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New beverage launches at Expo East, perhaps more than in recent memory, pushed the boundaries of innovation and novelty. Some came from overseas; others owe their roots to Yankee innovation. Among the many new drinks, we discovered a new fruit juice, a beer-like carbonated drink, drinks with billions of bacteria in them , a smoothie made from a grain whose name begins with a “Q”, and soda made from a cactus.
BevNET’s coverage of the 2007 Expo East show coverage on BevNET is sponsored by LIV Natural, an all natural sports drink available in Orange, Lemon and Berry flavors in 12 oz PET bottles. Visit www.liv-natural.com to learn more.
A New Age Malternative
Bionade - The popular non-alcoholic, organic, carbonated beverage from Germany is now available in the United States. Bionade sold 60 million bottles in 2006 and expects to sell 250 million bottles in 2007. The line-up has four flavors: Elderflower, Herb, Lychee and Ginger-Orange. Each bottle has only 60 calories. Bionade is produced by a propriety fermentation process similar to brewing beer in which the malt sugar is transformed into gluconic acid rather than alcohol. The company is a privately owned family business. Distribution in the United States will be handled by Spaten on the West coast and by independent distributors in other regions of the United States.
Acai , pomegranate and the ever increasing host of exotic superfruits continued to dominate new juice introductions. We even came across a fruit whose juice is brand new to the U.S. market, Yumberry, a popular red-juiced fruit from China. I guess when you import a fruit into a country for the first time, you have the authority to give it a nicely branded name!
Frutzzo – Introduced its new line-up of Yumberry drinks. Frutzzo, known for organic pomegranate juices, is the first North American company to offer a Yumberry juice. The 3 sku line-up includes a straight Yumberry version, as well as a Yumberry Pomegranate and a Yumberry Raspberry flavors.
Cell-Nique—New line-up of nutritionally-fortified juice blends: Emerge (Pomegranate), Evolve (Tropical Fruits), Enlight (Apple), Embody (Citrus Vanilla) and Lau-Tzu (Kukicha Tea). Each flavor contains 11 Greens (spirulina, cracked shell chlorella, wheat grass, alfalfa grass, barley grass, blue-green algae, alfalfa sprouts, barley sprouts, oat sprouts, spinach and broccoli), 5 fruits (noni, acai, goji, apple and billberry), 4 veggie proteins (hemp, pea, quinoa, brown rice) and 6 herbs (garcinia cambogia, olive leaf, pa d’arco, licorice root, grape seed extract, green tea extract). The drinks are 95% organic and expected to retail at around $5.99. The drinks are sweetened with raw agave and stevia.
Fizz Ed – New from Apple & Eve is Fizz Ed, 8.4-oz canned 70% juices made specifically for the kids market (think Physical Education) in Orange Mango, Green Apple, Red Raspberry, and Pomegranate Cherry.
Zola Acai – Introduced its new shrink-sleeve 12 oz PET packaging. The line of traditional acai juices had previously been available only Tetra-Pak containers.
Vita Coco – Provided a glimpse of its soon-to-be-release tangerine flavor of its coconut juice line-up.
Flavor Brazil—New acai juice blend in 10 oz glass bottles. The shelf stable blend includes acai palm berry juice, white grape juice, guarana berry extract, and soy lecithin.
Maine Root – Will soon be introducing soda made from wild-harvested prickly pear cactus juice.
Probiotics: Bugs in Jugs
Long popular in Europe, probiotics appear to be coming into their own here in North America. Probiotics is an umbrella term used to describe those foods or beverages which promote intestinal health. The term is euphemistic in as much as it is most often used to describe consumables that are fortified with beneficial bacterial cultures. For those of you that can’t stomach the thought of intentional chugging bacteria, odds are you’ve eaten a probiotic food already: yogurt.
Probiotic bacteria somehow manage to survive the acidic environment of the stomach, and eventually find a home in the intestinal tract of their human host. Particular strains of these pro-bugs are thought to promote intestinal health and prevent certain intestinal disorders. Strange that we should now be consuming juices whose potency is measured by how many billions of bacteria they contain per serving.
