Leading Brands, the Canadian food and beverage brand management company, is launching a range of Optimized Performance drinks, designed to enhance hydration and performance in athletes.
Distributed under the proprietary brand name TREK, Engineered Energy, the drinks are said to be the result of years of development and are scientifically proven, claims the company, to aid the hydration process and optimise individual performance.
In a sector worth approximately $58.9 billion (€66.16bn), "New Age beverages" are enjoying increasing popularity in the United States. Energy drinks alone have grown at an average annual rate of 128 per cent since 1997 and sports drinks last year sold more than 200 million cases in the US.
Ralph McRae, chairman and chief executive officer of Leading Brands, said: "Before development even began, we studied the effects of rigorous outdoor activity on the body and the ways to prepare for, counteract and recover from it. Our Research and Development group worked for more than two years on the TREK System, drawing also on the expertise of leading pharmacologist Dr Thomas Davis of the University of Arizona."
The TREK System is divided into three essential functions, so that the consumer maintains their hydration levels before (Fuel), during (Burn) and after activity (Recover). The product is available in six flavours.
Bob Miller, president of Leading Brands of America, said : "We felt TREK demanded a unique type of distribution and pricing strategy. After covering the traditional retail channels, we will target the outdoor sporting goods and equipment stores that will further authenticate the TREK brand."
Leading Brands claims the product is the first beverage to be delivered in a recyclable 'Bullet Proof', hot filled PET bottle, without unsightly heat panels.
The 20.6 fl oz (620ml) bottle has a heavy-duty Click Cap, which opens easily and clicks audibly when fully closed. Attached to the Click Cap is a removable TREK branded carabiner that allows the athlete to firmly secure the bottle during activity. The base of the bottle is molded into a functional compass and the reflective signaling mirror label includes a map ruler, and an explanation of the TREK System. The components of the package would retail independently at a cost of $10 or more - without the beverage.
Howard Wishner, chief marketing officer of Leading Brands of America, said: "The package itself had to be an authentic tool, so we followed the example of the scientists that created the beverage. With the functional side of the packaging designed, the final touch was adding an icon that shared our target market's ideals - a fellow adventurer equipped with all the tools necessary to support their journeys."
TREK is expected to be on retailers' shelves by mid-June 2002. It will be bottled at the company's Alberta plant.