Functional remains a focus
As consumers gain a better understanding of the relationship between gastrointestinal health and overall wellness, probiotics, and the prebiotics that fuel their growth, are finding their way into different types of beverages. Cold-pressed juice trailblazer Evolution Fresh, a business of Starbucks Corp., Seattle, continues to break boundaries with its new line for 2018. The company is introducing seven organic smoothies that combine cold-pressed fruit and vegetable juices with probiotics, coconut milk and other functional ingredients.
“We know a growing number of people are looking for more from their juice,” said Ryan Ziegelmann, president of Evolution Fresh. “With our expansion into functional beverages, we are putting 24 years of experience to work to authentically expand what cold-pressed, high-pressure processed juice can deliver.”
Starbucks and other coffee marketers continue to expand their R.-T.-D. cold-brew coffee offerings. One of the beauties of the cold-brew process is the coffee is less bitter. This allows for the development of beverages with no or very little sweetener. New Starbucks Cold Brew Super-Smooth Premium Black Coffee Drink, for example, is simply black coffee.
Peet’s Coffee and Tea, Emeryville, Calif., now offers a line of R.-T.-D. cold-brew coffee bottles. One of its specialties is The Black Tie, which is described as bold, smooth and never bitter. Other offerings include almond milk, au lait, dark chocolate and limited-edition peppermint mocha.
The WhiteWave Foods Co., Denver, is expanding its Stok cold-brew coffee brand with Stok Protein Espresso. Each 12-oz bottle contains 16 grams of protein. In February, the brand will compete in the R.-T.-D. tea category with the roll-out of Stok Yerba Mate.
This slow-brewed yerba mate, which is a species of the holly family (Aquifoliaceae), is said to possess more natural caffeine than coffee along with the health benefits of tea. The Stok product will make its debut in peach and slightly sweet varieties.
Expect to see more specialty R.-T.-D. teas in 2018, as consumers seek natural sources of energy. The added perk with tea is the inherent antioxidants.
That is what Dallas-based Purpose Tea is featuring in its beverages. The company is marketing the first branded R-.T.-D. purple tea in North America.
“Purple tea is grown exclusively in Kenya,” said Chi Nguyen, founder and c.e.o. of Purpose Tea. “It contains 15 times more anthocyanins than blueberries and has a greater degree of antioxidant activity than either green or black tea.”