Behind The Scenes at the Dr Pepper Snapple Group #DPSBalance

I was delighted to take part in a virtual conversation with Dr Pepper Snapple Group and The Motherhood. 
While I was compensated for my time, all views and opinions expressed here are my own. 
It was an honor to be invited along with a handful of bloggers to join Dr Pepper Snapple Group and The Motherhood in a virtual conversation. We had the privilege of listening to a presentation given by members of the Dr Pepper Snapple team, and to participate in an open forum where we could ask our questions. I learned it was actually possible to love Dr. Pepper even more than I already did after hearing the heart behind the brand.
As a long-time Dr Pepper fan I like to keep Dr Pepper in my fridge from time to time, but I never knew how many other products were part of their brand. The Booper loves Mott's and the Mott's for Tots juice, and my husband prefers A&W Root Beer.

As the leader in flavored carbonated soft drinks Dr Pepper Snapple Group sells more than 50 brands of carbonated soft drinks, teas, juices, mixers and other premium beverages. Out of their 14 biggest brands, 13 are #1 or #2 in their respective category with 6 of the top 10 non-cola soft drinks brands in the business.

  • 19,000 employees
  • Fortune 500, publicly traded (NYSE:DPS)
  • Operations in North America, Caribbean

DPS 2015 Goals

• CALORIES IN: Half of all innovation projects focused on reducing calories, smaller 
portions and improved nutrition.

• CALORIES OUT: Support local and/or national programs encouraging active lifestyles.

Our commitment: 

• We believe that healthy lives depend on balance, balancing the calories you consume through food and beverages with the calories you burn through physical activity. Through our existing portfolio, as well as through innovation, R&D and our corporate social responsibility programs, we’re taking numerous steps to help the people who enjoy our products achieve that balance.

• Continue to provide a full range of products, with at least 50% of all innovation projects in the pipeline focused on reducing calories, offering smaller sizes and improving nutrition.

• Support local and national programs that encourage active lifestyles and fitness.

Let’s Play: A Meaningful Part of the Solution

To help address the decline of active play in communities across the U.S., Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPS) launched Let’s Play to provide the tools, spaces and inspiration to make play a daily priority.

1. Made an impact
To date, built or improved 2,000 playgrounds
To date, have provided 5 million children with the opportunity to play
2. Enhanced relationships
Worked in partnerships with our retailers and bottlers
Involved government officials
3. Engaged employees 
To date, have engaged more than 2,300 employee volunteers 
To date, have donated more than 18,000 volunteer hours

Let’s Play Program Expansion in 2014

DPS launched Let’s Play in 2011 with a $15 million three year partnership to build or improve 2,000 playgrounds with KaBOOM!, a national non-profit dedicated promoting active play. 
In 2014, DPS and KaBOOM! extended their partnership through 2016 with an additional $10 million commitment from DPS to continue providing kids the active play they need.
This year, DPS made a $1 million commitment to Good Sports, a national non-profit dedicated to promoting active play among older children by providing athletic equipment to disadvantaged young people nationwide. 
Let’s Play has expanded to include older children who lack the opportunity to participate in organized sports due to the cost of equipment, uniforms and entry fees.
We look at these programs both as being a catalyst for improvement and building customer and community relationships.
By the end of 2016, we will have donated more than $26 million to Let’s Play since we started three years ago.

Our Questions Answered: A few of my favorite questions and responses from our discussion. 

How long does it take to develop a product from start to finish? How does the team adjust to changes in trends and swings in public opinion? 

On average, an easy project takes a year, and a hard project takes two years. We try to anticipate needs and monitor trends. For example, we already have all of our ideas tested for 2016. We use research methodologies that let us think differently and anticipate trends that are going to come up. We really try to get out in front of it and get ahead of it! 

Is the Naturally Sweetened Dr. Pepper new? How is it sweetened?

It is new, currently in the test market stage. This particular product has taken longer than normal to process, because of two reasons: (1) the formula requires a lot of testing, and (2) it is going to have unique packaging. 

It is sweetened with real sugar and stevia and has 60 calories per 12 ounces. It’s also available in Canada Dry and 7UP in the test market. 

In the Good Sports program, do you award grants by the team, city, individually or in some other way? How is it decided who will be the beneficiary of the grant?

It’s not typically awarded individually, but we have provided sports equipment and recess kits to school districts. We provide sports equipment to teams through a sports organization, so it’s not one team getting new equipment, but all of them within the organization. 

I encourage everyone to go to the Let’s Play grants page, and see what grants are available! 

Now, for the question you've all been waiting for! 

What are the 23 flavors in the formula for Dr Pepper?

Only two people in the world know the formula to Dr Pepper. We can’t tell you who they are, but they are not in this room! It’s very, very top secret – that is for sure. 

Those delicious 23 flavors - wouldn't we all like to know! Sorry, I'm not one of the two people in the world who know the formula. I think the most surprising responses were the time spent developing new products, I was also amazed at the time involved becoming a certified flavorist. I feel honored to have taken part in this conversation with DPS. I loved learning about the heart behind this company. I'm impressed by how much they really care about helping communities create play opportunities for kids. A special thank you to the Dr Pepper Snapple team for graciously offering to pull back the curtain on their brands and let us take a peek behind the scenes of their daily operations. Thanks to The Motherhood for inviting me to join this conversation. 

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