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Trendy Teas, Sodas, And Functional Drinks

Feb. 19, 2008
On the Shelf devotes this month's product profiles to beverage trends, including teas, sodas and functional drinks.

I. Product Review

A review by the Wellness Foods staff

Xing Tea

Releasing another ready-to-drink tea beverage in a market already flowing with enough tea to fill Lake Michigan takes courage (and sensible pricing, see below). But Tampa, Fla.-based Cott Corp. is doing just that in partnership with New Age Beverage Inc. to produce and distribute Xingtea. The line of green tea beverages sweetened with either pure cane sugar or honey, or sugar-free (sweetened with Splenda), comes in 13 varieties. We tested Just Plain Tea (with no sweeteners), Ginseng, Pomegranate & Honey, Raspberry, Half & Half (tea with lemonade) and Mango & Honey. The Just Plain Tea received many “just OK” comments and was deemed largely inoffensive. Comments such as “not unpleasant aftertaste” and “it’s exactly what it says it is” dominated. The raspberry got the most accolades from our panel: “The sugar-free raspberry is the best, and I don’t usually like green tea” from one enthusiastic tester. Loved the raspberry, and the Mango & Honey,” noted another. But one imbiber thought it tasted “fake” and another found it merely “not bad.” Also: “The Mango & Honey tasted natural, but the flavors don’t mesh   the honey gives a sweetness that separates from the rest of the flavors,” said another. Speaking of separation, one tester was “turned off by brown chunks when it poured out” of the Half & Half. Overall, the products were enjoyed, if not raved about. “Most are good examples of canned tea, tasting more like tea than the can,” summed up one tester who noted he does not usually drink cold tea.
Suggested retail price for a 23.5-oz. can is $1.39

II. Product Releases

Tea, Too

In other green tea news, the Healthy Beverage Co. (http://www.steaz.com/), Newtown, Pa., creators of Steaz Sparkling Green Tea beverages, introduces its newest line of caffeine-free green tea soft drinks in conjunction with the launch of the Steaz Healthy Schools Initiative. The new Sparkling Green Teas in trendy slim, 12 oz. cans are available nationwide. Lightly carbonated and decaffeinated, the new cans come in four popular flavors: Raspberry, Orange, Root Beer and Green Tea with Lemon.
Suggested retail price for a 12-oz. can is $1.39

Megazoic Era

Solis Brands Inc. (http://www.zoicbev.com/), Altamonte Springs, Fla., releases Zoic, a new functional meal-replacement beverage, comes with the American Heart Assn. “Heart-Check” mark and is qualified under the us FDA heart health claim. Unlike many other beverages within this category, Zoic offers needed nutrition with a small amount of calories - 110 per serving - and is 99 percent fat-free. Zoic contains Zōpro3, a natural protein blend with antioxidants. Zoic also has 26 essential vitamins and minerals and 21g of the highest quality proteins.
Suggested retail price is $7.99 per pack of four 11-oz. cans.

Super Sodas in Your Pocket

San Francisco-based Bevology LLC (www.zenergizehealth.com), launches Zenergize, its the new line “vitamin-InfuZed” drink tabs (remember “Fizzies” soft-drink tablets? They’re like that). Seven varieties are formulated with blends of vitamins, minerals and botanicals designed to address specific “need states:” Immunity, Hydrate, Energy+, Burn, Thrive, eMpower and Chill. Two include multivitamin varieties specially formulated for men and women. Delivered in effervescent form, each sugar-free tab dropped into 8-16 oz. cold water yields a fruit-flavored soft drink of just two calories. Zenergize tabs come in a portable tube of 10 tablets.
Suggested retail price per tube is $6.99

They Got the Juice

Orlando, Fla.-based NBI Juiceworks LLP (http://www.nbijuiceworks.com/), rolls out its Sun Shower line of “functional” fruit juice blends based on pure, pressed nectarine juice. Flavors include Nectarine, Nectarine Berry, Nectarine Mango and Turbo-G Superfood, which contains 20 nutrients, herb extracts and antioxidants. All are high in potassium, vitamin C, beta-carotene and other antioxidants. Turbo-G is marketed as enhancing energy and endurance beverage, as well as being heart-healthy. Among the nutrients and herbs contained in Turbo-G are: EGCG green tea extract, glucosamine, guarana, ginseng, grape seed extract and goji. It also has a full day's supply of vitamin C, and is a good source of potassium, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, zinc, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, iron, vitamin E and magnesium, and contains key amino acids, such as taurine and proline.
Suggested retail price for a 12-oz. bottle is $2.99.

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