Twist water, from Talking Rain, Seattle, features a “twist” of pure fruit juice and fruit essences in artesian water. With no sweeteners, preservatives or artificial ingredients, the eight flavors of Twist are formulated to provide just a hint of their fruit flavors.
Botanicals are just as strong on this side of the border. Philadelphia-based Ayala Inc.’s Herbal Water infuses herb-derived flavors and beneficial compounds without calories, artificial additives or preservatives. The products target refreshment and benefits to an educated consumer group. Not blatantly spelling out specific health benefits allows for the premium appeal of flavor combos such as clove-cinnamon-cardamom, cinnamon-orange peel, lavender-mint-lemongrass-thyme, lemongrass-mint-vanilla, ginger-lemon peel and jasmine-vanilla.
Enhanced waters are far from simple concoctions. The category demands superb knowledge of ingredients and technologies to ensure color and flavor retention for maximum enjoyment. Ram Chaudhari, chief science officer
Watering the Kids
at Fortitech Inc., Schenectady, N.Y., stresses the increasing sophistication of consumers.
Glaceau incorporates self-affirmed GRAS ingredients to distilled, deionized and/or reverse osmosis water to create vitaminwater Revive (vitamin B and potassium), Focus (vitamin A and lutein), and B-Relaxed – (vitamin B and theanine). Smartwater uses its electrolyte formulation as a marketing tool without detailing any functionality. Natural flavors and lower amounts of crystalline fructose position Fruitwater as an all-natural, low-calorie water.
O Beverages, Cambridge, Mass., flavored purified water with fruit essence in its O Water and added cane sugar to O Infused Water to counter consumer complaints of beverages being too sweet and artificial-tasting. Healthy Hydration LLC, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., built on this concept by infusing USDA-certified organic nutraceuticals in vapor-distilled water to produce WaterPlus Organic flavored water beverages with 50 calories per 8-oz. serving.
Negative consumer perception of corn syrup, erroneous or not (click to The Devil and High-Fructose Syrup), has driven a reformulation trend that favors crystalline fructose or good old sugar, badged as “evaporated cane juice” or, for the more straightforward marketers, “pure cane sugar.”
Aquafina Alive Energy and Immunity were formulated with new sweeteners and ingredients for debut this year. SoBe Life Water with crystalline fructose and herbs uses sodium salts to help round the flavor while qualifying for a “very low in sodium” claim. Women, conscious of bone health, helped Propel Calcium grow at an annual rate of more than 80 percent. Propel’s Invigorating Water is low calorie with 20mg of caffeine and B vitamins. Twinlab Corp./IdeaSphere Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich., a manufacturer of vitamins, minerals and nutraceuticals, offers its TwinCal waters. They contain 60mg of calcium in each bottle.
“Mineral solubility techniques are driving the incorporation of potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium in water,” says Amr Shaheed, head of technical service/beverages at Innophos Inc., Cranbury, N.J. “A hypotonic solution with lower concentrations of electrolytes than the body cells crosses the concentration gradient to hydrate dehydrating cells at a faster rate than isotonics, which hydrate more slowly.” Hydration is a key seller in health and beauty.
Waves of the future
Beyond flavorings and vitamins is the uberfunctional water, featuring naturally based functional chemical compounds or proteins and their fractions. These waters are designed for a more aggressive functionality – usually endurance or weight loss.
Soluble proteins and amino acids are purported to be good for endurance, weight management and muscle recovery. Ingredients such as PeptoPro casein hydrolysate, by DSM Food Specialties, Parsippany, N.J., allow for dissolution and rapid absorption of peptides in beverage solutions.
Battle Creek, Mich.-based Kellogg Co.’s Special K2O Protein Water delivers 5g of protein per 16-oz. bottle, and at only 50 calories. Special K2O Protein Water Mix is designed to help consumers with water consumption and weight management, and take the edge off hunger. Skinny Nutritional Corp., Bala Cynwyd, Pa., added guarana to its flavored fitness water. Guarana is said to improve cognition and enhance fat-cell reduction.
Weight management is an obvious target for enhanced waters. TrimWater from Lifestyle Beverage Co., Garden City, N.Y., claims to help balance weight loss and maintain energy. It includes 200mg hydroxycitric acid to suppress appetite, 22mcg chromium picolinate to help manage energy and 20mg of the anti-inflammatory glucosamine hydrochloride to help modulate blood glucose. Crystalline fructose and acesulfame-K add sweetness with fewer calories.
Darmstadt, Germany-based Aquanova allows for fortification with vitamin E and alpha-lipoic acid – potent and versatile nutraceuticals with limited application until recently. Long established among consumers and health experts, these were hindered by solubility issues. Lipoic acid, a physiological antioxidant, is popular for its role in energy metabolism, its protective effect against diabetes and recently as an “anti-aging nutrient.”
Water-soluble formulations of fat-soluble compounds are clinically proven to enhance bioavailability significantly over the conventional dispersions in oil; they also make it more palatable.