In the past year, we’ve seen a couple of probiotic beverages: Probugs, a kefir from Lifeway, and more recently Probiotic from Naked Juice. We found two more at the show.
Pro.bio.MAX—new line of dairy-based probiotic smoothies from LacPro. Package in 10 oz shrink-sleeve plastic bottles, Pro.bio.MAX contains 30 billion probiotics per 10 oz serving. The flavors are: Cinnamon Chai, Strawberry, and Peach.
Verb Good Belly - Shot-sized, juice-based probiotic product from NextFoods. The company was founded by Steve Dimos, the founder of White Wave. The 4 oz shot-sized line-up is available in three flavors, Peach, Blueberry and Strawberry. Good Belly will be sold in the yogurt section of grocery stores, although it is technically not a yogurt. Good Belly contains no dairy, soy, gluten or added sugar. The main functional ingredient in Goodbelly is Lp299v, a bacterial culture. Each servings contains approximately 20 billion live organisms!
Going with the Grain
The health benefits of specific grains have long been understood. The ability to incorporate those grains into beverages is more of a recent development. One such beverage we found at the show particularly stood out.
Quinoa Gold - New line of quinoa-based, agave-sweetened drinks. Packaged in 16 oz bottles, the drinks have a smoothie-like texture with the ground quinoa grain in suspension. They are available in three gluten-free, organic flavors: Pina Colada, Mango and Mixed Berry. Quinoa’s is gaining popularity in the United States in popularity as due to its nutritional profile that includes the unique balance of nine essential amino acids as well as fiber, protein, B vitamins such as iron, niacin, zing, manganese, riboflavin and magnesium.
Ayala Herbal Water —New herbal water line-up available in six flavors: cinnamon orange peel, lemongrass mint vanilla, jasmine vanilla, lavender mint lemongrass thyme, cloves cardamom cinnamon and ginger lemon peel. The product comes in 16 oz PET bottles and is zero cal/all-natural.
Bot fortified water – Not exhibiting at the show, but Princeton, NJ-based bot LLC introduced us to its line of 12 oz fortified bottled waters (berry, grape and orange). The water is fortified with B3, B5, B6 and B12 vitamins and are low in sugar. www.botbeverages.com
Hansen Naturals - Introduced its new line-up of flavored sparkling waters (Valencia Orange, Cranberry Grapefruit, Blueberry Pomegranate, Valencia Orange). The products are packaged in attractive 10.5 oz slim cans. The products are sweetened with cane sugar and contain 90 calories per can.
Eldorado- New line-up of vitamin-charged natural sping waters from Eldorado Springs, CO. Available in four flavors: Black Raspberry, Sicilian Orange, Pink Passion Guava and Strawberry Blueberry.
Tea and Maté
Teas are always at home at the Natural Products Expos. We continued to see mate appearing in new beverages, both as an stimulant ingredient and as the main ingredient. Green tea also continues to make its way into beverages.
Steaz—New line-up of four diet green tea sodas in 12 oz glass: Raspberry, Orange, Blueberry Pomegranate and Black Cherry. The drinks use a minimal amount of cane sugar for sweetness, and have only 40 calories per 8 oz. serving.
Tradewinds – Presenting its line-up of PET bottled teas. Also offering a gallon size organic black tea.
Nuture by Nature – New shrink-wrapped yerba mate tea in 16 oz bottles in four flavors: Sweet Pear, Honey Lemon, Mixed Berry and Brazilian Orange.
Sweet Leaf—Intoduced its Pomegranate Green tea in a 16 oz glass bottle.
Cricket – Introduced two new sparkling green tea beverages: Mandarin Orange and Pomegranate Raspberry. The flavors complement Cricket’s existing Green Tea Cola and Diet Green Tea Cola.
T.O. Bevy – Line-up of four organic bevs with 5% alcohol. They come in four flavors: Mang (mango), Blacur (black currant), Cran (cranberry), & Pomm (pomegranate).