Austrian energy drink maker Bomba energy is to launch a new wellness beverage with added colostrum to boost the immune system.
The range, called Solution E, was unveiled at the Anuga trade show in Cologne, Germany last month and is thought to be the first beverage in Europe to contain added colostrum.
The low sugar drinks also include a natural 'brine', or mountain spring water, that contains 84 different trace elements, according to Bomba, and is already widely used in cosmetic products.
Research on colostrum has shown that it can boost the immune system and slow cellular degeneration. The ingredient has become popular in Asian markets following the outbreak of SARS last year. German colostrum supplier Lacbital developed a test beverage with the ingredient two years ago but until now had not found a suitable partner to bring the drink to market.
Leopold Hainy, product manager for Solution E at Bomba, told NutraIngredients.com that the firm has received strong interest from its distributors, especially in the Scandinavian markets and Saudi Arabia where colostrum is widely consumed.
"There have been lots of studies on colostrum both for its immune-enhancing properties and its anti-ageing effects. And we also have research on the effects of the brine in this drink," he said.
West European functional soft drinks reached 4,125 million litres in 2002, up 12.3 per cent on the previous year, according to statistics from Zenith International. After a slow start in Europe, the sector is currently booming, with enriched beverages leading the way. Energy drink makers are increasingly looking towards other categories within the functional drink sector.
Bomba is moving into what it calls the 'wellness' segment, with a drink that could fit into a number of categories. "There is an impression that many functional drinks on the market are just flavoured water with lots of sugar. We decided to only use natural juices, no chemicals and a reduced sugar content," said Hainy.
The beverages come in three flavours - green tea-jasmine, apple-orange and blackcurrant-apple - and are targeted particularly at physically active consumers and nutrition conscious, young adults.
Packaging for the range is currently being finalised and the new product could be on the market early next year.
Bomba also makes an energy drink range, which was recently introduced in a sugar-free variant. It is available in nearly 30 countries worldwide.