Yamada Takahisa
Drink Talks

With more than 25 years of extensive experience in the food and beverage industry, Yamada is currently Representative Director of UMAMI COLA and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the International Craft Cola Federation.

Event Introduction
Drink Talks
 · 06/26 (Day 2)
Wow, Drink It Up!
4.2H - Hall C1
Category Innovation
In the ultra-competitive beverage sector, innovation in product, brand, or channel is like beating around the bush when it comes to occupying consumers' mind space. Perhaps we need a more comprehensive approach to drive long-term category innovation as consumers' perceptions are formed by category.
Faced with numerous beverage categories, FBIF2024 will break down the issue into two dimensions. 1. For categories that are slowing down, like carbonated drinks, fruit and vegetable juices and so on, where to seek new growth amid coexistence of consumption upgrading and downgrading? 2. For fast-growing smaller categories, like sports drinks, instant coffee, zero-sugar tea and so on, how to seize opportunities in category substitution and become the next-gen star categories?
Umami Cola: Craft Cola Kicks off Drink3 Era

There is little hope to see the authentic formula that Coca-Cola has poured 75 billion to protect and kept a secret for over 130 years, but innovation in carbonated beverages has been ongoing. Besides "reducing sugar," what other unique ideas can we explore? Takahisa Yamada, the founder of UMAMI COLA, drew inspiration from Japan's long history of sake brewing techniques and "brewed" a cola using herbal plants. I'd like to share with you a new formula I saw on the can in advance, as it looks irresistibly alluring.

Replacing sugar with koji from Hakkaisan, UMAMI Cola blends elderflower, tulsi, citrus depressa hayata with ingredients that are often found in energy drinks, arginine, nicotinic acid, BCAA, GABA, vitamin B, etc. 

(Well, I tried. Please see the picture and let the invited speakers tell you more.)

Link to agenda