HOW AB INBEV IS LEADING INNOVATION IN THE BEER INDUSTRY AND HELPING ADDRESS GLOBAL WATER CHALLENGES
HOW AB INBEV IS TRANSFORMING THE BEER INDUSTRY THROUGH INNOVATION
One of the best things about being outdoors is sunshine, and our iconic Mexican lager, Corona, is always finding new ways to remind people of that feeling. This year, the brand introduced an industry-first: offering ‘sunshine, anytime' in the form of Corona Sunbrew 0.0%, the world’s first non-alcoholic brew with vitamin D - the same vitamin you get from the sun.
Jonathan Ritter, Global VP of Innovation, says unique products like this are just one example of how AB InBev is reimagining what a beer company can be.
To lead and grow the beer category and realize our purpose of creating a future with more cheers, AB InBev is harnessing the power of innovation,” he says. “We are unlocking unprecedented insight into the needs of our consumers and customers to deliver more choices, more convenience, more occasions and value for all - from consumers to retailers and the farmers who grow our ingredients.”
New products, more choices
Consumer behaviors and needs are changing all the time. Our brewers and beverage innovators are always looking ahead to meet the moment and offer more choices. Right now, this means leaning in to lower and no-alcohol beverages, increasing our focus on better-for-you products, craft beers and locally inspired drinks. Some of our latest standouts are:
Stella Artois Unfiltered: Based on a Belgian brewing method from the past, this naturally unfiltered, hazy, golden lager was brought to market in unique super premium packaging and is also sold in six-liter kegs compatible with Perfect Draft, our new, easy-to-use, in-home draft system.
Budweiser Zero: Anheuser-Busch's first no-alcohol brew was launched in 2020 to meet growing consumer demand for an alcohol-free brew that doesn’t compromise on taste or the experience. Budweiser Zero is making its global debut at the 2022 FIFA World Cup™ and FIFA Fan Festivals™.
Sedrin Lychee and 059 Coastline Craft : Craft beer fans in China with a taste for locally inspired ingredients and flavors can find both in our new 059 Coastline Craft brand, while national favorite Sedrin has put a new twist on our classic premium beer by adding the sweet flavor of locally grown lychee.
Technology to address pain points, transform our business
Across AB InBev we are shifting into a digitally driven, technology-focused company. Our teams are creating innovative solutions for consumers and retailers so our businesses and communities can thrive.
BEES, Zé Delivery and TaDa Delivery: More than three million small- and medium-sized retailers use BEES, our B2B digital commerce platform that enables them to browse products, place orders, earn rewards, arrange deliveries and manage invoices all in one place. For beer lovers looking for the convenience of home delivery, our direct-to-consumer e-commerce platforms, Zé Delivery in Brazil and TaDa Delivery across Latin America, are both making the most of their biggest moment yet: the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Reci Veci: In 2021, as part of our third 100+ Accelerator cohort, Reci Veci developed a proprietary app to connect individual households to grassroots recyclers in Ecuador. The app serves two major cities, Quito and Cuenca, that lack institutional recycling programs. To date, the pilot has supported the collection of more than 65 tons of recyclables. AB InBev partnered with The Coca-Cola Company to co-fund this innovation and bring it to market.
Optimizing our breweries: Our Supply teams are implementing machine learning, artificial intelligence and other technology to reduce energy consumption and improve equipment performance at our breweries. Our industry-leading work led to AB InBev winning the 2022 Manufacturer of Year Award from the Manufacturing Leadership Council, and the Best Technology Innovation Award at FoodBev Media's 2022 World Beverage Innovation Awards.
Innovating for shared prosperity
A future with more cheers is one where our communities, the planet and our company all prosper. It means furthering sustainability, innovation, inclusivity and local impact through initiatives like:
100+ Accelerator: We mobilize some of the world's most passionate entrepreneurs through our 100+ Accelerator to help make progress on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and AB InBev’s ambitious goals to advance water stewardship, smart agriculture, circular packaging and climate action, as well as biodiversity and inclusive growth. The program was recently recognized with a World Sustainability Award for its work with Unilever, Colgate-Palmolive and The Coca-Cola Company. It also just introduced a record number of participants for its fourth cohort.
Sunman Energy, a 100+ Accelerator participant, has successfully commercialized glass-free, lightweight and flexible solar panels. The modules have been installed on AB InBev’s brewery in Wuhan, China, helping to decrease electricity costs at the site by nearly 10%.
EverGrain: Through EverGrain, we are transforming barley used for brewing into high-quality, nutritious and sustainable protein ingredients that can be used in a variety of foods and beverages. This year EverGrain opened its first major production site in St. Louis, Missouri to meet growing consumer demand for plant protein.
