Watering plants for nutrition
Another approach to formulating plant-based beverages is to harvest waters directly from plants. The most well-known example is coconut water, which often is consumed on its own but increasingly is being blended with other liquids, including juice, tea and coffee, for a more stimulating flavor experience.
Other plant waters are starting to emerge. For example, after two years of product development and nutrition research to leverage the nourishing benefits of fresh artichokes, Arty Water Co., Newport Beach, Calif., now markets Arty Water.
According to the company, most consumers like artichoke hearts but are missing key nutritional benefits from the outer leaves. Arty Water’s patented process uses whole artichokes to pack each bottle with antioxidants, such as silymarin and chlorogenic acid, vitamins and minerals. The water is enhanced with natural apple, lemon and spearmint flavors and sweetened with monk fruit. Arty Water comes in single-serve 8-oz bottles, with a serving containing 40 calories.
“We have put tremendous passion and effort into bringing this nutritious, multifunctional water to the marketplace, and believe it will become a major global player in the premium water beverage category for both adults and children seeking great-tasting alternatives to coconut water and fruit juices,” said Howard Ketelson, c.e.o. “When we started the company, working out of a homemade test lab kitchen and sampling the product at cafes and fitness clubs, we immediately knew the product had a significant ‘wow’ factor.”
Another noteworthy introduction comes from True Me Brands, Scottsdale, Ariz. Truenopal Cactus Water is based on the juice from the prickly pear cactus, a plant rich in bioflavonoid antioxidants known for their ability to fight inflammation.
Los Angeles-based Caliwater markets a namesake cactus water that it describes as “a plant-based water powered by the prickly pear cactus superfruit.” The beverage combines cactus juice and cactus extract with water. It has an earthy, berry flavor and contains five different electrolytes for hydration.
Maple water is starting to appear in mainstream markets. Typically sourced from the maple tree-dense regions of Canada and the Northeastern U.S., the beverage comes directly from the trees, which naturally filter, sweeten and fortify the water with nutrients.
One example is DRINKmaple from the namesake company located in Concord, Mass. With only a hint of maple flavor, DRINKmaple contains 46 naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, antioxidants and prebiotics, according to the company.
Another product comes from New York-based Vertical Water, which markets a namesake beverage. The company explains that the water flows vertically through the maple tree’s trunk and branches, and the company taps this flow, without harming the tree.
Not to be outdone, the birch tree wants to serve up its water, too. Birch water is known for its cleansing and detoxifying properties. It functions as a diuretic, assisting with bloating and water retention, as well as with digestion and gastrointestinal health.
Like maple water, birch water is made with sap harvested from birch trees. It naturally contains xylitol, a sugar alcohol that contributes some sweetness. Birch tree water is a traditional beverage that is consumed in Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Russia and other northern countries, but only recently is making its way outside the regions.
The Byarozavik brand, produced by Goodness in a Bottle, Cupertino, Calif., uses large masses of forests located in Eastern and Central Europe, particularly in Belarus, to source the water. The large number of forests and lakes in the geographies has made them some of the world’s leading birch-juice producers, according to the company. Byarozavik, which translates to “birch tree water” in Slavic languages, combines traditional harvesting with innovative bottling technologies, ensuring safety and health, while preserving natural nutrients at their peak levels.
Another marketer is Sealand Birk, a Danish company that offers very slightly sweetened varieties. Containing 99% birch tree water, the flavors are Blueberry, Elderflower and Ginger & Lime.
Ontario-based Bamboo Beverages Ltd. recently opened for business to develop, produce, market and distribute bamboo-based beverages. Its first product, Bamboo Water, is infused with an extract from bamboo leaves.
Bamboo, a type of grass, is a fast-growing plant used to manufacture various eco-friendly household goods and personal items. Its nutrient-dense leaves typically are discarded by farmers during the harvest, said founder Vincent Villanis, which is why he developed a technology to extract bamboo’s nutrition and infuse it in water with a touch of sugar cane. Mr. Villanis described Bamboo Water as “clean, fresh, bright, energizing, sweet and cool.”
AquaBotanical Beverages in Australia is debuting what it describes as “Australian-grown water.” As the company explained, the juice of fruits and vegetables is mostly water. Through an extraction and purification process, the company obtains the water from harvested fruits and vegetables to make AquaBotanical, a full-bodied premium water containing 74 plant minerals. The rest of the fruits and vegetables are used to make concentrated juice. The pulp that remains goes back to feed the land so none of nature’s goodness goes to waste, according to the company.
The plant-based beverage category is in its infancy. As technological advancements allow for isolation and concentration of the beneficial nutrients in plants, product developers will find unique applications while marketers will create savvy story lines.