ThirsTea, a foodservice supplier of tea and beverage concentrates, has plans to expand into grocery store shelves with its “just-add-water” liquid-to-liquid approach. Currently available online, this no-sugar, no-calorie and no-caffeine drink comes in 4-ounce bottles, which yields 64 ounces when mixed with water. They come in Brewed, Brewed Sweet, Green with Blueberry and Lavender, Lemonade and Fruit Punch flavors.

“ThirsTea’s entry into the consumer arena was prompted, literally, by popular demand from the calorie-conscious [consumer] and the diabetic community, which have embraced our products as satisfying, healthy alternatives to carbonated diet sodas,” says Ray Welch, president of ThirsTea Corp., Boca Raton, Fla.

Dairy processors take note. This new generation of nondairy drinks is loaded with functional ingredients, comes in a variety of flavors and is marketed as better-for-you. There are lessons here to be gleaned for milk-based beverages.  


5 things to know about nondairy beverages

1.Beverage marketers create all-natural blends of 100% fruit and vegetable juices.

2.Consumers seek juices with functional ingredients, such as probiotics.

3.Coconut water is a popular post-workout recovery beverage.

4.Plain water is passé. Bottlers are adding flavors and functional ingredients.

5.Processors sell tea and coffee concentrates for at-home blending.

Source: Dairy Foods interviews

Counting Calories

WhiteWave Foods’ Silk Pure Almond Unsweetened Vanilla almond milk is ideal for consumers who are watching their caloric intake, says Craig Shiesley, general manager.

“In addition to having only 30 calories, each serving also contains 50% more calcium than dairy milk,” he adds. The beverage is packaged in half-gallon cartons with a suggested retail price of $3.49-3.69.


Coffee Couture

Coffee doesn’t have to be just coffee. In fact, many of today’s ready-to-drink coffee makers are dressing up this coveted beverage to offer more than just a dose of caffeine.

For instance, Los Angeles-based Marley Coffee partnered with Bunn Coffee Makers, a Canton, Ga., manufacturer of coffee makers for the home, to offer organic-certified, single-serve options.

“Social media is an important way to reach all these targets,” says Brent Toevs, chief executive officer. “We just finished a giveaway of 25,000 bags of Marley Coffee. We utilize trade magazines and tradeshows to market to different markets. We currently are partnering with Metro PCS Communications [a mobile phone service provider located in Richardson, Texas], giving away free coffee in New York City for 16 weeks. We have a new giving campaign that we are offering to our retail/grocery partners. This raises product awareness, but also gives back to our charity and local communities.”

Meanwhile, Versanto Force 3X, created by PapaNicholas Coffee Co. in Batavia, Ill., is a hyper-caffeinated coffee with three times the amount of caffeine. Made with a proprietary blend of Arabica coffee and guarana extract, this all-natural beverage comes in 10-ounce bags with a suggested retail price of $10.99 in High Octane Premium, Supersonic Cinnamon and Vortex Vanilla flavors.