Redefining “Energy Drink” – 5 Qs with Avitae CEO

Are you a big fan of caffeine but not a fan of added sugars or artificial colors/flavors? Are you looking for an energy drink with a clean label and a simple ingredient line? Pronounced “ah-vee-tay”, Avitae’s line of caffeinated waters might be your solution.

Wandering through the halls of the 2014 Natural Product West Expo, I was looking for something to grab my attention. With over 45,000 booths of products all chasing the same consumer trends (“natural”, “gluten-free”, “non-GMO”, “Vegan”) I was looking for something unusual. As a food scientist, I love reading labels, especially when it comes to anything caffeinated or supposedly ergogenic. Unexpectedly, it was one of the simplest products that captivated me most: water, caffeinated.

Like stumbling across an Oxygen Bar, this is one of those products that makes you slap your head and say, “Why didn’t I think of that?!?” However, with something as strong and bitter as caffeine and something as clear and tasteless as water, merging the two isn’t as easy as one would imagine. There’s more to this product than meets the eye.

5 Questions with Norman E. Snyder, President & CEO of Avitae USA, LLC

GEG: What does “Avitae” mean and how would you personify the brand?

NS: Avitae is a combination of two words: “agua” – which is Spanish for water and “vitae” – latin for life. Together avitae means water for life. Avitae is a lifestyle brand that embraces the water for life concept as it provides both hydration and energy.

GEG: For these caffeinated waters, the source of caffeine is green coffee beans. During initial product development, how difficult was it to maintain water’s transparency so the finished product is as clear as pure water?

NS: The transparency issue was not that difficult. We have great quality control systems that ensure the product is as clear as water.

GEG: These products are basically just water with some caffeine and a little bit of citric acid, no added sugars or flavors. Since caffeine can impart some bitter notes, what were some of the challenges with optimizing the taste?

NS: You’re right, it is a challenge to mask the bitter taste, and that is where the citric acid comes into play. It imparts a mildly fruity note that offsets the bitterness and in many cases most consumers cannot detect it. The most prevalent consumer reaction that we receive is that “It has no taste!” Based upon this response, I believe that we were successful masking the bitterness.

GEG: Can we expect a carbonated version of this product – why or why not?

NS: You may. Caffeine is not impacted by carbonation (e.g. cola). We will wait to see what consumers demand and then decide whether to produce it. We are going to first introduce flavors and evaluate the consumer response before evaluating carbonation.

GEG: Who is the ideal consumer? Who was this product designed for and are there any groups of people that aren’t the ideal consumer?

NS: The ideal consumer is someone that leads an active and healthy lifestyle and that values all-natural, low-calorie beverages. They are also consumers of caffeine but do not want all the ancillary supplements that add little to no value and, in fact, may present an adverse health impact. Our consumption occasion is from “the second cup of coffee up to point of sweat during a workout”. Essentially, that really means consumption throughout the day. We want to reinvent how consumers get that instant-go, pick-me-up to start the workday, a key meeting, important game, work out or anytime lift. Caffeine use in moderation (400-600 milligrams daily) has positive health benefits. There have been a lot of studies done that support this, and we believe we produce the best product to deliver caffeine in the healthiest form.

Read more about Avitae!

Bottom Line and Points to Remember

Great for those seeking a simple delivery of caffeine that’s portable, resealable, and not as likely to go flat in a hot car, Avitae’s line of caffeinated waters are healthy and effective alternatives to the typical energy drink.

Since caffeine affects people in different ways, pick the caffeine level that suits you best: 45 milligrams, 90 milligrams or 125 milligrams.

Remember, according to the 5 Levels of Fatigue, Level 1 is dehydration. To limit caffeine dependency and overuse, make sure to try plain water before relying on caffeine to perk you up. Healthy adults should not exceed 400 mg caffeine per day but minors, pregnant/nursing women and those sensitive to caffeine all have different recommendations for caffeine intake maximums. [See intake outline in previous post]

Read more about the 5 Levels of Fatigue and learn how Biological Sensitivity and Consumption Specifics impact the effects of caffeineAre You a Monster or a Rock Star: A Guide to Energy Drinks — How They Work, Why They Work, How to Use Them Safely (available through iTunes, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and more)

Visit/Like the Facebook Page: Energy Drink Guide

Follow @GreenEyedGuide on Twitter


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