Bod Drinks introduces sparkling soda with probiotics and a dash of pride

Starting out with a small batch brewery in Melbourne in 2016, Bod Drinks has seen impressive growth in a short space of time, with products now available in Singapore and Malaysia as well as independent supermarkets and health food stores across Australia.

The drinks company has just released a new sugar-free Living Soda range containing a dose of probiotics, capitalising on the gut health trend in the beverage market.

But Bod Drinks co-founders and co-owners Emma Risvanis and Nicole DiPietro-Case are not just about the bottom line. They have chosen to use their latest range as an opportunity to support LGBTIQ+ charities around the country.

Emma Risvanis shared the Bod growth story with Inside FMCG.

Inside FMCG: Tell me a bit about when and how Bod Drinks first came about.

Emma Risvanis: In late 2016, we took over a very small batch brewery and launched the brand Bod, starting with a range of Kombucha. Nicole and I were both home brewers as part of our clean eating lifestyle and we saw this as an opportunity to bring a range of authentic and functional beverages to the market as Kombucha interest grew. Two years into Kombucha brewing, we wanted to diversify into some other functional drinks and learned of a very unique armoured probiotic through our third business partner Peter. We started some R&D using the probiotic in various aqueous environments and were thrilled with the result.

Whilst travelling, we saw a gap in the market for a sugar free, functional beverage that didn’t have a horrid aftertaste from artificial sweeteners or natural sweeteners such as stevia and monk fruit. We wanted to create a “smart swap” for those naughty drinks that a vast majority of the population is now moving away from.  

Inside FMCG: Tell me a bit about Bod’s growth journey?

What started out as a small local business has now spread to coverage on the eastern seaboard. We are also available in Singapore and Malaysia (Kombucha only there). Via our current distribution network, we are sold into independent super markets, David Jones Food Halls, cafes and health food stores across as well as direct from our online store.

Inside FMCG: What was the goal with the Living Soda range?

ER: We wanted to create something that ticked all the nutritional boxes and that wasn’t laden with chemicals at the same time. We have young kids here at Bod and up until now, we have not allowed them to drink soft drinks for the fact they are not adding any value to their little growing bodies. It’s a thrill to be able to give them something fizzy and fun that tastes great and that does not send their blood sugar levels soaring.
 
Inside FMCG: Can you explain a bit about the thought and design process behind the bright and bold packaging?

ER: Bod has always been about the contents and not so much about a fussy design. Our drinks are not gimmicky, so we wanted to portray and clean and simple design that also looked bright and bold on shelf. Our Kombucha range is numbered one through eight and the design uses a giant number on the label for each flavour. We used a similar design principle with the Living Sodas. Rather than the number, we used the capital letter of the flavour name in the design. Our customers can either identify with a colour or a letter when they are making that decision. The fact that we have not used artificial colours in the range (apart from Raspberry where we have
used a natural grape colour for a subtle pink tinge) means that our labels needed to be bold and colourful.

Inside FMCG: You have chosen to donate a percentage of profits made on the Raspberry Living Soda to LGBTIQ+ charities around the country. Do you think it’s important for businesses to get behind causes that they believe in?

ER: Yes! We think that first and foremost, if there is an opportunity to give back, it’s good for the soul. We also believe that it is great for our staff morale to see that we as a company are doing something meaningful and it’s not just about the bottom line. We feel that our staff have more respect for us as a result, and that’s good for business & productivity. Whether it’s donating free product, sponsoring an event or donating a percentage of profits, it’s a way to demonstrate to the community that we are a business and a group of people who cares.

Inside FMCG: What’s in the pipeline for Bod?

ER: We do have plans to expand our range into other functional drinks and also have some ideas for other functional products that are not limited to drinks. It’s a very exciting time in the food and drink landscape with consumers becoming more educated and concerned about making the right choices when it comes to what goes into their bodies.

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