Rollout Roundup: Better-for-You

A bevy of new beverages and snacks promise healthful, beneficial consumption

Published in Convenience Store Products

By  Steve Dwyer, CSP Reporter

Remember when consumers poured down bottled waters, sports drinks and juices simply to be refreshed or replenished? The better-for-you beverages that fill today’s robust pipeline are certainly not your father’s versions.

Trotting out buzzwords such as “enhanced,” “recovery,” “hydration” and “motion,” makers of better-for-you drinks are conjuring images that their brands have innate payoffs transcending simply drinking, with quenching thirst just a baseline benefit.

Additionally, beverage makers are going gangbusters to emphasize a single, perhaps exotic, brand component to crystallize their point of difference. This is witnessed with beverages laced with such additives as guarana berry, cucumber, coconut and carrots.

In the better-for-you packaged-snack segment, a captivation with sweet potatoes appears to have gone off the charts, as well as snacks formulated with soy nuts, pumpkin, sunflowers and chia seeds.

Starting with drinks that tout hydration, a new offering marketed as “water designed around you” is Protein 2O, distributed by Convenience Valet. The enhanced water—a brand “inspired by motion”—is said to improve hydration thanks to 15 grams of protein and a bounty of electrolytes. At the end of the day, consumers can hope to build and restore lean muscle through consumption, according to the company. The product is available in lightly flavored Berry Splash and Lemon Splash.

On to beverages to enhance recovery: Kill Cliff LLC offers a functional beverage and recovery drink with green tea extract and no sugar called Double Awesomeness, available in Rexam SLEEK 12-ounce cans.

Recovery comes in several fashions, and one new offer is noted for quelling hangovers. Made from plants and herb extracts, Security Feel Better helps eliminate toxins at a swift rate that in turn prevents hangovers, according to the company. The 10-calorie beverage is noncarbonated and features a pear flavor.

Better-for-you beverages are also emphasizing certain fruits and vegetables. Bolthouse Farms offers a vegetable-filled Mango Ginger + Carrot Juice smoothie that perhaps was inspired by the cyclical carrot-juicing trend. Mango Ginger + Carrot smoothie delivers almost four servings of fruits and vegetables.

Created by the founders of vitaminwater, Agua Enerviva takes inspiration from the Hispanic beverage agua fresca to create a low-calorie drink with natural caffeine from the guarana berry, which also touts antioxidants. Agua Enerviva contains potassium and sodium electrolytes, as well as all natural flavors and colors.

Like carrot-based drinks, another accentuates cucumbers. From Sunny Delight Beverages Co., Fruit2O kicked off the spring with a Cucumber Lemon flavor that captures the popular cucumber water trend. The product contains zero calories, sugar, carbs or artificial flavors.

While We’re Young!
From fruits and vegetables, recovery and hydration, healthy beverages—and snacks—marketed to children and teens seems to be motivated by a desire to prevent youth obesity and to recruit new users at the ground level—while they’re young. 

Youthtopia Beverages’ Alley Oop sports drink is being targeted to young consumers—mainly teens. The founder of the product, Dr. Brenda Jones, an Ohio-based ophthalmologist, concocted not only a well-targeted drink but a savvy game plan to appeal to young consumers, the majority of whom are not eager to eschew sugar as they size up their preferred drink options.

To get the best of both worlds, Dr. Jones formulated Alley Oop with sugar cane and stevia, knowing that “everyone has a sweet tooth,” she told Convenience Store Products. The product contains 40 calories per 16-ounce serving, 10 grams of sugar and vitamins and electrolytes. To add credibility to the brand, Youthtopia is teaming with the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation.

Staying in that realm, Vita Coco Kids is a coconut-water beverage made especially for children ages 2 through 8. Containing natural, nutrient-dense and electrolyte-filled coconut water, the product is available in Apple Island, Paradise Punch and Very Cherry Beach flavors.

Outside of beverages, better-for-you products geared toward kids can be found in the snack and squeezable-pouch segments. With stats showing at least 75% of children and teens snack in between meals, according to Mintel, Ready Snax, manufactured by Ready Pac Foods, helps curb hunger and provide a boost of vitamins. Seven 4-ounce flavor combinations—including Apples & Cheese with Caramel Dip, and Turkey, Cheese & Crackers—all contain fewer than 300 calories.

One product considered a healthy snack is portable applesauce. Mott’s Snack & Go portable applesauce pouches are viewed as hitting the mark in support for healthy, on-the-go snacking—even when spoons aren’t an option. Other squeezable applesauce products are available from Tree Top and GoGo squeeZ.

A Five-Pack of Flavors
Keeping with better-for-you snacks, five new offers are capitalizing on the popularity of seeds, vegetable and nuts.

Sweet potatoes. Knowing that sales of sweet potato snacks are on the upswing, Boulder Canyon Natural Foods rolled out Baked Sweet Potato Fries, which offer a natural snack that mirrors the shape, taste and texture of a sweet potato fry. With seasoned salt used to complement the potato's natural sweetness, the product embodies the form and taste of french fries.

Sunflower oil. One Potato Two Potato saw fit to launch sunflower oil chips that are gluten-free and available in five varieties: Naked Sea Salt, Sweet Onion, Hawaiian BBQ, Cracked Pepper and Sweet Potato.

Pumpkin seeds.Kathie’s Kitchen rolled out SuperSeedz, a premium dry-roasted shelled pumpkin seed free of gluten, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, dairy and MSG. The non-GMO product is a healthy snack alternative that provides a high level of flavor and taste, the company states. Among the eight flavors are Cocoa Joe, Really Naked and Sugar and Cinnamon.

Chia seeds. Mamma Chia has a portable snack that plays to the chia-seed trend. Chia Squeeze is a 70-calorie vitality snack packaged in a 3.5-ounce on-the-go squeeze pouch. It’s no wonder: products containing chia seeds skyrocketed by more than 350% in 2012, according to industry stats.

Soy nuts. Love Your Health’s new SoyMix contains all-natural and premium soy nuts that are dry roasted and rely on what the manufacturer calls a “proprietary technique.” Just so it can drop the blanket over several of the other aforementioned popular trends, the product is blended with U.S.-grown pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries.