This month, innovations include products which allow consumers to adulterate their drinks creatively. One such example is a drink 'spiking' kit that ferments juice into alcohol, while another is flavorless caffeine crystals that give drinks an energy boost. Both products show how manufacturers are looking to customizable products that offer consumers a more 'hands on' experience.
The Spike Your Juice Kit That Turns Juice Into Alcohol is new in the US from Spike Your Juice, and is claimed to be able to turn any standard juice product into a fermented alcoholic beverage. The kit is priced at $9.99 and comprises packets of fermenting mixture which the consumer is instructed to add into juice, and then seal using an airlock and rubber stopper which is included with the kit. The mixture ferments and turns into alcohol within 48 hours, with a longer storage period said to yield a stronger and dryer taste. The product, while comparable to traditional home wine-making kits, potentially opens up a wider variety of creative opportunities for consumers, as well as providing an alternative to ready-mixed fruit cocktails.
Consumers looking to add energy rather than alcohol to their drinks can meanwhile turn to Fein Energy Crystals Drink Mix from Fein Innovations in the US. The product is claimed to work in any beverage and contains neither sugar nor artificial ingredients. It is also claimed to give drinks an energy boost without changing or impairing their flavor, thanks to a blend of natural flavorings. The energizing effect itself is provided through caffeine citrate, which is described as a unique ingredient for an energy product. The use of a sachet format to package the product also opens it up to on-the-go occasions, potentially increasing its appeal.
Taking the reverse approach, removing the caffeine from its products to target a new consumer base, Pokka Corporation in Japan has recently devised a coffee-style drink which is aimed at children. Its Pokka Kids Cafe Cafe au Lait Flavor Drink is said to have the appearance of ready-to-drink coffee but derives its coffee-like flavor from caramelized glucose rather than coffee beans. It is also said to be fortified with calcium and features cartoon designs on its pack. Tapping into a new market to increase its brand appeal could pay off for the manufacturer, provided that the product's coffee flavor is to the taste of younger Japanese consumers.
Moving to wine, Marks & Spencer in the UK has launched its Le Froglet Wine In A Glass range, which is sold as single-serve 187ml plastic 'glasses' of wine sealed with a lid. The red wine is a shiraz with 12.5% abv, while white and rose varieties are also available. The packaging could be seen as a new departure for on-the-go wine consumption: while other single-serve wine formats such as drinks cartons and pouches have already been introduced, this is the first recorded example of a convenient wine glass pack which attempts to closely replicate the traditional wine-drinking experience.
Similarly making its mark in the wine sector is Lualle, again in the US. BonBlaze Wine Sorbet is a product which resembles a drink-box wine and is sold in the ambient section, but it is designed to be frozen by the consumer to create an alcoholic dessert. It is touted as containing real fruit, with a choice of Natural Cranberry and Natural Blueberry variants, and features an alcohol content similar to that of ordinary wine at 12.5%. The reclosable format, which allows the product to be consumed on successive occasions, could also boost its appeal.
In France, meanwhile, Comptoirs & Compagnies has launched its Cures Fruitees Organic Fruit Juice range, which features unusual fruit combinations including blends of mangosteen, goji berry, hibiscus, pomegranate, acai and baobab. The brand name means 'fruity treatment', and the range is said to have been inspired by traditional medicines. The unique fruit blends featuring 'on-trend' antioxidant superfruits show that companies are continuing to invest in less familiar ingredients to give their products increased differentiation.
Over in Brazil, finally, a new range of tea sold in metallic pouches has been launched. The range comes from Camellia Cha Gourmet and includes Camellia Green Tea Sweet Lemon as well as teas flavored with bourbon vanilla and cinnamon. The metallic design of the pouch as well as the layout of the pack labeling confers something of a 'traffic light' effect, giving the product an enhanced visual presence.