While demand for functional beverages and “better-for-you” alternatives has been on the rise for decades, the recent global pandemic has no doubt accelerated things. As consumers seek out enhanced beverages in their mission to take control of their health, detox drinks have become a developing niche in this sector.

Whether the goal is to support specific body functions, lose weight, or simply add some extra nutrients into your diet, internet searches for detox drinks have trended steadily upwards over the last 5 years. This, along with consumers’ coronavirus-fueled concern for overall health, should be huge motivators for further innovation in the Ready-to-Drink (RTD) detox category.

Why Detox?

While health is the primary appeal of detox drinks, convenience is a benefit that shouldn’t be discounted. For consumers looking for a quick and simple way to introduce nutritious ingredients into their diets, detox beverages provide a solution they can feel good about.

Detox drinks are those that contain some combination of water with fruit, vegetables, herbs, or other familiar ingredients. Because we are exposed to environmental pollutants and processed foods daily, detox drinks offer a natural boost to the body’s existing ability to flush away toxins responsible for everything from gas and bloating to headaches, acne, and fatigue.

Depending on the ingredients in the drink, detox beverages can boast added nutritional qualities that can promote weight loss, reduce inflammation, provide a jitter-free boost of energy, or support relaxation – but it’s important to ensure you’re getting the right ingredients in order to experience the desired effects.

Here’s a few detox beverages to try (if you don’t drink them already, that is!):

 

1. Smoothies

Did you know that three-quarters of the US population doesn’t consume enough fruits and vegetables? Depending on the ingredients used, fresh and RTD smoothies are great detox drinks that can help consumers address these kinds of gap in their diets.

Green smoothies, or those heavy in vegetables, are going to be the healthiest in terms of nutrient density. Ingredients like carrots, kale, celery, beets, turnips, spinach, cabbage, parsley, and cloves are rich in nutrients, while remaining low in sugar, salt, and fat. Of course, flavor can be off-putting with too many bitter, green vegetables, but there are recipes out there that can help consumers find a balance that works for their health and palate.

The biggest bonus for a fruit smoothie is fiber content, which is another area that the US population falls short on. A fruit smoothie will contain more fiber than just the fruit juice, but it can also be high in sugar. Combining your vegetables and fruits in smoothies can help make it taste great while also providing a healthy dose of nutrients and fiber. Other ingredients like seeds, herbs, and supplemental powders can be added to introduce additional vitamins and minerals, protein, and antioxidants.

 

2. Alternative Waters

Drinking water is good for you – that’s not news. But alternative waters (think sparkling water or seltzer) are detox drinks that can enrich the consumer experience.

Sparkling water typically derives from sources like springs or wells that provide natural carbonation and minerals for a uniquely refreshing taste. The amount of these trace minerals, usually calcium, magnesium, and sodium, can vary depending on the layers and type of rock the water has flowed through. Meanwhile, seltzer is artificially carbonated water – that’s it.

Sparkling waters and seltzers both fit the bill of being both clean label and low- to no-calorie, boasting a similarly bubbly mouthfeel to soda, but minus the guilt. In fact, health experts say that drinking sparkling water and seltzer is just as hydrating as drinking regular water.

Consumers at home can infuse water a variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices to create a flavorful, hydrating drink; or get one pre-made and ready-to-drink from the store. Thanks to advancements in flavor technology, beverage developers make your water seem sweet, but avoid introducing sugar or syrups. The drink remains clean label and healthy, but now it just tastes better!

 

3. Tea

Tea is a versatile beverage that can be served hot or cold, and in different flavors and styles. The reasons people drink tea are just as diverse as the drink itself. Whether you’re looking to relax, stay regular, or settle your stomach after a heavy meal, tea is a simple, yet powerful detox beverage.

Different types of tea have different health benefits. For example, green tea is touted to be one of the healthiest beverages on the planet: it improves brain function, promotes fat loss, protects against cancer, and can lower risk of heart disease. Meanwhile, black tea may help lower bad cholesterol, improve gut health, reduce blood pressure, and lower blood sugar levels. Dandelion tea, which you may not have heard of, is a natural diuretic that can aid digestion and regulate blood sugar.

If you’re a big coffee drinker, making the switch over to tea might be in your best interest. The caffeine in tea takes longer to process than it does in coffee; that’s because of the way caffeine interacts with another compound found in tea, the amino acid L-theanine. Studies have found that the L-theanine in tea may encourage relaxation by combating the anxiety, jitters, and overstimulation that too much caffeine can sometimes cause. On its own, L-theanine is thought to improve attention and reaction times; but when paired with caffeine, it may also enhance number skills and cognitive performance. Essentially, the lower caffeine levels and L-theanine compound allow consumers to get the best of both worlds, without some of the uncomfortable side effects.

In 2019, Americans consumed more than 84 billion servings of tea. Whether bagged, bottled, loose-leaf, hot, iced, or cold brew, RTD teas are a popular detox drink that’s sure to see continued growth in 2020 and beyond.

 

4. Kombucha

Ancient Eastern cultures called kombucha “the tea of immortality” – and for good reason. Kombucha is a fermented drink made with water, sugar, tea, and living organisms called “Scoby.” This last ingredient provides kombucha with the bulk of its health properties.

Often also referred to as “the mother,” scoby is shorthand for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. These little guys are responsible for breaking down the sugars in the brewed tea mixture and converting them into alcohol, carbon dioxide, acids, a variety of nutrients – and flavor! The result is a healthy, tangy-sweet and bubbly tea with a slight vinegar-like bite on the finish.

Besides great taste, people drink kombucha for its living probiotics, which aid with digestion – but don’t discount the added nutrients gained from the tea itself! Together, this combination of ingredients provides consumers with immune support, improved vitality, reduced risk of heart disease, and helpful antioxidants.

The good news is that kombucha can be conveniently purchased in a ready-to-drink form from your local grocery-store, or you can brew it up at home. Flavor can also be modified with fruits, juices, syrups, or herbs. Kombucha is definitely worth the try – and your body will thank you!

Have an idea to turn your favorite detox drink recipe into a commercial formulation? Flavorman can help. When you’re ready to change what the world is drinking, give us a call at (502) 268-4086 or fill out this form.

 

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Written on August 19, 2020.