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NZ companies create world-first collagen-infused functional beverage

Kiwi businesses Adashiko and Parker Beverages have created a collagen-infused functional drink, targeting consumers in the fast-growing $2 billion global collagen RTD category.

Luci Firth, Adashiko CEO, said the joint venture plans to revamp the premium bottled-water sector. The collagen-infused drink, called Adashiko Collagen Refresh water, is currently sold in local supermarkets in New Zealand.

“The bottled water category in the hospitality industry typically consists of unflavoured still and sparkling varieties and has seen little innovation for some time,” said Firth. “Many New Zealanders will struggle to pay for bottled water and with so little value added by suppliers, restaurateurs and bar owners are left to compete head-on with tap water, while still having to cover the cost of supplying it.

“The addition of a functional water product to this category means they will now be able to offer a competing product which they can justify retailing at a premium price point,” she said.

Firth said it took the team more than a year to develop the collagen water, which does not contain any preservatives, additional flavouring or colours.

“After several iterations in the trial process, ultimately it was the purity of the ingredients collagen and water that helped us create a shelf-stable final product – the first time this has been done,” said Doug Speedy, MD at Parkers Beverage Company. “What we found is that the refined collagen also gives the water a crisp, light taste and there was no need for additional flavours to mask any bitter notes that can be associated with this type of product.”

Speedy added that exportation of bottled water from New Zealand is tough given that there is minimal differentiation of products in the category. However, there is an interest in locally made wellness products which helps the bottled water gain popularity abroad.

“With a beverage like this the conversation is not just around product and price, it is product, price and regulations. None of these challenges are insurmountable however and we have already begun the process in several key markets such as Australia, the US and Singapore,” he said.

Firth first stumbled upon collagen water when in Japan where it is popular among women for its cosmetic properties, while men drink it for its functional benefits for joints.

Adashiko Collagen Refresh is also sold in restaurants and bars in New Zealand.

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