Why We Invested in Pop & Bottle

We are excited to announce our investment in Pop & Bottle. Founded by Blair Fletcher and Jash Mehta and based in San Francisco, Pop & Bottle manufactures plant-rich ready to drink superfood lattes. Consumers are drawn to the creamy smooth texture and the all-natural organic ingredients including almonds, dates, turmeric, and cacao. Even more notable than the ingredients that you’ll find in the drinks are the ingredients that you won’t. The coffee is completely free from dairy, carrageenan, preservatives, and added sugars. Pop & Bottle proudly describes itself as “clean caffeine.”

In addition to the great product, and visionary founders at the helm, we are excited that Pop & Bottle is positioned to capitalize on three powerful trends we’re seeing in the market: 1) the growing segment of consumers who are embracing convenient, ready to drink coffee, 2) the increasing number of people who are looking to decrease or eliminate dairy from their diets without sacrificing on taste and 3) the rise of brands that understand the lifestyle and changing needs of consumers.

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Ready to drink coffee is approximately a $2.5 billion market in North America alone that is dominated by large incumbents such as Starbucks with products that are high in calories with large amounts of added sugar. For example, one of the most popular ready to drink  beverages on the market, the Starbucks Bottled Frappuccino, has 260 calories with 45 grams of sugar in a 13.7 oz. serving. The frappuccinos dominating the market today aren’t available in non-dairy formats, meaning there are few options for those who are avoiding dairy. We believe that there is a large and growing segment of consumers who want the convenience of a ready to drink coffee but do not want the unhealthy ingredients that are in many of the products on the shelf today.

Similar to the ready to drink coffee market, the plant-based food and beverage market in the U.S. is growing rapidly, valued at north of $3 billion. One reason this market is growing so quickly is that plant-based products are starting to appeal to a much wider range of consumers who want to eat healthier and incorporate more plant-rich nutrients into their diet. It is no longer a trend for only the vegetarian or vegan consumers who have traditionally been the core customers of plant-based products. If you talk to people who are cutting back on dairy products, they will often tell you that one of the hardest areas to eliminate dairy in their daily diet is their daily coffee. Pop & Bottle addresses the needs of this customer, delivering a plant-rich, functional product on-the-go without sacrificing the quality experience.

Finally, there are a growing number of consumers, particularly millennial consumers, who want the food and beverage brands they consume to reflect and adapt to their lifestyles. The best brands are able to innovate and offer products that address different use cases throughout the day. For its part, Pop & Bottle endeavors to create products that are always relevant to its consumers at any time of day. In the morning, a consumer might opt for the classic cold brew coffee with 130 mg of caffeine to jump start the day, during the afternoon he or she might choose the matcha for a sweet pick me up, and at night he or she might grab the caffeine-free golden turmeric to wind down. Additionally, we are excited to announce Pop & Bottle’s newest addition, Vanilla Cold Brew, which will hit shelves in January 2019. The team has been focused on innovating the existing vanilla almond milk SKU to incorporate functional ingredients, including clean caffeine. In every way, Pop and Bottle meets the consumer wherever he or she is at to ensure that their products are relevant in flavor across multiple use occasions.

Pop & Bottle is capturing the tailwinds of these three transformational trends and it’s clear from both the online and offline growth of the company that the product is resonating with consumers. Pop & Bottle  has seen a significant increase in Instagram followers – from 5,500 two years ago to nearly 40,000 today. That growth in followers has been mirrored by growth in retail distribution. We used our machine learning platform, Helio, to analyze the Pop & Bottle’s distribution footprint in grocery chains, as seen below.  

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Over the course of just two years, Pop & Bottle has expanded rapidly in the Bay Area, LA, Phoenix, and New York City Metros. With Pop & Bottle’s current momentum and its position at the intersection of the three transformational trends in the market that we discussed above, we expect to see even more growth in distribution going forward. Pop & Bottle is ideally positioned to capitalize on this opportunity with their core demographic.  

We look forward to partnering with the co-founders, Jash and Blair, and the entire Pop & Bottle team in this next chapter. We are excited to see more consumers join the Pop & Bottle family as they learn the benefits of clean, plant-rich caffeine.

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