Quenching insatiable millennial and Gen-Z- thirst for wellness-promoting options, the food & bev co-op is debuting the first brand incubated in its Lighthouse program, offering a line of plant-based drink blends designed to revamp its image

In Brief:

  • Ocean Spray is carrying out a powerful rebranding, focusing on entering the health & wellness space.
  • Part of its strategy involves incubating new labels in its Lighthouse hub, located in Boston. The company recently debuted its first line, called Atoka—a collection of herbalist-crafted, plant-based drink blends.
  • PSFK spoke to Rizal Hamdallah, global chief innovation officer at Ocean Spray, for an update on the progress of the company's brand incubation, the consumer insights that led to Atoka's creation and the overarching goal to better serve millennial and Gen-Z consumers. 

What motivated the establishment of the Lighthouse Incubator program?

With new leadership from CEO and President Bobby Chacko, Ocean Spray opened its Lighthouse hub in Boston to inspire collaboration, creativity and ingenuity. Innovation plays a critical role in Ocean Spray's mission and growth. Leading by purpose, Ocean Spray is committed to connecting farms to families for a better life, and the innovation coming from the Lighthouse will prioritize health and wellness.

What inspired the creation of Atoka™? Tell us about any consumer insights that influenced its design.

Mindful of the ever-increasing consumer demand for health and wellness-focused products, Ocean Spray created the Atoka™ brand to diversify its portfolio and grow into the natural space. Atoka™ is one of many platforms beyond juice through which Ocean Spray will deliver an innovative, nutritious portfolio that consumers are demanding from their foods and beverages. Together with Ocean Spray’s 90-year history of harvesting the cranberry, an original superfruit, the new brand is a platform that brings a grassroots, entrepreneurial approach to connect farms to families for a better life.

Ocean Spray/Atoka

Tell us about what Atoka™ will offer. Why did you choose these products to launch with?

To develop the beverages, we partnered with a master herbalist who has an expert knowledge of how to blend the right combination of restorative herbs and nutrient-dense fruits to deliver upon key consumer functional needs. Specifically, guayusa, ginseng and cranberry for natural energy, elderberry and reishi for immune health, dark cherry, hops and chamomile for to calm the sense and cranberry, lemongrass and ginger for digestion.

Are you targeting any consumers in particular with this launch?

With the Atoka line of herbal beverages, we hope to capture millennial and Gen-Z consumers who are in tune with what their body needs. They desire functional foods and beverages that contribute to their wellbeing in a natural way and go beyond just basic health. These consumers understand the benefits of fruits, herbs and botanicals to meet their daily wellness needs.

How does launching with Atoka™ fit into Ocean Spray's larger retail strategy? How will you be engaging consumers with the brand?

Atoka products will be launching in natural and specialty channel retailers in January and online in early 2020. In terms of engaging consumers, we want to ensure we are reaching them in a genuine and meaningful way that aligns with how they want to explore new brands. For example, we will be leveraging social media through Atoka channels to build brand awareness as well as in-store sampling to encourage consumers to try our beverages.

Ocean Spray/Atoka

Ocean Spray

Lead image via Unsplash