Brief description of the dive:
- Nestlé sells its organic coffee brand Chameleon Systm Foods, a food and beverage brand platform, for an undisclosed sum.
- Producer of organic, sustainably grown, ethically sourced coffee joins plant-based functional beverage brand R.low tide in system portfolio.
- The sale of Chameleon comes five years after Nestlé acquired the brand and continues the ongoing process of redefining its CPG portfolio to enable more growth in more fashionable categories.
While Chameleon’s sale pales in comparison to some of Nestlé’s multibillion-dollar sales in recent years, it is the latest indication that the company is far from complete in its refocus on the future.
Since 2017, the Swiss-based Nestlé has closed or announced more than 75 deals, shedding slow-growing and less profitable brands such as the U.S. confectionery and ice cream business, as well as much of its bottled water business in North America. At the same time, it has increased in businesses that are more attuned to changing consumer tastes, including coffee, pet food, nutrition, health and wellness.
Nestlé, which has been defining its presence in the coffee market for years with Nescafé, Taster’s Choice and Nespresso, expanded its presence in the premium segment by acquiring a stake in the popular Blue Bottle coffee chain and buying out Chameleon in 2017. The following year, she paid $7.15. billion in Starbucks to sell the chain’s coffee beans and beverages to grocery stores and other outlets around the world.
In a statement, Nestlé confirmed the sale of Chameleon, but did not provide details on why it decided to get rid of the brand. “With this sale, Nestlé will continue to focus on its portfolio of leading coffee brands,” the company said in a statement.
Perhaps Nestlé, with its global reach, was too limited by Chameleon’s idea of organic, sustainably grown, and ethical coffee, making it difficult for the brand to grow on a large enough scale, even if it lived up to its founding values. The company could also prioritize its other premium and established coffee brands.
It is the latest brand with a socially friendly halo to give way to large consumer products. Just last month, Coca-Cola announced plans to phase out Honest tea, an organic, low-sugar, Fair Trade-certified brand that has seen sales slump. Instead, the beverage giant said national brand Gold Peak and regional Peace Tea will now solidify their North American ready-to-drink tea strategy.
Systm Foods, the new owner of Chameleon, said it is prioritizing brands that produce high quality, plant-based and innovative products for everyday use. Chameleon stands by its shared product goal of championing the best ingredients for you, environmental sustainability and social responsibility – three qualities highly valued by today’s consumer. The Systm Platform is a partnership between Systm Brands and PowerPlant Partners, a venture capitalist in companies that are better for humanity and the climate.
Founded in 2010 in Texas, Chameleon has become the leading organic cold beer brand in the US and one of the best chilled cold beer offerings in the country, the company said in a statement. Its current portfolio consists of multi-serving concentrates and single-serving ready-to-drink products.
Mark Rampolla, founding partner of PowerPlant Partners, said that Chameleon “has grown significantly over the past few years and its social goals are fully in line with our beliefs as investors.”
Cold brew coffee has been one of the fastest growing beverage categories and the acquisition of Chameleon will give its owners a significant footprint in the field. In 2017, US sales were about $166 million. according to Statista. By 2025, this figure is projected to rise to more than $940 million.