Dwayne Johnson one fourth of brand behind first-of-its-kind energy drink

A new healthy energy drink has been launched by a team of fitness, health and beverage industry changemakers including Dwayne Johnson. Available for purchase in March 2021, ZOA is a “re-imagined, first-of-its-kind” energy drink packed with clean, natural caffeine from green coffee and green tea, powerful antioxidants from camu camu and acerola, as well as vitamin D and a unique blend of vitamins and nutrients that support immune function and elevate energy levels. As well as Johnson, ZOA is co-founded by Dany Garcia, first female owner of a major professional sports league in the US, dedicated professional bodybuilder and one of the most successful producers in Hollywood; lauded fitness professional and consultant Dave Rienzi; and savvy businessman, entrepreneur and investor John Shulman. The Molson Coors Beverage Company will be the exclusive distribution partner for all retail locations as the company has recently made a series of moves to expand their product offerings beyond beer. “I am delighted to share ZOA with the customers we passionately serve. Throughout all my endeavors, I’m committed to cultivating the human experience and providing tools to be and perform at our best,” said Garcia. “Whether you’re the fiercest of athletes, pursuing excellence in the boardroom or simply need a bit more energy to conquer the day, ZOA is a clean, natural, and healthy drink providing you with the energy and nutrients that you need to take you to the next level.” Johnson said: “I’m very passionate about ZOA. I’m humbled and grateful for the opportunity to serve our eager consumers with ZOA – the ultimate healthy and immunity-supporting energy drink that’s the first of its kind, thanks to our unique combination of ingredients. “My co-founders and I spent the last 18 months formulating this healthy and great tasting product that we could all use now more than ever. Ensuring we packed it with the critical vitamins and immune support we ourselves consume daily. “ZOA is the world’s first and only healthy energy drink that contains our unique combination of 100% vitamin C, 100% vitamins B3, B5, B6, and B12, and vitamin D, along with other vital ingredients. ZOA includes a host of nutrients that work to support our immune systems and provide us with a healthy dose of the caffeinated edge we need for focus, balance and success throughout our day.” ZOA will make its March debut on the ZOA website and Amazon, followed by natural, conventional and convenience stores. Those interested in learning more and being the first to receive news about ZOA can do so at zoaenergy.com and on social media @zoaenergy.

Brazilian meatless-meat brand, Future Farm, launches in UK

Future Farm, the major Brazilian meatless-meat brand, has officially launched into the UK. The range is made from 100% natural ingredients and is GMO & gluten free. It consists of Future Meatballs, Future Burgers, Future Sausages and Future Mince, made using a blend of soy, pea and chickpea proteins. Future Farm – also known as Fazenda Futuro – invests almost a third of gross revenue into R&D, enabling it to create an innovative approach to product development. Just like tech products, its meatless foods are in a continual process of testing an improvement. As they ‘upgrade’, the products continually increase in quality, moving closer to the flavour, texture and juiciness of meat with each iteration. Future Farm has a clear goal: make meatpackers obsolete by both changing the way the global population consumes meat, and reducing meat consumption by getting people to switch to its meatless products that can match, or even exceed, animal products on flavour. But the brand also has a high environmental ambition that’s close to its heart: to buy back the Amazon from the meat industry by fostering the movement towards  GMO-free and deforestation free produce in place of those that are unethical and illegal. Fighting for biodiversity and against destruction of the rainforest, all of the brands suppliers have to be members of the Responsible Soy Association. Pedro Zuim, Marketing Director for Future Farm said: “In Brazil we have the world’s greatest natural resource, the Amazon rainforest, but it’s being destroyed to grow soy to feed animals. “It just didn’t make sense to us. By replicating the same satisfaction we get from eating meat, using plants, we have revolutionised food in a way that is good for the people, the planet, and your plate.” Since launching last year in meat-loving Brazil, where over 70% of the population regularly consumes meat, has eaten more than 9 million of Future Burgers, with sales accounting for a staggering 23% of all burger sales (including meat) in Brazil’s biggest retailer. Millions more are now being enjoyed across the globe. Future Farm products are now available in Sainsbury’s across the UK.

Minor Figures launches UK’s first Barista Semi-Oat Milk

Minor Figures has launched the UK’s first Barista Semi-Oat Milk in Waitrose and Morrison’s stores nationwide. Adding to its growing range of barista standard dairy alternatives, as part of its mission to democratise vegan and plant-based diets, the new Semi Oat Milk plugs a gap in current retail offerings within this category. As the first to bring a barista semi product to the market, Minor Figures aims to help consumers who are consciously seeking to reduce sugar intake while maintaining a plant-based diet, bridging the gap for those who want to enjoy great coffee without compromise. 2020 saw the brand grow from a B2B model, servicing coffee shops, to an expanding offering within the consumer market, launching into key retail stores as well as establishing its ecommerce platform. Minor Figures has successfully secured listings across Amazon, Booths, Abel & Cole, Farmdrop, Waitrose and Holland & Barrett, in addition to growing its footprint in coffee shops to over 4,000 nationally. Semi Oat Milk is also available from the company’s website, as well as Amazon and Farmdrop.

