Friday, May 30, 2008

Beauty Teas

I try to stay current with new food products, especially functional beverages since my thesis revolves around these drinks. The beverage market is booming....think about it the more water you can sell, the more money a company makes. How cheap is water? It's the cheapest ingredient out there. The bottled water industry purifies or filters water, packages it and sells you a 18oz bottle for $1.00. Let's put this in perspective for you all. There are 128 ounces in one gallon, which means that you are paying $7.00 per gallon of water.
Compared to other food products there is definitely less money going into the Research and Development of beverages. The base formula is a sweetener, flavoring, pH controller (citric acid, sodium citrate), and maybe preservatives. Companies make "unique" products by adding functional ingredients such as tea extracts, supplements (i.e. vitamins, minerals), or stimulants (i.e. caffeine, guarana)

The next boom to hit markets will be beauty teas. Apparently beauty teas are big in Japan, but in the upcoming years we should be seeing them in American markets. In 2007 Coca-Cola and L'Oreal (yes the make-up company) teamed up to make a tea-based beverage called Lumae that will help promote great skin from the "inside out." I find this to be a great play on words. Extensive research must occur for these kinds of claims to be substantiated, so if the company can prove that consuming these ingredients will improve the skin, many kudos to them. But from another standpoint, if two major companies are pooling their resources and spending the money to develop Lumae, they have to know what they are doing and in theory should produce a legit product.

In 2006, Coca-cola and Nestle teamed up to introduce Enviga which has ECGC and is supposed to aid in burning Calories. There has been controversy surrounding this beverage and that this drink is not really as good as it seems.

Cornell's IFT Product Development team developed a beauty tea called TranquiliTea for this year's competition. I am curious to see how they were able to substantiate their claims when companies like Coke are under scrutiny with their carefully worded claims. The article reads that Aloe vera is the key functional ingredient in the product. I've been drinking this Korean Aloe drink (it tastes like grape juice with pieces of aloe) ever since I studied in Korea in 2002 and didn't realize that I was helping my skin become healthier. Maybe it would help if I could read the Korean wording on the bottle.

My little rant about Food Products in America. We travel to other countries and see novel products. A few years later you see them in the American market and think, "That's not novel."

Here are some examples:
*Pretz sticks and now Pringles Stix.

*Mixed Alcoholic Drinks in Cans- Back in 2004 when I was living in Australia it was a commonplace to purchase mixed alcoholic beverages in cans. Yes, I purchased rum and coke premixed in a can. This will soon be common in the American market too.

I guess the positive benefit of the "borrowing" of ideas is that eventually there will be American counterparts to the foods I miss from other countries.

6 comments:

Lori said...

What an interesting topic for a thesis!

Jj said...

Very interesting topic! Sometimes when I am walking down the beverage aisle at the grocery store I am astounded...it's growing so huge one has to hunt for the product they're looking for and I can't help but wonder about costs associated, too since the prices is always going up.

Erika said...

in japan the big fad right now is claiming the collagen content of foods and drinks. I think this is sort of related to the beauty foods trend since collagen is used in cosmetics and whatnot, although really its just gelatin and it gets broken down into amino acids during digestion so i think its empty hype for the most part... still, interesting.

Erika said...

btw, happy birthday!

chou said...

I didn't know you were already on top of the aloe trend. :) Of course, it's not surprising. When will we (read US food companies) start making the trends?

genkitummy said...

jj-
yeah, it's crazy how much people are willing to pay for these products. i have a hard time spending over $2.00 for a drink that's like 99% water.

erika-
collagen...hmmm...maybe we should have put that in our bars...:)

chou-
no, i'm not up on the aloe trend. not really. but maybe if i found aloe (i think i saw it at meijer) i'll try to make a lemongrass aloe tea one of these days.