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Jonesing for anti-oxidant properties


Today, society exerts considerable pressure on folks to be politically correct, but folks in the alternative beverage business are under the strain of becoming nutritionally correct. If it’s easy to crack wise about the trendiness of health-oriented products, it’s hard to avoid the pressure to offer new items that contain hip functional ingredients.

Jones Soda Co., for example, featured a berry pomegranate flavor while introducing its 24C enhanced water at the recent FMI Show. The vitamin-enriched line includes cranberry apple, lemon lime, mandarin orange, tropical citrus and peach mango, but berry pomegranate got the big play.

While ginseng and cranberry were hot hooks over the past couple of years, pomegranate, blueberry and açai, with their antioxidant qualities, are all the rage now, and goji looks to be an up-and-coming element that Anheuser-Busch has introduced in its energy drink line.

At the show, which ran in Chicago during early May, Jones’ brand manager Mike Spears said the Windy City had been one of two trial markets before 24C’s FMI Show debut. “This has only been out for three weeks,” he said, but a national rollout is planned.

Pomegranate is finding its way into lots of beverages these days. Campbell’s latest V. Fusion addition, Pomegranate Blueberry, splits its bet as blueberry looks likely to replace pomegranate as the hot hand in the ingredient game. Juli Mandel Sloves, a Campbell’s spokeswoman, said the new “on trend” flavor rolled out in January and helps underscore V. Fusion’s depth of nutritional content, which includes “a full serving of fruit and a full serving of vegetables in every 8-ounce glass, and antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E.”

While TrueBlue wasn’t a participant in the FMI Show, it did make a major appearance at SIAL in Montreal this March. TrueBlue’s line of fruit cocktails includes blueberry, blueberry cranberry, blueberry pomegranate, blueberry blackberry, blueberry raspberry and even blueberry iced green tea, demonstrating that TrueBlue is determined to cover the current popular ingredient gamut. Its slogan: More Antioxidants. Less Calories. Great Taste.

TrueBlue spokeswoman Jill Klosowski said antioxidant properties are important, but the company wants to give consumers every reason to buy its products. “We market TrueBlue in a variety of ways, from having 25% fewer calories and sugar, to being a natural drink that doesn’t contain high fructose corn syrup. However, we also market because of the antioxidant element. Since there are so many juices to choose from, everyone [is] expecting more. It’s a healthy alternative to the juices currently available on the market,” she said.

Lakewood Organic was among the vendors that was pushing açai at the All Things Organic Show, run in affiliation with the FMI Show. Lakewood Organics’ new açai line includes coconut-pineapple and banana-mango, with each characterized as a “super antioxidant energy juice.”

Of course, Bossa Nova, the first big mover of açai-based juice drinks, was on hand at All Things Organic with two new flavors, raspberry and—what else?—blueberry.

So, pick your antioxidant. Whatever the flavor, the nutritionally conscious are out to imbibe.

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