Chameleon Cold-Brew secures ‘strong advantage’ in coffee category with Nestle by it side

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Coffee Drink

Chameleon Cold-Brew climbs in bed with Nestle
Nestle’s acquisition of Chameleon Cold-Brew will give the Austin-based beverage company a “strong advantage” in the highly competitive coffee category in 2018 and allow it to pursue “wild ideas” for expansion and new product development that were previously off limits due to resource restrictions, according to CEO Chris Campbell.

As the co-founder of Chameleon Cold-Brew, Campbell will remain with the company in Austin where he will manage it as an independent entity, but with added benefits provided by “world-class company like Nestle,”​ he told FoodNavigator-USA.

“Nestle has fully acquired Chameleon and is intent on supporting us as we continue to do the things that make this an appealing business for them in the first place,”​ he said. This includes a “focus on accelerating our growth, amplifying our success and optimizing our operation”​ in a way that was not possible before.

Campbell explained: “In the past, we’ve had to do the best with what we’ve had. As a small business that had to be capital efficient, it could be limiting at times.”

Even with those restrictions, the company has done well for itself by becoming the No. 1 organic cold brew brand in the US, one of the top three refrigerated cold brew brands in the US, and securing distribution in more than 10,000 retailers nationwide with triple-digit growth since inception.

Still, Campbell said, Chameleon Cold-Brew can do better with Nestle as a partner.

“We have access to world-class manufacturing, purchasing, marketing and back office resources that will allow us to move faster than before and open up previously unrealistic opportunities,”​ he said, adding that executives from both companies will work together in the next few months to identify areas best suited for collaboration.

While he said he couldn’t divulge specifics, he did say there are “both specific plans and wild ideas”​ for expanding and accelerating in the coffee category.

“We’re all very excited about our innovation pipeline over the next few quarters,”​ he added. “We came to the table with a number of ideas that both companies are excited about. However, as we get to know Nestle’s capabilities, we continue to come up with new concepts that will be vetted over the coming months.”

Promising innovation & dedication to core products

If recent launches by Chameleon are anything to judge by, the new line-up could reshape the coffee category.

For example, at Expo East this year, Chameleon launched a new sparkling cold-brew coffee that was inspired by its demo table, Campbell said.

“In the early days, we often sampled in hot Texas weather, so we needed something lighter than our standard offerings. We opted to combine coffee, sparkling water and sugar to create a tasty and refreshing summer drink. As carbonated beverages have gained tremendous traction, we opted to take our drink from the demo table to the shelf and think it’s fantastic,”​ he said. “It also gives us an entry into shelf stable beverage that will open up new channels and opportunities not viable for our chilled line.”

While innovation will be key for future growth, Campbell said Chameleon will stay true to its core values and products.

“We recognize our core products are the heart and soul of the company and will not do things to dilute that equity,”​ he said. “Both companies are committed to maintaining Chameleon’s high quality and differentiating taste. It’s core to who we are and why we’ve been successful. We want to carefully guard that and make it better where we can.”

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