Unusual vegetable-based drinks are the highlight of this month's roundup of innovative product launches from the drinks industry, as canned tomato and zucchini drinks hit the shelves. In other news, drinking chocolate is a focus of innovation, with two novel formulations, while concerns about pack security and hygiene have extended to energy drinks with the launch of a new lidded can design.
Starting in Japan, Kagome has recently launched its new limited edition Tomash Sparkling Tomato Drink. According to Kagome, the 40% juice drink, which is flavored with ginger and lemon, is made with "special" tomato ingredients that produce a refreshing tomato aroma and color, as well as providing high levels of GABA, lycopene, and vitamin C. Not only is the blend of tomato, lemon, and ginger unique in this drink, the promotion of high lycopene and high GABA benefits is noteworthy in a category such as carbonates, which does not normally flaunt health or functional claims.
Meanwhile, another novel canned vegetable drink has been unveiled in Argentina. The new Chiao Kuo Green Pumpkin Juice - ostensibly a zucchini juice - is distributed in the country by Mdei. Such vegetable-based formulations may yet herald the start of a new wave of health-oriented canned drinks, although companies may find it hard to win over more traditional consumers of sugary canned soft drinks with such products.
Back to Japan and tomato is again in evidence in an unusual flavor blend, as Nestle Cocoa d'Or Shiro Cocoa Let Patissier Takagi Chocolate Drink Mix has been launched in a Tomato & Strawberry variety. Described as being both sweet and tart in flavor, the tomato and strawberry drink from Nestle Japan is recommended to be served cold. Tomato and chocolate flavors have rarely been paired before in any category, which, given that tomato has a relatively sweet flavor profile, is perhaps somewhat surprising.
Further flavor innovation in chocolate drinks has meanwhile been seen in France, where Speculoos and Tiramisu varieties, respectively inspired by the Dutch cookies and the Italian dessert, have been launched in France. The new additions to the Monbana Drinking Chocolate line are produced by Monbana Chocolatier. Tiramisu and Speculoos are new flavors for hot chocolate, and the use of such dessert-inspired names now seems to be common practice as manufacturers look to play up the indulgent side of their products.
Moving next to spirits, and in Brazil, Casa Angelina has recently released the new Angelina Serie A Cachaca Drink with Cambuca. Cambuci, or cambuca, is another fruit from Brazil that is virtually unknown outside of the country, and such "unknown" fruits could continue to offer opportunities to manufacturers looking to offer something distinctive in saturated markets.
Back in Europe and in other spirits innovations, Wilhelm Kisker has announced the launch of its Heavy Water Vodka, due for release later in the year in Germany and Norway. An interesting aspect of the pack is a cylinder inside the bottle which aerates the vodka when it is poured, an effect claimed to be comparable to decanting wine. This feature adds an interactive and visual element to the product that could help it engage with consumers.
In Spain, finally, Sensitum Energy Drink is a new product from Reset World. The non-carbonated caffeine-based beverage, promoted as being a "mood drink," is presented in an aluminum can that features an oxo-biodegradable plastic lid which is claimed to hygienically protect the pack's contents. Given that most marketing and innovation in energy drinks leans towards dynamic branding and convenience benefits, this attempt to tap into concerns about product hygiene is relatively unusual, and it will be interesting to see whether it resonates with energy drink consumers.