Functional alliance: Thailand’s JuiceInnov8 and Red Bull pioneers TCP to launch immunity, cognitive and performance drinks

By Guan Yu Lim

- Last updated on GMT

JuiceInnov8 and TCP Group to co-develop functional juice booster with 50% less natural sugar ©JuiceInnov8
JuiceInnov8 and TCP Group to co-develop functional juice booster with 50% less natural sugar ©JuiceInnov8

Related tags Juice sugar reduction Thailand Immunity Cognition performance

Thailand-based food biotech company JuiceInnov8 and national beverage giant TCP Group – the firm behind the original Red Bull - is set to roll out three reduced sugar and functional fruit juices this month.

The products will be branded as Incredible Booost and contain 50% less sugar (less than 6g/100mL) and calories (70-90kcal) compared to conventional juices.

The co-developed products are blended with various cold-pressed juices and natural extracts using JuiceInnov8’s sugar reduction technology.

The products are marketed for cognitive health, performance, as well as immunity.

Incredible Booost will be sold on Thailand’s food delivery platforms such as Grab, before expanding into coffee chains and supermarkets by the end of the year.

According to Saravoot Yoovidhya, CEO of TCP Group: “With the growing health trends around the world, consumers are increasingly searching for healthier alternatives in beverage without sacrificing great tastes.

“Our partnership with JuiceInnov8 brings together breakthrough innovation, deep commercial knowledge and market execution to serve consumer needs with transformational juice products​.”

Sugar reduction technology

JuiceInnov8 was founded in 2014 and has spent six years developing a sugar reduction technology through the action of microbes.

Chonchayong Sean Trairatkeyoon, CEO and co-founder of JuiceInnov8, explained the firm first identified and isolated specialised microbial strains from various fruits and plants.

Using its proprietary bioprocessing technology, the microbes are able to break down the sugar molecules (sucrose, fructose, glucose) in juices.

Similar to fermentation of grapes which turns into wine, Trairatkeyoon said some level of ethanol will be produced although JuiceInnov8's technology can minimise ethanol levels occurring naturally during the process which satisfied both FDA and halal requirements.

This technology results in a reduced sugar juice, with the flavours and aromas intact. This reduced sugar juice is then used as a base, for other juices, or beverages.

According to Trairatkeyoon, the firm works with organic farms in Thailand to source its fruits before isolating the microbes.

The firm aims to reduce at least 30% of sugar in every glass of juice drunk globally by 2025. Its technology can reduce sugar levels in juices to zero.

"There are many attempts to tackle sugar reduction in the juice industry for a decade. While a few came out to claim that they are the first to do so, JuiceInnov8's key focus is to be the best among others in terms of taste and sugar reduction capabilities​," he added.

Business strategy

Trairatkeyoon said he was not looking to license its technology nor equipment to clients. It was instead looking to work with customers to co-develop products.

The fastest way to bring a product to market is to work with the client’s R&D team to create new products. This is much faster than beverage companies setting up a new production line in their existing system​.”

JuiceInnov8 also recently launched an online limited sales run of its branded-Incredible Juice Tea, made from its zero sugar cold press juice and tea.

Launched in Thailand, it sold out all 800 cups immediately on its Facebook store. The firm has initially planned to launch in Silicon Valley but due to the travel bans, switch to a local launch instead.

The limited release was part of its global launch to introduce its juice and technology to the world. It hopes to work with partners for the juice tea product.

JuiceInnov8 market strategy is to introduce its Incredible Juice as a substitute for conventional juice in CPG and food services partners. This is a similar approach with Beyond Meat partnering with Starbucks, Subway, and Dunkin' to bring its plant-based meat to replace conventional meat.

For the products sold by TCP, Trairatkeyoon told FoodNavigator-Asia​ the beverages will be sold in the premium category, “however the more we can scale the product, the more we can bring the cost down​.”

TCP is also the maker of the iconic Red Bull energy drink in Asia (Krating Daeng). Trairatkeyoon said there was potential in developing energy drinks in the future, and expanding into the China market, which TCP Group is present in.

The company is looking to raise funds for a Series A round to expand its production capacity and eventually enter the US market.

JuiceInnov8 has raised about US$1.2m over the last five years through a mix of seed round investors, pre-Series A funding and grants from the government.

The team of about 20 scientists and engineers come from diverse backgrounds of molecular biology to food science, from Japan, Germany and Thailand. Its laboratory is located in Bangkok.

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