The soft drink industry could soon fall under heavy pressure from lawmakers who seek to impose taxes on sugary drinks linked to a number of health issues. The regulatory headwinds facing big-name soda companies like The Coca-Cola Co (NYSE: KO), PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE: PEP) and Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc. (NYSE: DPS) could be significant, but one smaller competitor has made big strides in preparation for potential soda taxes.
Back in February, National Beverage Corp. (NASDAQ: FIZZ) announced the first ever “Soft-Drink Alternative” (SDA), a product that took four years to develop. National’s Shasta Sparkling brand became the beverage industry’s first “clean label” drink. Shasta Sparkling contains no calories, no sodium, no sweeteners and 100 percent all-natural ingredients.
“Shasta (SDA) Sparkling is redefining and revolutionizing how consumers have modified their tastes for a healthier, better-for-you alternative to sweetened soft drinks,” CEO Nick Caporella said.
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Traders are taking note. Since the beginning of April, National Beverage’s stock is up 30.1 percent, significantly outperforming Coca-Cola (-3.5 percent), Pepsi (+0.3 percent) and Dr Pepper Snapple (+1.4 percent).
Perhaps the most appealing thing about the company from an investment perspective is its massive room for growth. With a market cap of only $2.6 billion, National accounts for only a fraction of the market share of its larger rivals.
If local governments continue to turn up the heat on soda companies, more and more investors could start to find Shasta Sparkle’s clean label status quite refreshing.
Disclosure: The author holds no position in the stocks mentioned.
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