Interview With The President And CEO: Jones Soda Co. (JSDA) - Bill Meissner

67 WALL STREET, New York - March 19, 2012 - The Wall Street Transcript has just published its Restaurants, Food and Drinks Report offering a timely review of the sector to serious investors and industry executives. This 49 page feature contains expert industry commentary through in-depth interviews with public company CEOs, Equity Analysts and Money Managers. The full issue is available by calling (212) 952-7433 or via The Wall Street Transcript Online.

Topics covered: Shift Toward Healthier Food Options - Consumer Spending Patterns Polarize - Emerging Market Expansion - Baby Boomers, Millennials and U.S. Hispanic Preferences

Companies include: Attitude Drinks (ATTD); BJ's (BJRI); Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE); Pepsico's (PEP); Smucker's (SJM); and many more.

In the following brief excerpt from the Restaurants, Food and Drinks Report, expert analysts discuss the outlook for the sector and for investors.

Bill Meissner was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Jones Soda Co. in April 2010. He is a 16-year veteran of the beverage industry and brings to the company an exceptional track record of brand building and rapid revenue growth, having taken several products from ideation through commercialization. Most recently, Mr. Meissner served as President of Talking Rain Beverage, a privately held beverage company based in Seattle, Wash. Previously, he served as Chief Marketing Officer of Fuze Beverages, a new-age category brand leader and division of Coca-Cola North America. Prior to that, Mr. Meissner held other senior-level positions in the new-age beverage field, including Brand Director and Director-Brand Development with SoBe Beverages, a division of Pepsi Cola North America, as well as Vice President of Sales and Marketing of the startup venture SoBe Chocolate. Mr. Meissner began his career with Tetra Pak Inc., a private multinational consumer beverage packaging firm based in Lausanne, Switzerland, where he worked as a Category Manager and Regional Account Manager. He holds an MBA in marketing and strategy from the University of Pittsburgh and a bachelor's degree in marketing from Michigan State University.

TWST: Would you begin by giving us a brief overview of the Jones Soda Co. and then describe what you see as your company and business today?

Mr. Meissner: We are a 16-year-old company, but we act a lot more like a startup. Right now, we make premium sparkling soft drinks with value-added ingredients. Our consumer offerings are colorful and fun, and they're communicated in an alternative fashion to the category in general. We outright own the idea of user-generated branding for the beverage industry.

TWST: What does the soft drink market look like today? What are the growth opportunities and market share opportunities like?

Mr. Meissner: It's a dynamic place. It's $90 billion at retail in the U.S. It's a giant category, but it is losing 1% to 2% per year. And for a company from Jones' perspective, it's certainly dominated by the large players. The best example I give folks is that there is about 4% of this basic grocery available to non-Coke, Pepsi, Cadbury and private label. So if you add those four players, private label as one player, that particular retailers' offerings, in the soft drinks sector, is usually only about 4% for independents. So the retailer is protective of that space and keeps it for innovative brands that add incrementally to their shopper experience, and Jones very much does that. We see this decline as an opportunity in that, if you think about 1% to 2% on $90 billion, you're looking at up to $1.8 billion of migrating consumer demand. If you look at the research on why that consumer is falling off of soft drinks or carbonated soft drinks, it is because they are looking for something healthier, not because they don't like bubbles or carbonation. We are trying to capture that with more natural ingredients, not using high fructose corn syrup, instead using pure cane sugar. Because if you're a carbonated soft drink person, you prefer that - it's a better meal complement and taste profile. You don't have buyer's remorse or consumer's remorse following consumption, and Jones very much is in line to capture that, whereas the large guys are really missing out on those consumer opportunities.

TWST: What has been the growth formula as far as organic growth, new opportunities, more services versus those that M&A could bring in? What do you anticipate as the opportunities M&A could provide?

Mr. Meissner: The current growth strategy has been cross-channel growth and then growing within our channel. We have a product that sells very well in a small footprint; we need to increase that footprint or grow distribution. That really has been the strategy today, and I would call that organic growth. M&A is a huge opportunity in consumer packaged goods, and you have to scale to compete effectively in CPG. Where there are synergies of production and distribution, that is where M&A opportunities exist for Jones. We see products out there that are in the same channels, and we use the same contract manufacturers for the same contract manufacturing type, which are great M&A opportunities and discussions to have as we grow and grow.

The Wall Street Transcript is a unique service for investors and industry researchers - providing fresh commentary and insight through verbatim interviews with CEOs and research analysts. This 49 page special issue is available by calling (212) 952-7433 or via The Wall Street Transcript Online.

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