Coca-Cola, Nestlé launch calorie-cutting tea
Nestlé claims to help consumers burn off calories, catapulting both
companies further into the growing health and wellness market.
Consumers in the US will be the first to taste the tea, named Enviga, in January next year. Studies have shown that drinking three cans of Enviga everyday could burn an extra 60-100 calories in thin to normal weight people, the firms announced.
The launch shows Coca-Cola and Nestlé working hard to grab more of the increasingly lucrative functional beverages category.
The companies developed Enviga through their joint venture firm, Beverage Partners Worldwide.
It is the optimum combination of Enviga's green tea, caffeine and plant micronutrient content which creates the 'negative calorie effect', according to chief Coca-Cola scientist Rhona Applebaum.
The formula was made possible through access to decades of research on green tea by the Nestlé Research Center in Switzerland.
"The accumulated body of scientific research shows the ability of green tea's powerful antioxidant EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) to speed up metabolism and increase energy use, especially when combined with caffeine," said Hilary Green, Nestlé researcher.
EGCG occurs naturally in a range of teas, and one 12oz can of Enviga provides 90mg. The drink also offers 20 per cent of recommended daily calcium intake.
Both Nestlé and Coca-Cola have expressed their desire to target more products at functional food and drink markets.
Enviga's US launch could also help Coca-Cola to pull back ground on arch-rival PepsiCo, which is largely considered to have out-manoeuvred Coke by spotting health and wellness trends sooner.
Enviga would help consumers rather like "taking the stairs", according to John Hackett, Coca-Cola's senior vice president.
"We've seen a shift in consumers' attitudes towards diet and health and wellness, with more consumers seeking product choices that support active lifestyles, rather than just eliminating things from their diets."
Enviga's functional positioning may also help it to boost the carbonated drinks market in the US, which has suffered from a consumer shift towards healthier beverages like juice and water.
The US functional food and drink market was worth $19bn in 2004 and had strong potential, according to market research group Datamonitor.
One problem it identified was growing consumer skepticism in both the US and EU over functional claims on food and drink packs, however.
Enviga also came in for criticism in the UK last week. The drink is not yet available there, but some health professionals cautioned consumers against thinking it was some kind of miracle weight-loss tool.