• Great Britain

UK Functional boom a bust?
Functional beverage marketers may want to cast a wary eye at the United Kingdom, where Mintel research said the functional boom may be over.

Mintel said UK consumers have grown disillusioned with functional ingredients they don’t understand, and are instead trending toward natural foods. The functional foods market grew by only three percent in 2007, Mintel noted, after growing by 171 percent between 2002 and 2007.

Despite the gloomy numbers, Mintel predicted the market would grow by another 72 percent between 2007 and 2012, with immune and cognitive functions leading the pack.

“Greater health awareness amongst consumers will continue to drive growth,” Mintel’s report said. “With consumers leading increasingly busy lifestyles, convenience is also key.” So-called ‘ethical brands’, which pledge a portion of their sales or profits to improving sustainability or quality within the water supplies of developing countries, have doubled their sales volume on the UK market, according to segment analyst Zenith International.

Ethical Water Rallies the Category Just as Craft Beer kept suds afloat in the U.S. for the past couple of years, it appears that so-called “ethical water brands” might be the hope for the U.K. bottled water industry, according to Zenith International. Just as Give water is making a splash in the U.S., brands like Global Ethics, Belu, and Frank have begun appearing in Great Britain. That goes in the face of a decline in the bottled water growth rate that has been similar to the ongoing one in the U.S.

Bottled water manufacturers that attempt to show a more caring side of the business are defying an overall slump for the product in the UK market, according to new research. “Despite such a disappointing summer, the role of bottled water in emergency situations and the surge in ethical waters highlighted new areas of consumer resonance,” noted Zenith’s Gary Roethenbaugh.


• Package Club
If you’re looking for the right packaging idea for your next beverage, Mintel has a club for you. Mintel Research consultancy is launching a packaging innovation club that will send members a collection of cleverly-packaged products from around world on a quarterly basis. The products will come with a presentation explaining why they were chosen and how their packaging could be adapted to work for different products or in different markets.

A Mintel spokesperson said the club wouldn’t be cheap – with a more than $11,000 annual fee – but Mintel adds 650 new products to its database every day.

• Clear Choices
The Glass Packaging Institute named in June the winners of its 2008 Clear Choice Awards. This year’s winners include XanGo, Q Tonic, Tizane Beverages, Miller Chill, Tin Roof Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, UV Vodka and Sake2me.

“Through designing and using glass packaging for your brand, you are leading the way in providing your customers with what they really want — a ‘pure,’ ‘premium’ and ‘sustainable’ product,” said GPI President Joseph Cattaneo. “Choosing glass for a food, beverage, or cosmetic product is an environmentally friendly decision that allows for a package design that creates superior shelf impact and brand loyalty.”

• Hot New Packaging Idea of the Month 1: Hybridization

Packaging manufacturer Aisapack has developed a new re-sealable beverage package for the Belgian sports drink company WCUP. The product is a mix between a bottle, can, and pouch – offering improved recyclability and extra convenience for consumers.

The botanouch (what ELSE should we call it?) has a rigid base, shoulder and cap, but uses an aluminum-reinforced soft laminate for the walls. The transportation advantages are obvious, but according to the manufacturer, the materials usage will also be lower, further decreasing the carbon footprint.

Aisapack claims that the packaging can reduce the carbon footprint required by a rival polyethylene terephthalate (PET) container using a shrink sleeve by about 50 percent.

• Hot New Packaging Idea of the Month 2: Tear-Off Labeling
South Australia wine label Oxford Landing has come up with a nifty way for consumers to remember their brand, even if they’ve consumed the entire bottle: a label with a tear-off back, which makes hanging onto the brand and grape a snap. (Personally, we use our camera phone). • Packaging Briefs
Wild Flavors, which had previously developed a co-manufacturing partnership with American Purpac Technologies (APT) of Beloit, Wisc., has acquired the company. APT is a leading aseptic/hot fill contract manufacturer providing bulk blending, ingredient processing and filling for the food and beverage industries.

New research from The Nielsen Company shows that more than half of U.S. consumers would give up all forms of packaging provided for convenience purposes if it would benefit the environment. U.S. consumers are slightly more likely to give up packaging for convenience purposes than the average global consumer.

Ball Corporation is bringing Eyeris, a proprietary, enhanced beverage can printing technology, to the North American market. The technology, which is exclusive to Ball, brings improved definition and fine detail to beverage can graphics to create premium, on-shelf differentiation. Ball Corporation has also received two Sustainable Packaging Leadership Awards for its 750 mL PET wine bottles for Painted Turtle wines from Artisan Wine Company of British Columbia.

Yoshida Foods International (YFI) has expanded its capabilities in its 70,000-square-foot plant near the Portland International Airport, creating one of the most extensive facilities for manufacturing and co-packing high-end beverages and specialty sauces on the West Coast


• Trend: U-Boomers
While beverage companies are jostling to create the next energy drink targeting a teen-aged audience, a few clever firms may be getting products ready for the emerging baby-boomer market – particularly the so-called “U-Boomers.”

