Marketers are bringing new ingredients-from cactus to hibiscus-to the ready-to-drink arena.
Maple drinks are taking the market by storm, with flavor firms pegging maple as “one of the trendiest new flavors.” Kate Weiler, MS, cofounder of DrinkMaple, launched last year, talks about how the maple water trend has taken hold.
“Although maple water is relatively new in the U.S. natural foods marketplace, indigenous people throughout America and Canada have consumed maple water for its nutritional benefits and to celebrate the long-awaited arrival of spring. The water is drawn from the ground through the roots of maple trees as part of a ‘sap run’ caused by warming days and cold nights. The sap generally flows for four to six weeks anytime from mid-February through mid-April when daytime temperatures rise above freezing (32°F/0°C) and nighttime temperatures fall below freezing.” With DrinkMaple, she adds, consumers no longer need to wait for temperatures to change; they can drink the benefits of maple year-round, anytime.
DrinkMaple’s sap comes from organic maple trees in Vermont. “Once harvested, DrinkMaple sets the industry standard, boasting a 36-hour ‘tree to bottle’ experience in an effort to preserve the sap's freshness, quality, taste, and nutritional benefits,” Weiler adds.
And what do customers get out of it? According to the company, 46 naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, antioxidants, and prebiotics. “DrinkMaple is a pure form of hydration that contains more manganese than one cup of kale and is half of the sugar of coconut water,” the company says on its website.
DrinkMaple is sold primarily in New England and New York, including in Whole Foods, as well as in the UK and Australia. “Our sales have grown exponentially,” Weiler says. “Last year at this time we were in 15 locations, and now we are in over 800 locations and growing.”
“The biggest challenge for us are the limitations on what we can say and cannot say,” she adds. “Maple water has a ton of nutritional benefits, and we are spearheading additional research so consumers know exactly what is in the product they are consuming, but we are not always able to promote these benefits.”
Photo from DrinkMaple