Let's drink to health

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'Healthiness-to-go' appears to be the order of the day on Europe's
supermarket shelves as Mintel's Global New Product Database reveals
a number of new functional drinks launched in the last month.

'Healthiness-to-go' appears to be the order of the day on Europe's supermarket shelves as Mintel's Global New Product Database reveals a number of new functional drinks launched in the last month.

Continuing in popularity are yoghurt drinks as companies with already existing brands cash in on the latest trend, releasing new varieties and range extensions. The Clesa brand has been busy diversifying in Spain with two new launches. First came Bio Vital Active, a vitamin A-, D- and E-enriched, strawberry and raspberry flavoured yoghurt drink with bifidus active and no added sugar or fat.

This was soon followed by Clesa's Vital Active Orange and Mandarin yoghurt drink, which, in addition to the properties of the previous one, is fortified with dietary fibre.

Remaining in southern Europe, Parmalat's KYR Principia Agrumi e Ginseng milk drink, flavoured with citrus juice, was launched last month in Italy. The drink is made with skimmed milk and enriched with vitamins B1, B2, B6 and PP (nicotinic acid), ginseng and fibre. Other qualities include five lactic ferments and only 0.1 per cent fat.

Dietary fibre, increasingly thought to help prevent cancer, adds value to Dietisa's new water-based product, Bio Form Bebida Functional Drink. It is also being marketed as a dietary supplement because as well as hydrating the body it claims to deliver a daily quota of fibre to the body to nourish and renew intestinal flora.

Continuing on the gut health theme, with cases of food intolerance apparently rising, so the demand for ways of supporting the digestive system increases. Drinkable probiotic products are in abundance this month with six new launches, including the new ProViva Shot from Sweden's Skäne Mejenier. A concentrated form of the ProViva culture dairy drink, it is claimed to have a documented effect on creating balance in the stomach and intestine. It is available in blueberry and lemon and tropical flavours.

At the same time the company launched the Shot! Probiotic Juice Drink, a concentrated form of its ProViva fruit drink, which contains around 250 million beneficial bacteria per ml and is swallowed in one go. It is said to be the first such non-dairy, probiotic 'little bottle' drink on the Swedish market and is sold in packs of six bottles.

In the UK, Farm Produce Marketing is offering a virtually fat-free 'Light' version of its Probiotic Yoghurt drink. Available in a mango and passionfruit flavour, the calorie content has been reduced from 62 to 39 calories. Triballat is also active in this market with the launch, under the Sojasun' brand, of Actisun, a soy-based probiotic 'daily dose' drink said to contain 10 billion l.acidophilus bacteria per bottle. Other claims for the product include 0 per cent fat content, GM ingredient-, lactose- and cholesterol-free.

Not surprisingly Danone has been extending its Actimel brand in new countries, continuing in its quest for European market domination. Actimel Multifrücht was released in Germany while Strawberry varieties of the Actimel Probiotic Functional Drink and Probiotic Fermented Milk were introduced in Portugal and Ireland respectively.

An entirely new launch onto the UK market, however, came in the form of Ojas' Wellness Drink. Described as a refreshing, sparkling health drink, based on the fermentation of a herbal infusion, the organic drink, which also has 0.5 per cent ABV, is made with live bacteria and Swiss mountain water.

Ojas claims that valuable substances are formed during the fermentation process, including enzymes and natural organic acids. These compounds enhance metabolism, support detoxification and boost the immune system, according to the company. The drink is also a natural source of vitamins A, B and C and is available in two flavours: Green Tea or Roots.

Finally, Yagua Food introduced its Free Move Natural Fruit Energy drink to the Netherlands last month. The drink is an unsweetened energy-style drink said to be made from juice from white purified fruits and enriched with essential amino acids, extra vitamins and minerals. The product claims to help build cartilage and joint sinews, to develop collagen, to maintain joint suppleness and to stimulate the metabolism.

Mintel's Global New Products Database looks at new product development, and features records of food, drink and non-food product launches. For more information, visit www.gnpd.com​ or call +44 20 7606 45533.

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