Consumers have long shown more of a willingness to drink things that are good for them compared to eating healthful food, which bodes well for Cocovibe, a mildly flavored drink made simply of coconut water and fruit juices, with no added sugar.
Coconut water 2.0
Coconut water has been a favorite among the affluent health-focused crowd for years now, but it’s getting a renewed boost with drinks such as these from Eliya, which uses immature orange coconuts, which contain more coconut water than riper fruits, and contains other ingredients with health halos such as ginger, cinnamon, and turmeric, all part of the ancient Indian healthful eating approach of Ayurveda.
High-end cocktail mixers
Twisted Alchemy makes straightforward fruit juices, simply squeezed and then shipped and stored under refrigeration, sometimes in relatively exotic flavors such as blood orange and Persian lime. They’re being marketed as cocktail mixers, allowing bars to make drinks with fresh juices without the time and labor of actually squeezing the fruit themselves.
Fruitful takes fruit purées, reinforces them with high-proof sugar cane spirits and sugar, and then balances them with acid to produce clean-label fruit forward liqueurs in flavors including lychee, red guava, and mission fig, as well as the increasingly popular tropical flavors of pineapple, mango, and passion fruit.
We’re not quite at the point where full-blown THC beverages are widely available at the NRA show, although they have proven very popular at dispensaries in states where recreational cannabis is legal, and Floral Beverages is working on it with its flavored seltzers containing Delta-8 THC. That’s a less potent version of the compound that gets people high, and in this case it’s derived from hemp rather than marijuana, which makes it legal for consumption nationwide for people aged 21 or older, according to the exhibitors. Floral is soon rolling out seltzers made with Delta-9, the more potent version of the psychoactive compound.
Another company, Flora Hemp Spirits, did have a Delta-9 THC spirit at the show for attendees to sample.
Energy drinks are on display in full force at the restaurant show, with an expanding variety of flavors, such as Celsius’s new Fantasy Vibe, with flavors of mandarin orange and marshmallow, and Oasis Vibe with prickly pear and lime.
The major soda manufacturers continue to improve on their customizable soda machinery. Coca-Cola is rolling out a newer, scaled back version of its Freestyle machine, called the Coca-Cola Flex that makes it more user-friendly.
J&J Snack Foods, which owns Icee, is collaborating with Coca-Cola to make its slushie drinks customizable with flavors like mango and blue raspberry (which is the same flavor as raspberry but with a more engaging color).
Adding flavor packets to water has been going on for generations with drinks such as Kool-Aid and Tang, but now cleaner labels and little to no sugar is the order of the day with products such as Twinings’ Cold Infused “flavor enhanced” water, as they call it.