Wild targets low sugar fruit drinks sector

By Anthony Fletcher

- Last updated on GMT

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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."

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