Coca leaf, next energy-boosting ingredient?
in energy drinks and health foods, steering their industry away
from the drugs trade, according to a report.
Two new drinks made with the cocaine raw material have been launched in the country this year and could be exported to international markets, reports Reuters. There could also be new legislation on the way to formalise coca production and allow the green leaf to be promoted much more widely as a health product.
Studies show that coca contains more calcium than milk and more proteins than meat. It has been used for thousands of years by Indians to increase stamina and stave off hunger, and is also drunk traditionally by Peruvians in tea to aid digestion and as a remedy against altitude sickness.
Lima-based Kokka Royal Food, which began selling its iced tea K-Drink in February has already sold 75,000 bottles and is aiming to export to The Netherlands, Italy and Spain.
Another firm, Vortex, is successfully competing with Austria's Red Bull in Peru and is also looing for European sales.
The firms may however come up against some resistance to the presence of the coca alkaloid, used to make cocaine, in their products. Coca-Cola already uses a coca extract in its formula but removed the alkaloid from its winning formula more than 100 years ago, according to Reuters.