Eddie – the first certified edible ink desktop printer

Eddie is the world’s first NSF- and GMP-certified edible ink desktop printer that prints directly onto baked goods, confectionary and more. Printed food items can be up to 89 mm wide and will be dry and ready for sale immediately after printing. Eddie prints up to 6 print objects per minute. The included carousel feeder holds up to 12 items, rotates them to the print position, the printer pulls in one item at a time, prints and sends them back to the carousel – all automatically and hands-free. Eddie was designed from the beginning to meet or exceed all regulatory requirements for the specific purpose as an edible ink digital printer. The edible ink cartridge meets all FDA and EU standards for use as a food additive. The ink cartridge itself meets cGMP standards and the entire manufacturing and cartridge filling processes are FDA-compliant and cGMP certified. Click or tap here to find out more.

SweeGen scales up sweet taste solution toolbox

SweeGen has successfully scaled-up Bestevia Rebaudioside N (Reb N), a special zero-calorie natural stevia sweetener. Reb N is a naturally occurring sweetener found in stevia leaves. The unique sensory profile of Bestevia Reb N makes it especially attractive for beverage applications, which is an application space that has already been exclusively licensed out. Following SweeGen’s commercial announcements of Bestevia Rebs B and I this year, and with the addition of Reb N, the company’s portfolio of sugar reduction solutions is the broadest available in the industry for tackling sugar reduction challenges. “Bestevia Reb N has a unique sweet profile that helps us create solutions that have a taste profile closer to both full-calorie and high intensity sweeteners,” said Shari Mahon, SVP of global application technology. “Our solutions are one of the most unique and tailored in the industry because of our access to the widest range of Rebs for sugar reduction.”

Qualitas Health raises $10m to advance plant-based protein

Qualitas Health has secured $10 million in venture funds to globally expand its plant-based protein and omega-3 business. The investment round is being led by world-class foodTech investor PeakBridge VC, Malta, together with Arancia Group, a privately owned Mexico-based food ingredient/food service conglomerate, Minrav (the company’s largest investor) and additional private investors. The investment will accelerate customer acquisition, and commercialisation of the company’s unique plant-based protein. The funds will also be used to deepen its strong clinical science and IP and accelerate its expansion into additional geographies. Qualitas Health currently produces proprietary, clinically proven, high-absorption omega-3. It markets 15 supplement SKUs under the iwi brand in the US, including soft gels and functional gummies. “This investment will be instrumental to accelerating growth in 2021 as iwi advances to the industrial pilot stage of our unique plant-based protein, start the regulatory process, and conduct additional clinical studies,” says Miguel Calatayud, CEO of Qualitas Health. “This uniquely sourced, complete plant protein will be ready for commercialisation in 2022.” “This new investment round is a significant milestone for our company,” adds Calatayud. “We are fortunate to have such prominent partners join us in our journey and we are grateful to our existing and new shareholders for their commitment and ongoing support. iwi experienced significant growth in 2020 with online sales, and strong sales growth is forecast to continue in 2021.” “Qualitas ticks all the boxes for meeting our investment criteria,” contributes Nadav Berger, co-founder and Managing Partner of PeakBridge. “It has strong intellectual property, proven scaling capabilities, and tremendous sustainability impact — all of which give iwi a unique edge within the plant-based nutrition industry. We welcome Qualitas and its new and existing investors to the PeakBridge family.”

FrieslandCampina switches to 100% recycled PET bottles

Beginning next month, Dutch dairy co-operative FrieslandCampina will be making PET bottles from 100% recycled PET (rPET). Because a PET bottle can only be recycled if the consumer has removed the label, FrieslandCampina’s R&D department has additionally developed a brand new “zipper” that makes it easier to separate from the bottle. According to FrieslandCampina, this makes it the first company in the dairy sector to make its bottles virtually circular for its brands in the Netherlands, Belgium, the UK and Hungary. “With the 100% recycled PET bottle, FrieslandCampina is taking a new step in making its packaging circular,” said Patrick van Baal, Global Director Packaging Development at FrieslandCampina. “Our ambition is to become fully circular. That is why we are increasing the recycled content of our PET bottles from 20% to 100%. This step is crucial because in order to achieve our sustainability goals, all packaging must first become recyclable and/or reusable.”

