Wild has launched a new beverage concept designed to tap demand for less sweet alternatives to traditional soft drinks.
Malt Plus X, a clear malt concentrate, combines natural fruit flavours and Wilds natural Fruit Up sweetener.
"Many consumers are looking specifically for products that offer a change from the norm, and exhibit exciting new tastes," said the company.
"The Malt Plus X product concept fulfils this requirement, and we expect success on the non-alcoholic beverage market."
Beverage manufacturers are desperate to add value to the soft drinks sector. Obesity concerns have driven down sales of fruit-flavoured juice drinks in the US over the past five years, according to a recent report by Mintel the market for these products has dropped 9 per cent to $4.4bn from 2001, which corresponds to a decline of 20 per cent in constant terms.
Sugar content has also proved a barrier to sales of products targeting adults, with the general drive towards healthier eating and drinking being to the detriment of fruit-flavoured drinks. European consumer habits often, though not always, follow US patterns of behaviour.
Wild hopes therefore to revitalise the European fruit-flavoured soft drink sector with its innovative new concept. Malt Plus X is based on a clear, concentrated malt extract, combined with the natural Fruit Up sweetener and natural flavours.
New flavour combinations, such as orange & ginger and pomegranate & blackcurrant, have been formulated.
"Sweetening with Wild's clear Fruit Up fruit concentrate gives Malt Plus X drinks a full-bodied taste, without being too sweet," said the company.
"Malt Plus X drinks contain just 20 calories per 100 ml, thus fulfilling the consumers desire for low-calorie products."
Wild claims that appealing colours from natural extracts also provide beverage makers with high degree of product differentiation. Malt Plus X is photostable and is suitable for long-necked clear glass bottles.
"Its high stability, which has been proven by the Wild PET Proof testing procedure, allows the product to also be marketed in PET plastic bottles," said the firm.
"Malt Plus X therefore meets the specific bottle-filling requirements of both breweries and mineral water companies, and offers promising marketing possibilities due to high consumer acceptance."