Leading Brands, Inc. Launches TREK™, Engineered Energy Into $58.9 Billion New Age Beverage Market
The First Ever 'Optimized Performance Beverage System' - Scientifically Proven to Enhance the Hydration Process
VANCOUVER, CANADA - April 18, 2002 -
Leading Brands, Inc. LBIX, Canada's largest independent, fully integrated food and beverage brand management company, and their wholly owned U.S. subsidiary, Leading Brands of America, today announced the world's first line of Optimized Performance Beverage™(OPB). Distributed under the proprietary brand name TREK™, Engineered Energy™, the innovative new drinks are more than just refreshments. OPBs are the result of years of development and are scientifically proven to enhance the hydration process and optimize individual performance.
According to Beverage Marketing Corporation, the estimated market for New Age beverages in the United States is approximately $58.9 billion. Energy drinks alone have grown at an average annual growth rate of 128% per year since 1997 and sports drinks last year sold more than 200 million cases in the US. Importantly, TREK™is expected to be on the shelves by mid-June 2002, and the Company has already received a strong response from distributors throughout the United States and Canada. TREK™ will be bottled at the Company's Alberta plant, and with existing 300,000 square feet of bottling and distribution facilities, the Company has sufficient capacity to support the launch and expansion of the brand.
Ralph D. McRae, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Leading Brands, stated, "We started with an adventurer's vision and achieved it through a careful balance of science and nature. Before development even began, we studied the effects of rigorous outdoor activity on the body and the ways to prepare for, counteract and recover from it.
"Our Research and Development group worked for more than two years to perfect the TREK System™, drawing also on the expertise of leading pharmacologist/physiologist, Dr. Thomas Davis of the University of Arizona. The result is something no one has seen before. TREK™ is a truly unique beverage - in it's own new category - that will hydrate you several times faster than existing products."
The TREK System™ is divided into three essential functions, each formulated to help the consumer properly maintain their hydration levels BEFORE, DURING and AFTER activity. At launch they will come in six all natural flavors.
-- FUEL, in Orange and Fruit Fusion flavors, forms a light and refreshing pre-activity beverage that prepares the body for periods of exertion.
-- BURN, in Cranberry-Grapefruit and Lemon-Lime flavors, is osmotically balanced for rapid rehydration during peak performance.
-- RECOVER, in Citrus and Wildberry flavors, replaces nutrients and helps cool the body.
Bob Miller, President of Leading Brands of America, commented, "We felt TREK™ demanded a unique type of distribution and pricing strategy. After covering the traditional retail channels, we will journey beyond and target the outdoor sporting goods and equipment stores that will further authenticate the TREK™ brand. TREK™ will start hitting the shelves in June 2002."
Mr. Miller continued, "Our customers push their limits every day, so when thinking about pricing, we needed to do the same. We wanted to assure that our distributors and retailers exceeded their typical margins, while still delivering value to the consumer. By leveraging the power and creativity of Leading Brands, we are able to do just that and still produce TREK™ with a suggested retail price of only $1.99 US. Furthermore, when our consumers purchase TREK™, they are not only buying Engineered Energy™, they're receiving a completely reusable and recyclable package - a real tool with real value that compliments a great tasting beverage."
TREK™ is the first beverage to be delivered in a "Bullet Proof," hot filled PET bottle, without unsightly heat panels, that is endlessly reusable. The 20.6 fl oz (620ml) bottle is topped with the innovative, heavy-duty Click Cap™, which opens with a single turn of the wrist and clicks audibly when fully closed. Attached to the Click Cap™ is a removable TREK™ branded carabiner that allows the adventurer to firmly secure the bottle during activity. The base of the bottle is molded into a functional compass and the reflective signaling mirror label includes a map ruler, and an explanation of the TREK System™. The components of the package would retail independently at a cost of $10 or more - without the beverage.
Howard Wishner, Chief Marketing Officer of Leading Brands of America, stated, "We knew right away that for the packaging to live up to the product, we'd have to develop something that would be of intrinsic value to our consumer. The package itself had to be an authentic tool, so we followed the example of the scientists that created the beverage and looked to fulfill the needs of the adventurer by creating something unique. With the functional side of the packaging designed, the final touch was adding an icon that shared our target market's ideals - a fellow adventurer equipped with all the tools necessary to support their journeys. That figure is KERT™."
Mr. Wishner concluded, "Inspired by an ancient Polynesian petroglyph symbolizing the essence of life, KERT™ appears on the beverage label encircled by an 8-point compass conveying constant journey. KERT™ embodies the principles behind the TREK System™and is a large part of our marketing campaign. TREK™ and KERT™ help you through your adventure. They let you know that when you set your mind to it, there is nowhere you can't go, nothing you can't do."
As the TREK™ marketing campaign is unveiled this Summer, the trade advertising, event sponsorship, web site, and POS elements along with creative marketing such as TREK's™ own song by one of Canada's new popular singing groups and the Local Heroes® grassroots campaign will reference KERT's™ adventures in a developing storyline.
About Leading Brands, Inc.
Leading Brands, Inc. (NASDAQ:LBIX) is North America’s only fully integrated premium beverage company. The Company’s unique Integrated Distribution System (IDS) ™ offers turnkey, one-stop shopping to food and beverage brand owners, including manufacturing, distribution, sales/marketing and licensing. In addition, Leading Brands produces their own line of beverages such as TrueBlue®, LiteBlue®, TREK® Natural Sports Drinks, NITRO® Energy Drinks, INFINITY® Health Water™, Country Harvest® Juices, and Caesar’s® Cocktails.
Forward Looking Statements
Certain information contained in this press release includes forward-looking statements. Words such as “believe”, “expect,” “will,” or comparable terms, are intended to identify forward-looking statements concerning the Company’s expectations, beliefs, intentions, plans, objectives, future events or performance and other developments. All forward-looking statements included in this press release are based on information available to the Company on the date hereof. Such statements speak only as of the date hereof. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the Company’s estimations and projections are disclosed in the Company’s securities filings and include, but are not limited to, the following: general economic conditions, weather conditions, changing beverage consumption trends, pricing, availability of raw materials, economic uncertainties (including currency exchange rates), government regulation, managing and maintaining growth, the effect of adverse publicity, litigation, competition and other risk factors described from time to time in securities reports filed by Leading Brands, Inc.