Caffeinated water can be a great alternative to the stereotypical energy drink, but if you’ve never heard of caffeinated water, where do you start? How do you know if it’s right for you? This is the third of a three-part series on caffeinated water. In the last two posts in this series, we’ve answered some of the most commonly asked questions about caffeinated water. But now we ask one final question:
Expo West is one of my favorite shows because there’s always a plethora of new caffeinated products and health beverages to sample. Enjoy the highlight reel below, and stay tuned to GreenEyedGuide as we review these products in further detail in the coming months.
For the 2nd-to-last day of the GreenEyedGuide Caffeine Challenge, we talk about FATIGUE LEVEL 2 and the benefits of GREEN TEA vs benefits of CAFFEINE.
Fatigue Level 2 is one of my favorite levels because there are so many great, healthy options – there are so many caffeinated beverages that don’t even seem like energy drinks because they are fueled by green tea, green coffee beans, or coffeeberry/coffee fruit.
See https://greeneyedguide.com/tag/fatigue-level-2 for examples
Through this challenge, you’ll learn how to use the 5 Levels of Fatigue to reap the benefits of caffeine while avoiding addiction, dependence, tolerance, and toxicity.
***PLAY ALONG-share your favorite “energy drink in disguise” or Fatigue Level 2 product on Instagram/ Facebook/Twitter and tag @GreenEyedGuide, or add your pictures to the Caffeine Challenge Event page at Facebook.com/GreenEyedGuide/events
You know that scene in Wall-E where he tries to put the spork in the right pile? (Fork? Not quite. Spoon? Not quite. Okay then just set it in the middle.) Wall-E’s struggle in this scene is actually a very real problem for the makers and consumers of caffeinated beverages.
If health writers want to know if products like Mio and Crystal Lite stick packs have increased water consumption, what should count as “water”? When does water stop being water? When parents want to know if minors are drinking fewer energy drinks, do we include the caffeinated waters? It’s not really an energy drink, is it?
At GreenEyedGuide.com, we’ve been highlighting “energy drinks in disguise” for a long time. When Beverage World came out with their list of Beverage Disruptors, I was very happy to see a few familiar faces. These “disruptors” are not just causing classification problems, they’re creating sporks.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A DISRUPTOR?
In the fitness world, we say, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t CHANGE you!” Beverage World’s list of beverage disruptors features “people driving the enormous degree of change that’s reshaping the beverage business.” These people are driving change and breaking stereotypes. If I had GreenEyedGuide jackets to distribute, these people would be in my club for sure.
MEET THE SPORKS
1—Avitae (Norman Snyder)
Food Dive predicted a trend in 2016 of a DECREASE in sugar-sweetened beverages and the INCREASE in tea and water. Food Dive also reported that caffeinated water will impact not just soda consumption, but energy drink consumption as well! Avitae is the ace up one’s sleeve in any “energy drinks are toxic” debate because this product is water and caffeine. It’s certainly closer to water than anything else, but it serves to both hydrate and energize. Oh sure, we can use the incredibly vague term “Functional Beverage” to categorize products like this. But if the function is to provide energy, it is an energy drink. [Avitae was the Energy Drink of the Month for April 2014 and April 2015]
2 – Bai (Ben Weiss)
Take the press’ love for the word “superfruit” and the public’s love for coffee, then sprinkle in the food scientists’ concern for reducing food waste and VOILA! Behold, the coffee fruit, or “coffeeberry” as it’s also known.
Bai poses problems for juice and water categories as well. It’s only a tiny faction (<10%) juice, but it’s more,…well…exciting than water. Guess we’ll call this one another “Functional Beverage”, but what, exactly, is the function? Hydration? Not quite. Delivery of antioxidants. Kinda. Energy. With 78 mg of caffeine per bottle, this is another energy drink in disguise! [Bai was the Energy Drink of the Month for February 2016]
3 — Runa (Tyler Gage and Dan MacCombie)
In a world where cell phone carriers constantly slander their competition to improve sales, Runa sells their primary ingredient to their competition! Runa’s mission is to “lift the living standards of the Ecuadorian farmers who harvest the company’s supply of guayusa leaves” (Beverage World Jan 2016). Therefore, the more people who buy the leaves, the better. So even when you buy Runa’s competitors, Runa wins. [Runa was the Energy Drink of the Month for February 2015]
4 – Steaz (Eric Schnell)
Steaz co-founder Eric Schnell is on the Beverage World disruptor’s list for his current entrepreneurial efforts, but it’s worth noting that he first made the Beverage Disruptors list with the production of Steaz. Steaz is soda and tea, hence the clever name. It’s “green-tea soda”, and it’s organic-certified.
