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Campbell Soup, Keurig Green Mountain, PepsiCo, and Starbucks: 6 Interesting Developments to Watch

By William Bias – Mar 23, 2014 at 2:00PM

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New names, new products, and other interesting tidbits investors should be following.

Do you want to invest in food giant Campbell Soup (CPB 0.66%), snack/beverage giant PepsiCo (PEP 0.50%), specialty coffee company Keurig Green Mountain (GMCR.DL), or national coffee and restaurant chain Starbucks (SBUX 0.55%)? Exploring this week's bulletins in the nonalcoholic beverage industry may help you choose.

Lemonade, anyone?
Campbell Soup recently announced the launch of two new products under the V8 Splash label: Lemonade and Strawberry Lemonade. The two products come in a 64-ounce bottle, according to the press release. Campbell Soup really needs something to give it a shot in the arm for its struggling U.S. Beverage segment, which saw sales decline 3% due to declining volumes stemming from "transition to a new distribution network in single-serve immediate consumption channels".

Paper Pepsi
According to Beverage Daily, PepsiCo recently revealed that it may revolutionize the bottling industry with its patent for a new bottle made from paper fibers. This represents an effort on PepsiCo's part to cater to the "green consumer" who wants to do good by protecting the environment by minimizing nonbiodegradable plastics. If the bottles are perfected for carbonated beverages PepsiCo could change the look and feel of how carbonated sodas are sold and consumed. 

Keurig news
Shareholders approved the name change of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters to Keurig Green Mountain in an effort to align corporate identity with the company's "two strongest brands, Keurig and Green Mountain Coffee." It makes sense to put the name Keurig at the beginning of the company name, as most people know its machines by name. Keurig also represents the "K" in K-Cups.  

In other Keurig news, the company added another partner to its long list: Peet's Coffee & Tea. The business relationship will last over a period of years. The press release reports that a selection of K-Cups containing tea and coffee from Peet's will come out at the "end of the summer." Keurig also amended its agreement with Starbucks. Starbucks will give up its exclusive rights as a super-premium coffee provider to the Keurig device. However, the loss of exclusivity shouldn't hurt Starbucks. According to the press release, the deal enabled Starbucks to offer a wider variety of K-Cups through the Keurig system. 

Shake the app
Acknowledging the new paradigm in which customers are increasingly purchasing through the Web via their smartphones, Starbucks announced new features for the company's iPhone app. Customers can give tips in $0.50, $1, and $2 denominations, according to the press release. Customers can also bring up their Starbucks loyalty card by shaking the mobile phone or device. This represents an addition to other features of the app that includes mobile payments, My Starbucks Rewards, and Starbucks Card eGifts, whereby customers can send a gift from their iPhone. 

Things to look for
You shouldn't expect two lonely lemonade products to turn the needle on Campbell Soup's U.S. Beverage segment. People want healthy "organic" drinks that can be found in its Bolthouse and food-service segment, not sugary lemonade. Look for PepsiCo to not only innovate on the packaging front but also through proper pairing of its snacks and beverages all around. Expect Keurig Green Mountain to add and tweak its portfolio of company partnerships in order to maximize its profits and those of its partners. Look for Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz to continue with forward-thinking innovation as he continues to adapt the company to 21st-century consumption trends. Keep an eye out for more company news and continue to track the progress of these companies by adding them to your Motley Fool Watchlist.

William Bias has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Keurig Green Mountain, PepsiCo, and Starbucks. The Motley Fool owns shares of PepsiCo and Starbucks. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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