McKinsey Global Institute defines U-Boomers as those 24 million soon-to-be retired middle class households that can’t afford a “Lexus lifestyle,” but still feel financially optimistic – a group that the institute predicts will account for almost 25 percent of total U.S. consumption by 2015.

McKinsey said this group is generally unhealthy but deeply concerned about their health and interested in proactive health management. They’re also technologically savvy, interested in convenience and want to feel clever instead of old or cheap. That sounds like the beginning of a marketing plan.

• Label Claims
The majority of American consumers (60%) “always” look for the expiration date according to a new report released by The Hartman Group. Among 16 different package components tested, the first and third most frequently examined label elements relate to freshness.

“The majority of American consumers ‘always’ look for expiration dates while close to half of consumers ‘always’ look at the freshness or ‘made on’ date, said Laurie Demeritt, President and COO of The Hartman Group, Inc, a leading consumer insights firm. “Many shoppers express frustration with locating freshness related information such as the expiration, ‘made on’ or ‘sell by’ date. Ditto on the frustration front when it comes trying to decipher elements of the nutrition facts panel because of variations in product properties (e.g., total calories) in relation to serving size that vary by product type, brand or category.”

Meanwhile, the American appetite for recycling is growing faster than stink on month-old milk, according to a new study from Mintel.

The survey revealed that over one-third of adults (36 percent) claim to “regularly” buy green products. That’s a pretty amazing increase in the use of the term “regularly,” if nothing else, as a little more than a year ago only 12 percent made the same claim. The number of people who “never” purchase green products has been cut in half over the past 16 months, according to Mintel, from 20 percent to 10.

“We’re seeing the green movement rapidly transition from niche to mainstream,” said Colleen Ryan, senior analyst at Mintel. “Major companies have jumped onboard, promotional messages have changed, and the American public is increasingly looking at green products as a normal part of everyday life.”

More than half of the 18-24 year-olds polled claimed to regularly purchase green products, by the way. And since these are also a sweet spot for beverage consumption, you know what that means, right? Yep, you better get that carbon neutral certification cranked up.Formulation

• Cran-Milk
Functional beverage manufacturers have a new ingredient to add to their arsenal: cranberry seed oil.

Georgia-based AHD International received GRAS approval for its Luravida branded vegetarian oil, which offers fruit-based Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids without the fishy odor or taste. AHD President and CEO John Alkire said he planned to target the milk category – where products have been emerging with Omega 3 claims.

• Caffeine’s Calmed Buzz

The international Food Information Council Federation completed a comprehensive review of caffeine’s effects entitled Caffeine and Health: Clarifying the Controversies and summarized the following findings:

· Caffeine consumption does not adversely affect bone mineral density in women as long as they consume enough calcium.

· Caffeine should not pose any harm to pregnant women as long as they limit their consumption to 300 mg per day.

· Three cups of coffee per day is associated with slower rate of decline in cognitive performance in women.

· Caffeine may aid physical and mental performance

On the negative side, the review found that regular caffeine drinkers will experience short-lived withdrawal if they stop consuming the stimulant, the elderly and those with hypertension may be more vulnerable to negative effects and some studies have examined a link between caffeine use and both cancer and coronary disease – though there’s no evidence to show that caffeine causes them.

• HFCS Controversy, Naturally
The battle over high-fructose corn syrup has reached the regulatory front, where the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ruled that products containing the popular sweetener cannot be labeled as natural.

The ruling actually came as the result of a request by a media organization,, which posed the question in an effort to get the FDA to define the term “natural.”

Although the FDA made its stance clear with regard to HFCS, it continues to refuse to define “natural,” which remains a concern for many consumers and drink formulators. The ruling with regard to HFCS was due to the use of synthetic fixing agents in the preparation of the product.

Last year, the maker of the beverage 7-11 decided the drink could no longer be billed as “all-natural” under protest from consumer advocates. That was also due to its use of HFCS.

• Formulation Briefs
Robertet has introduced the second line in its series of new Xtreme Flavors. The available flavors include varieties of apple, pear, peach and plum.

A&B Ingredients, a leading solutions supplier of rice-based products and value-added ingredients, announced the availability of Pisane, a new non genetically modified (GMO) pea protein isolate. According to A&B, the product is particularly well suited, for weight control and sport foods.

InterHealth Nutraceuticals’ Super CitriMax has been grated a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for its ability to promote fat oxidation (fat burning). X Café LLC, a manufacturer of coffee extracts, has received the 2008 Award for Innovation in Business by the Smaller Business Association of New England (SBANE). The company was recently honored at a dinner on May 7 in Waltham with the prestigious New England Award.