Organic green-tea soda. Did you ever think those words together would make sense (or cents)? [Steaz was Energy Drink of the Month for January 2015]
5 – Elite Ops Energy Strips (Ray Welch)
These caffeinated versions of those convenient Listerine dissolvable strips aren’t beverages, so they could not make the Beverage World disruptors list. However I would be amiss if I didn’t include these game-changers in my own list. I haven’t seen anything like these strips, but they are absolutely essential for long drives, sequential flights, and boring lectures. These are what you use when you want the caffeine boost without opening that tell-tale PSST of an energy drink, the long wait for gross-yet-pricy convention center coffee, or the concentrated caffeine delivery of an energy shot. [Elite Ops Energy Strips were Energy Drink (alternative) for September 2015]
Sept 2015 Energy Drink alternative of the Month
I was just starting college when Monster Energy came along. Back then I had twopart time jobs and the determination to get my Biochemistry degree in four years. Nowadays, my energy needs have evolved, just like the needs of so many other energy drink consumers. The modern energy drink consumer is looking for energy drinks with added functionality such as hydration and extra protein, says Mintel research (Beverage World Jan 2016), Fortunately, for caffeine lovers everywhere, the energy drink market is evolving to meet our needs. My challenge to you is to consider these disruptors next time someone implies that (all) energy drinks are the same.
It’s not even fair to call this an energy drink, because it’s the purest, simplest, cleanest energy drink possible. It’s not fair because all the worry and legislation over the dangers of energy drinks can’t possibly apply to a product like this. This really shouldn’t be called an energy drink , and yet, this “energy drink in disguise” is exactly that.
Pronounced “ah-vee-tay”, Avitae’s line of caffeinated waters is perfect for consumers who want their caffeine without added sugars or artificial colors/flavors.
Last year, Avitae’s President and CEO was gracious enough to answer some quality and food science questions I had about the non-flavored products (read that Q&A here). This year, Mr Norman Snyder was gracious enough to again grant me an interview to discuss the new flavors.
5 MORE Questions with Norman E. Snyder, President & CEO of Avitae USA, LLC
GEG-1:Last time we talked, you said that the plan was to introduce new flavors before looking at a carbonated product. Can tell me what inspired the new flavors? How did you determine which flavors to pursue, and were there any that were close but didn’t make the cut?
NS:The inspiration came directly from consumers. We do many sampling events at retail locations, festivals and other events that we believe attract our consumers. The first comment made by the majority was “it does taste like water.” The second comment/question was “do you have flavors?” It was pretty easy from that point. We did research on flavors that are currently popular and tasted several. We initially narrowed the field down to six that we thought were great recognizing that we could only introduce three or four. We selected the four best internally then conducted third party taste panels. Ironically the four that we selected were also selected by the taste panels. The two that did not make the cut maybe used in future products.
GEG-2:How long did it take to bring these new flavors from concept to market, and what was the biggest challenge?
NS: Approximately six months. The biggest challenge was, as perfectionists, getting exactly what we wanted. That usually requires several iterations as we were not willing to compromise on any point.
[GEG Note – Avitae has several part-time employees but only 16 full-time employees, so launching four new flavors in six months is pretty impressive, in my opinion]
GEG-3:The unflavored Avitae comes in three caffeine amounts: Energy Kick – 45mg, Energy Boost – 90mg, and Energy Blast – 125mg. I love this variability because there’s something for those more sensitive to caffeine, and something for those who need something a little stronger. How was it determined how much caffeine the new flavored versions should contain?
NS: We are basically going after three consumptions occasions/products: diet soda, coffee and energy drinks. Each different strength is targeted at the people that use those products. As 90 mg is presently the best selling product, we believed that strength to be the best choice. Again, we listened to our consumers.
GEG-4: As Avitae’s President and CEO, what are you most proud of and what keeps you up at night?
NS:I am most proud of our overall corporate philosophy and product positioning, in that we provide the healthiest solution for people that want a boost but also seek an alternative to the artificial, high sugar, and otherwise less than healthy products that exist today. Many things keep me up at night but right now it is keeping up with demand of our products and growth.
GEG-5: What is Avitae’s next big hurdle/goal?
NS:Expansion. We are moving into several new markets and adding additional production facilities. I admit, it is a great problem to have to face. We are also considering several new products.
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.
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 caffeine intake guidelines in previous post]