Turning Protein

Sports drinks have been among the beverage category’s strongest growth segments in recent years, as active consumers and those in need of an energy boost have embraced the drinks. Most of the options available feature a blend of carbohydrates and electrolytes, not tremendously different than the first sports drinks introduced decades ago.

Now, Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages is adding a new ingredient to the mix with its Accelerade. The company claims it is the first protein-enhanced sports drink with a 4:1 carbohydrate-to-protein ratio.

Why does the product incorporate protein? According to a study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, individuals who drank a protein-enhanced sports drink during exercise had a 29% improvement in endurance over those consuming a carbohydrate-only sports drink.

Accelerade has been available in powder form for years, but now Cadbury Schweppes Americas is adding it to the ready-to-drink ranks.

Oh Natural

More and more companies are realizing that catering to only one consumer trend is simply insufficient. For its latest launch, Kahiki Foods manages to address three separate trends.

Asian Naturals are natural, convenient and, as the name suggests, are items with an ethnic twist. The range is an eight-item line of restaurant-quality products promising authentic Asian flavors and 100% natural ingredients. Furthermore, the company realizes that its consumers have sophisticated palates and has, therefore, incorporated such ingredients as Szechuan peppercorn, lotus root, edamame and wood ear mushrooms.

The line also touts a feature which has not been widely seen, but which may be a harbinger of things to come. The five items containing chicken in the line all claim the poultry is antibiotic-free, a boast featured prominently on-package.

Back to Black

According to ACNielsen, the super premium tea category is up 168% in 2007, based on sales in all outlets for the year-to-date through May 17. Snapple, already a powerful player in that category, accounting for as much as 71% of the market share, is looking to increase that lead further.

The line has added Classic Black Teas to its “Good for You” beverages. The newest launches are in traditional hot tea flavors such as English Breakfast, Earl Grey and Orange Pekoe.

The new teas will “provide consumers with a traditional hot tea experience in a ready-to-drink offering,” explained Bryan Mazur, vice president and general manager of the tea category for Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages. “The combination of quality ingredients and time-honored flavors found in the…line result in a truly unique experience.”

Saving Enamel

Manufacturers should be warned that the bad press for soft drinks is picking up further steam. Widely disparaged for their sugar content, the beverages are the target of a new study claiming acidic foods could lead to destroyed enamel.

“Sipping or holding acidic drinks in the mouth before swallowing increases the risk of erosion on dental enamel,” explains Dr. David Bartlett, author of “Acid Erosion: Why is it Important to My Patients?”

Soft drinks containing the acids break the tooth surfaces, he contends, and the acids also damage tooth enamel over time by dissolving the mineral structure of teeth, thus thinning the teeth.

To prevent the problem, Dr. Bartlett is advising consumers who eat or drink an acidic food or beverage to wait at least 20 minutes before brushing their teeth, so as not to destroy the weakened enamel.

Quick Start

New research from Technomic indicates away-from-home breakfast sales are continuing to grow. However, the daypart still has room to grow, particularly for restaurant operators.

The group finds the “vast majority” of consumers continue to prepare breakfast at home, though they sometimes consume it in the car or at school or work, indicating an increasing need for time-saving convenience. As Technomic notes, this signals breakfast growth opportunities in both limited- and full-service restaurant segments.

“Breakfast menus are underdeveloped and often lacking in innovation,” explains Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic Information Services. “Few limited-service restaurants, for example, offer a separate kids’ breakfast menu or a ‘healthy’ menu.” He believes this indicates an opportunity both for chain operators and their suppliers, who often play a key role in bringing menu innovations into restaurants.

According to the research, consumers have very different notions of breakfast on the weekend, as opposed to weekdays. Convenience and portability are the primary selling points of weekday breakfast options. Since the last study two years ago, those ordering breakfast sandwiches when eating away from home during the week grew from 60% to 73%. That is not to say breakfast sandwiches are avoided on the weekend; in fact, weekend breakfast sandwich purchases also grew--from 55% to 60%.

For more information on Technomic’s new “Breakfast Category Report,” contact Sara Gillis, 312-876-0004, ext. 3848, or "sgillis@technomic.com