in the natural energy drink sector, where ingredients like green tea and guayusa offer label-conscious consumers the clean ingredients that they crave.
Many of these consumers are millennials who grew up on a rush of sugar- and synthetic caffeine-fueled energy, but are now maturing and want their ingredients to do so as well. Nevertheless, despite all of their lab-created ingredients, Red Bull and Monster still lead the U.S. energy drink category. In fact, Monster Beverage Corp’s first-quarter net sales rose 14.7% to $850.9 million from $742.1 million in the same period a year ago. At the same time, net sales of other energy beverages including NOS Energy Drink, Full Throttle have declined, which leaves a market opening that natural energy drinks like Runa can fill.
AMI already has a brand that has carved itself out a niche as a natural, authentic beverage with celebrities endorsements from Madonna, Matthew McConaughey and Demi Moore. It will be interesting to see if it can garner the same star power for Runa and make as big of a splash in the natural energy drinks category as Vita Coco did in the coconut water segment.
This is also not AMI’s first foray into diversification. Vita Coco recently launched a "lighter" beverage made with coconut cream and coconut water that's positioned as an alternative to regular milk, as well as a line of canned, sparkling coconut water drinks. Given consumer interest in on-the-go, naturally energizing beverages, it makes sense for AMI to bring Runa into its portfolio. But as energy drinks begin to not only compete with each other, but also teas and flavored waters, AMI will need to continue to innovate to keep consumers’ attention.