New winter edition brings warmth to Korean consumers

Daesang, one of the leading Korean health food producers, has chosen SIG’s Heat&Go, the world-leading microwaveable technology for aseptic carton packs, to launch its new Nucare™ Roasted Rice winter edition. Nucare™ is a complete nutritional dairy supplement drink with roasted rice, suitable for people who have difficulty swallowing or prefer liquid food as part of a nutritionally balanced diet. In Korea roasted rice is considered to be fortifying and also gives beverages a delicate taste and aroma. Choosing SIG’s innovative Heat&Go packaging solution for the new winter edition offers a quick and easy, complete meal replacement, which can be heated in a microwave to bring added value and convenience to this important target market. With a preference for warm on-the-go beverages among Asian consumers, most products have only been available in cafes or convenience stores until now. SIG’s Heat&Go microwaveable packaging innovation opens up a new channel for hot vending and using microwave ovens. In the past it has been a much more cumbersome process, with additional preparation required. Another nice effect is that the warmed packs can be a kind of handwarmer while enjoying the beverages outside in colder weather. Changwoo Choi, Chief Executive Officer at Daesang: “Our close cooperation with SIG gives us the best packaging solution to make life better for consumers. “Heat&Go brings a new level of convenience when it comes to on-the-go drinking comfort and the consumption of heated beverages. We’ve been able to extend our existing product portfolio at exactly the right time to take full advantage of new market opportunities.” Nucare™ winter edition is offered in SIG’s packaging format combiblocMini 200ml and is filled on standard SIG filling machines. A simple upgrade is all that is needed so the filler can run standard and microwaveable material interchangeably. The gentle aseptic process ensures the 22 vitamins and minerals in Nucare™ are retained and the delicate taste and aroma protected. Aluminium-free Heat&Go from SIG makes it possible to heat in the microwave without any compromise on product quality. Lawrence Fok, President and General Manager Asia-Pacific at SIG, said: “The barrier function of Heat&Go’s aseptic structure not only protects from light, oxygen, aroma loss and moisture, but also puts consumer safety as a top priority. “Working closely with the team at Daesang we’ve been able to improve its brand image through innovation and convenience. The ability to fill both standard and Heat&Go packaging material on the same filling machine also adds value. I’m sure the trend towards enjoying warm nutritional drinks will continue well beyond just winter months.” The partnership between SIG and Daesang offers true product innovation and differentiation as part of SIG’s Value Proposition, which aims to deliver innovative product and packaging solutions that enable businesses to satisfy ever-changing needs.

Kite add wax lined boxes to food packaging range

Kite Packaging has expanded its range of packaging for the food industry by adding wax lined boxes to its leading b2b ecommerce website. Wax lined boxes, also commonly referred to as ‘meat boxes’ are suitable for direct contact with food thanks to their PE (wax lining) and are strong, robust, fibre-based, solid board boxes ideal for packing moist and chilled solutions, even in humid environments. One of their added benefits is that food can be directly frozen or stored in the box without the need for additional bags, however, if additional bags are favourable, they can be used in conjunction with Kites range of blue tint gusseted bags. Commonly used within the food industry to transport or store raw meat, poultry, cakes, vegetables and much more, they are available in two sizes, both of which are easy and simple to erect.

Asda launches vegan butcher concept with Kbox global

Asda will launch a ‘test and learn’ partnership with vegan concept creator, Kbox Global, as part of a one store trial that will see the introduction of a dedicated vegan butcher’s counter. The vegan butcher concept launches at Asda Watford as part of a six-month trial to coincide with Veganuary. Products available will include a large range of meat alternatives, in addition to a selection of pastries, vegan cheeses, and ready to eat meals. The counter will offer options for both those who are following a strict vegan diet and also flexitarians, who want to purchase plant-based meat-style products. It follows the launch of a dedicated vegan bay in Asda last year to help customers easily locate their favourite ingredients and treats. Vegan specialist Kbox Global will provide the products from their established range. This year Kbox Global, a startup in the food delivery space, has seen sales of plant-based products increase across its host kitchen network, with 24% of UK sales coming from its vegan range. “Our partnership with Asda to launch the UK’s first vegan butcher is an exciting trial that recognises growing demand for plant-based brands, from meat eaters and vegans alike,” said Salima Vellani, KBox founder and CEO. “Gone are the days when veganism was viewed as a niche requirement – it is now a mainstream, healthy and environmentally sustainable way for anyone to eat. More retailers and food providers are moving into the market and we are pleased to be working with Asda on this exciting project.” Preyash Thakrar, Chief Strategy Officer at Asda, said: “Last year we saw searches for ‘vegan’ on Asda.com increase by 175% year-on-year and anticipate this trend will continue into 2021 as more and more customers choose to follow a vegan diet. “We are always looking at ways to improve the choice offered to customers in our stores and have partnered with the Kbox team to launch this exciting new ‘test and learn’ concept in our Watford store in just six weeks. “This new concept will offer customers at this store a choice of vegan ingredients and meal solutions that complement our existing vegan range.”