Cheers! Beverages for Health

Ingredient suppliers are using technological advances to help beverage makers transform mass market beverages into healthful juice drinks and condition-specific formulations with double and even triple-digit growth.

By Kantha Shelke, Ph.D.

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Celsius, from Elite FX (www.elitefxbev.com), Delray Beach, Fla., uses a proprietary blend it claims can raise metabolism by 12 percent over a three hour period to burn up to 77 calories, depending on the individual's metabolism. The more mainstream Snapple Beverage Corp. (www.snapple.com), Rye Brook, N.Y., introduced its Snapple Green Teas with EGCG with labels claiming metabolic enhancement.

Beverage makers such as Fuze Beverages (www.fuzebev.com), Englewood Cliffs, N.J., and Pepsi USA (www.pepsico.com) are using Super CitriMax and ChromeMate as thermogenic ingredients in Fuze Slenderize and SoBe Lean, respectively. InterHealth Nutraceuticals (www.interhealthusa.com), Benicia, Calif., produces Super Citrimax and Chromemate as ingredients geared toward metabolism management. Super Citrimax, an alphahydroxy acid extracted from fruit rinds, purportedly interrupts carbohydrate metabolism while ChromMate, a chromium salt of niacin, is believed to help modulate insulin.

Gut and Mind

Japanese ingredient supplier Matsutani (www.matsutani.com), in partnership with Archer Daniels Midland (www.admworld.com), Decatur, Ill., helped Purchase, N.Y., based PepsiCo's Tropicana fortify orange juice with 3 g of fiber per 8-oz serving - restoring the fiber level to that in the whole fruit. Tropicana's Pure Premium Essentials contains FiberSol-2, a corn-derived soluble fiber supplied by ADM.

Ardea Beverage Co.'s Nutrisoda also released Renew, the first soda with soluble fiber   a full gram of it in an 8-oz. can. As with Nutrisoda's other beverages, Renew is enhanced with amino acids, vitamins and minerals and is "especially designed for health and well-being. Renew's formulation supports active intestinal health and may help boost the body's immune system."

According to Ram Chaudhuri, Ph.D., of Fortitech Inc. (www.fortitech.com), Schenectady, N.Y., "Beverage marketers are realizing fiber is an inexpensive way to differentiate and enhance the consumer appeal of their beverage."

Chanda Rowan, of Mintel International Group (www.mintel.com), N.Y., says the mental health market -- already established in the rest of the world -- is emerging as a new health platform for beverages. "Contrary to popular belief, baby boomers wanting to ward off Alzheimer's are not driving this trend," says Rowan. "Rather, stressed-out executives aged 30, moms with young children and peri-menopausal women are seeking ways to enhance their memory and stay alert."

Amino acids, especially taurine, are for this reason becoming hot additives to the beverage category. Once restricted to "sports beverages," drink makers Glacéau, FRS and Nutrisoda have taken full advantage of taurine as well as other amino acids in their formulations.

Japanese consumers have long valued ingredients that enhance mental clarity. GURU Energy Corp. (www.guruenergy.com), N.Y., recently launched GURU Energy Drink, an energy supplement designed to "invigorate mental alertness." The active components of the lightly carbonated drink includes all-natural extracts of guarana, panax ginseng, ginkgo biloba and Echinacea formulated to deliver each at their most effective levels. GURU used a rigorous scientific approach to optimize synergy of these proven elements from standardized botanicals to guarantee consistent potency in every batch.

Beverages have become a preferred delivery system for a number of nutraceuticals targeting a variety of health and wellness conditions. As beverage processors compete in a crowded market, the idea of merely quenching thirst is becoming a thing of the past for liquid refreshment. Look to multifunctional imbibements being the rule rather than the exception in the very near future.

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