Treo Brands, a New York-based beverage company focusing on plant-based hydration, announced on Monday the launch of its inaugural product, Treo Organic Birch Water Infusion. The beverage will launch at Natural Products Expo East 2016 in Baltimore this week. Treo will be the first fruit-infused birch waters on the U.S. market, available in Strawberry, Blueberry, Peach Mango and Coconut Pineapple flavors, and comes in 16 oz. PET bottles at an SRP of $2.79.
Treo founder Bob Golden, son of Snapple co-founder Hyman Golden, discovered birch water while visiting Europe, where the beverage is popular. Company president Brian O’Byrne — who sold YooHoo and Orangina into the Snapple Group at Cadbury — says high overall consumer interest in healthy, plant-based waters motivated Treo to enter the market.
While birch water has been on the market for some time, Treo hopes to distinguish itself in several ways. In addition to being the first U.S. brand and first fruit-infused birch water on the market, the beverage is also the only one exclusively sourced from U.S. birch trees in Vermont. A blend of stevia and erythritol is used as a natural sweetener for the four flavors, all of which are certified organic, non-GMO, OU and gluten free. Each is 10 calories per serving. O’Byrne cites naturally occurring nutrients like manganese and vitamin C as additional benefits, but he sees Treo’s taste as its primary attraction to consumers.
“Coconut water and some of the other plant-based waters are OK, but they don’t entice you to want more,” said O’Byrne. “We wanted to have a product with birch water as the main ingredient, but have it taste great. Using fruit juice gives it a full flavor without any added sugar.”
O’Byrne said Treo will focus their initial attention on the Northeast region in the natural channel, at retailers like Whole Foods and Mrs. Greens Natural Market, positioning itself as a healthy, better-tasting, and low-calorie hydration option. Former Snapple CEO Mike Weinstein, a partner with O’Byrne at Inov8 Beverages, is also on board as a strategic advisor. Distribution is being handled by The Touch Agency.
“We want to start by exposing the product to more traditional buyers,” said O’Byrne. “We do think there is crossover into grocery stores with organic sections.”