WakeUp won the prize for ‘Best Functional Drink’ at the Beverage Innovation Awards at Drinktec in Munich last week, and after four years research, the brand is ready to partner ‘global convenience’ and health brands with its drink, designed to help one avoid ‘post lunch dip’ (PLD) syndrome.
Eli Faraggi, CEO of Inno-Bev, claims that the lemongrass-flavored drink (in 100ml bottles) is unique due to its combination of GRAS-approved ingredients, so the product exceeds the sum of its parts with “demonstrable clinical efficacy and still suitable for the mass consumer beverage market”.
“Secondly, we believe that alertness alone cannot give a total health benefit. We have targeted improving alertness in the post-lunch dip hours, enhancing cognition and strengthening the immune system,” Faraggi adds.
Unpacking post-lunch dip syndrome
PLD is a physiological fact, Faraggi explains, since between 1pm and 4pm blood pressure falls, blood glucose levels fluctuate and a mild temperature drop occurs – the economic and safety implications (from car crashes, for example) cost the US economy $136bn annually, according to the Inno-Bev.
Faraggi says that test marketing with staff of multinationals based in Israel had elicited “very positive” responses, adding that Inno-Bev now aimed to partner beverage manufacturers or multi-level brands, eithr under the WakeUp name or by private label licensing of science and technology.
“We are currently continuing efficacy trials in a unique market segment requiring the highest level of alertness and cognitive capabilities, with no side-effects whatsoever,” Faraggi says.
“One WakeUp is approved by this particular partner, the sky is the limit,” he adds.
Lemongrass flavor too niche?
Asked whether the drink’s lemongrass flavor – it also contains gurana, ginkgo biloba, elderberry and a proprietary low-GI apple sugar – wasn’t a little peculiar, and slightly contrary to mainstream tastes, Faraggi says the first formula was developed with Mediterranean or Israeli tastes in mind.
“We assume that strategic partners in different countries and cultures will make local flavor adjustments for flavor,” he says.
“Our primary goal is to achieve beverage functionality without giving up on good flavor, i.e. to create a pleasant, free mouth feel after lunch, and counter ‘biological clock’ tiredness at the same time.”
Three clinical trials are the scientific basis for WakeUp’s efficacy, the most recent of which is the first to be peer-reviewed and was published in the August issue of the Israel Medical Association Journal.
Kassis et al. studied 30 normal adult volunteers who attended a sleep clinic on three separate occasions, eating a standard lunch at noon followed by (A) 50mg of caffeine (B) a WakeUp drink or (C) a placebo, in crossover, double-blind tests.
At 30 and 120 minutes post-drinking subjective alertness tests (using a visual analog scale), objective function tests (word recall, digit symbol substitution, etc.) showed that caffeine and WakeUp! Were both significantly superior to the placebo 30 minutes after lunch.
“However, at two hours after lunch, performance had deteriorated in those who drank the caffeine-containing drink, while WakeUp was superior to both caffeine and the placebo,” Kassis et al. wrote.
Advertise health benefits responsibly
Blood pressure and pulse were higher two hours after caffeine ingestion, compared to WakeUp and the placebo, and WakeUp is positioned as a safe energy alternative to caffeine-based beverages.
“These results suggest that a single dose of WakeUp is effective in counteracting the somnolence and reduced performance during the post-lunch hours,” Kassis et al. conclude.
Science aside, Faraggi recognizes that presenting the drink’s benefits to the public is the “big challenge for all consumer brands – how to responsibly advertise health benefits?”
“We are providing all the tools to make this possible, i.e. standardized ingredient, dosages that are safe and clinically proven, at a reasonable cost to consumers” he says.
All of the ingredients used are sold individually in a variety of food and beverage products and in dietary supplements, Faraggi adds.