BioBrew: Based on population growth and modern consumption patterns, more food will be needed in the next 30 years than has been produced in all human history, putting increased pressure on conventional food supply systems and natural resources. With our precision fermentation platform, BioBrew, we are developing plant-based protein via fermentation to help address the world's food security challenges.
Learn more about innovation at AB InBev.
5 WAYS AB INBEV IS HELPING ADDRESS GLOBAL WATER CHALLENGES
Water is more than just a key ingredient in our products. It is a critical resource for the health and well-being of communities around the world.
At AB InBev, we recognize that water is closely linked to many other sustainable development issues. As the world’s leading brewer, we are focused on being part of the solution to the growing water challenges across our communities and supply chain.
We aim to be as efficient as possible with the water used in our brewing processes. Between 2017 and 2022, we reduced water consumption by 14% and achieved a water efficiency ratio of 2.64 hectoliter/hectoliter across our sites globally last year, bringing us closer towards our goal of 2.5 hectoliter/hectoliter by 2025. We are equally committed to having a positive impact across the communities in which we operate, setting a goal to have measurable improvement in water availability and quality across 100% of our sites in high water risk areas.
Here are five examples of how we’re working to help accelerate change and achieve our goals through holistic, local solutions to a global crisis.
Driving water use efficiency within our operations
Within our operations we are working to drive water-use efficiency, responsible discharge and effluent re-use. In the water-scarce nation of South Africa, our local brewer South African Breweries (SAB) is leveraging green innovation to treat brewery waste streams and reuse water to irrigate a sustainable spinach crop for the local community.
The water has enough nutrients to grow spinach without additional fertilizer and irrigation. The spinach beds, in turn, reduce the water’s nutrient concentration so the water can be recovered and reused in the brewery. This novel system has created jobs, supported the production of spinach for local retailers and helped clean brewery effluent to support the watershed. This project supports the water use efficiency ratio of our brewery, and we estimate that it has supported the watershed with approximately 100,000 cubic meters of water each year. It is a project with many wins, and we are now piloting the approach in Tanzania.
Investing in shared water security and watershed health through partnerships
The Jaguari River basin is the water supply for most of the population in Jaguariuna, Brazil. Climate change, seasonal unpredictability of rainfall and loss of native vegetation have negatively impacted the overall availability of water.
Through the Bacias Jaguariuna water fund, we have partnered with public institutions, technical agencies and partners, including The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the City of Jaguariuna, Agência das Bacias PCJ, Embrapa and Brazil’s National Water Agency, to address these challenges. After conducting an initial assessment of the watershed, the water fund developed a Payment for Environmental Services program that helps to incentivize the adoption of conservation practices and also implemented watershed conservation and restoration projects to help increase water availability. Together with our partners the effort is conserving nearly 400 million liters of water annually.
Supporting water access in local communities
Our team in India is working to improve water accessibility and security in the communities around our breweries through long-term local watershed initiatives. An initiative with WaterAid India, International Crops Research Institute for The Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), LetsEndorse, Force and local authorities is supporting the construction of watershed structures like anicuts, which are small, sometimes temporary, dams developed using ancient masonry techniques, across four Indian states.
The initiative has restored 1.6 million hectoliters into groundwater. Along with activities around improving water availability and accessibility, the projects also provide training and awareness sessions on water-demand management.
Expanding water solutions across our value chain
Rice is a key ingredient for many of our beers, most notably Budweiser in the US. Since 2019, Anheuser-Busch and Indigo Ag, a US-based agricultural technology company, have partnered to help US rice farmers adopt industry-proven conservation practices and innovative irrigation methods, such as alternate wetting and drying (AWD).
Historically AWD can be expensive to implement, difficult to track and unsuitable for some fields. To allow more farmers to participate and to boost their revenue, we expanded our AWD program in 2022, conserving approximately 1.5 billion gallons of water (roughly 5.7 billion liters).
Broadening our impact through key partnerships
We continue to engage in global partnerships such as the Water Resilience Coalition, the 2030 Water Resources Group and the Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable (BIER). We also regularly publish reports to share our experiences and learnings, such as Waterways To Resilience Nature-Based Solutions For Adaptation In Africa (in partnership with the World Wildlife Foundation) and A Recipe For Impact: Key Ingredients For Companies To Drive Measurable Impact In Watershed Health (in partnership with TNC).
Learn more about our progress and commitment to water stewardship in our 2022 Environmental, Social and Governance Report.