Avitae USA LLC, maker of caffeinated waters, showcased its new line of extended-release energy drinks, “AvitaeXR,” at Natural Products Expo West, March 10-12, in Anaheim, California. AvitaeXR features patented bead-based technology that controls the release rate of caffeine, and the product comes in a clear plastic “can,” putting those beads on full display for consumers.
The drink contains a total of 250 milligrams of caffeine, the equivalent of almost three cups of home-brewed coffee. Half that caffeine is delivered in an initial burst, and the rest is released slowly through the beads.
“It’s basically the same sort of technology used in the pharmaceutical business,” Avitae President and CEO Norman Snyder told The Shelby Report’s Bob Reeves at the Expo. “(The beads) break down in your stomach and upper GI and will release caffeine anywhere from an hour and a half to two hours into it. So you get a four-hour last without a crash.”
According to the company, the microbead technology is backed by numerous third-party studies to validate claims that the technology slowly delivers a variety of active ingredients, including caffeine, for optimal body absorption. Studies were performed by an analytical testing lab specializing in pharmaceutical and nutraceutical research.
Company targets energy drinkers with formulation, new packaging
Like other Avitae beverages, AvitaeXR is made with all-natural caffeine and flavors, but unlike the company’s other product lines, this one is not zero-calorie. AvitaeXR contains 70 calories per 12-fl. oz. bottle.
“We had to put a little bit of cane sugar in it because the core demographic we’re going after is the energy drinker who wants that flavor,” Snyder said.
Specifically, the company is targeting the older consumers in the energy drinker demographic. “The core group of 18- to 24-year-olds, they don’t care about better-for-you, they don’t care about what the press says. But as they get older, they don’t want to bring a bottle of Red Bull or Monster into their business meeting,” Snyder noted.
Another first for Avitae—and for the energy drink category as a whole, according to the company—is AvitaeXR’s packaging. It comes in a can made from recycled, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic.
“There was logic to that because the research that we did said that energy drink drinkers want the can. They’re used to that can. They want their drink in a can,” said Snyder. “And I thought, well if we have a regular aluminum can, the beads would come out (and) people would say, ‘Oh, that’s disgusting—something’s floating in it, this is not good.’ So I said let’s get a clear can, let’s show them the beads, make the beads part of the story and embrace it. Don’t try to hide it.”
Another benefit to that clear can, according to Snyder, is that is helps the product to stand out next to other energy drinks on-shelf.
AvitaeXR retails for approximately $2.99 per 12-oz. can and is available in three flavors: Orange, Mixed Berry and Lemon Lime.
Other Avitae products include flavored and unflavored non-carbonated caffeine waters that vary in caffeine levels, including equivalencies to a half-cup of coffee (45mg), one cup (90mg), or one and a half cups (125mg). Flavored non-carbonated varieties include Pomegranate Açai, Tangerine, Blackberry and Strawberry Guava flavors.
Avitae’s carbonated caffeine waters, “Sparkling Avitae,” produced with carbonated purified water, are available in Black Cherry, Raspberry Lime, Berry Kiwi and Mandarin Passion Fruit flavors and in an unflavored version.
According to Snyder, these beverages target consumers that don’t like coffee (or that don’t like coffee without adding enough cream and sugar to “turn it into a 300-calorie drink”), those that are moving away from the declining diet soda category and those that are looking for a pre-workout boost.