Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Healthy Beverage Bonanza: The New Kids in Town

I am constantly amazed at the plethora of drinks at my local Safeway. There is a whole refrigerated wall next to the deli and another refrigerated section next to the beer…and then there is the actual beverage section itself with 4-packs, 6-packs, 12-packs, 24-packs, quarts, liters, etc. There are teas, coffee-based drinks, sodas, mixers, sports drinks, as well as the newer “functional” beverages. And I’m not even talking about the juice aisle—that’s a whole other post.

Hard to keep up with all the types, brands and flavors, but recent industry award winners give us a glimpse into those beverages that have garnered peer review and attention. So without further ado, here are the newest beverages that just may make you wake up and take notice:

CytoSport, Inc’s Muscle Milk Light is CSP Magazine’s Retailer Choice Best New Product in the Nutritional Beverages category. Muscle Milk Light is a protein-enhanced formula that promotes healthy sustained energy, lean muscle growth and recovery from exercise. Muscle Milk Light delivers a blend of premium proteins, carbohydrates, functional fats, vitamins and minerals. Several flavors, calorie count ranging from 100-170 per 8 ounce serving.

Celsius Powder Stick Pack caught the attention of Beverage Spectrum Magazine, winning Best New Powder/Tablet. Clesius is a calorie-burning beverage and touted as the “Ultimate Fitness Partner.” It uses a core blend of ingredients to form MetaPlus which enhances metabolism and results in a sustained calorie burn. Only 10 calories per 12-ounce serving, there are no preservatives, flavors or colors and no sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. Additionally it has 100% of your daily need of vitamin C, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6 and B12, and biotin. Note: Celsius also comes in already prepared 12-ounce cans. For a full review of this beverage check this Daily Diet column.

Code Blue, which is billed as a “recovery drink,” made the top of the hit parade a Best Functional Beverage by Beverage Spectrum Magazines. Code Blue offers both hydration and energy, as well as ample electrolytes, amino acids, antioxidants (including Sustamine), and D-Ribose, but minimal caffeine. This combo energy and sports drink has the potential to break out and become popular, according to the magazine.

Adina’s Holistics line will appeal to many, given the company’s founders, motto and fair trade practices. Named Best New Non-Carbonated Beverage by Beverage Spectrum Magazine, Adina’s was founded by the people behind Odwalla and SoBe. With a vision to create a world that "Drinks No Evil" they endeavor to made healthy beverages that use “natural and/or USDA organic, directly sourced ingredients from around the world.” Seven flavors, including honey eucalyptus, grapefruit goji and peach amalaki, all using adaptogenic herbs and no chemicals.

What you get with Steaz Sparkling Green Tea is microbrewed organic teas, which according to Beverage Spectrum Magazine is the Best New Organic Beverage and the Best New Carbonated Beverage. It is the first USDA Organic-certified zero-calorie carbonated soft drink, that uses natural stevia-based sweetener in their four different flavors (black cherry, blueberry pomegranate, raspberry and orange).

A new twist on vitamin waters comes in the form of Activate, an enhanced water product with different function and flavor combinations. Voted Best New Enhanced Water by Beverage Spectrum Magazine, the difference is in the cap, which holds the nutrients until the time of consumption meaning there is no deterioration in effectiveness. A twist, a shake, and vitamins and minerals are let loose into the filtered water. Eight flavor/function combos including Passion Fruit Workout, Berry Immunity and Lemon-Lime Energy.

Not only is Guayaki’s Lemon Elation the Best New Tea, it was also awarded Best Packaging Design, which I’m not sure I entirely agree with. However, this ready-to-drink yerba mate beverage is low in calories (54 per serving) but high in caffeine (150mg), making it a high-energy tea that is good for afternoon slumps and high-energy workouts. Yerba mate is extracted from the leaves of the South American rainforest holly tree which is known for its rejuvenate properties. And there’s a bonus, the company will use profits to restore 200,000 acres of South American Atlantic Rainforest and create over 1000 living wage jobs by 2020.