Category

Beverage Packaging

Caffeinated Water? It’s Here!

What are the benefits of caffeine? What is the best caffeinated water?

 

Say buh-bye to bad, high acid coffee. And adios to boring, ol’ water. The benefits of water – namely, hydration and life – and the benefits of caffeinated coffee – alertness, focus, clarity, energy – and the huge market for better-for-you caffeine, are driving a new product category: caffeinated water. What is the best caffeinated water? Let’s look at a few options.

Best Caffeinated Water – a Few Candidates

Aqua Java

Brought to you by the good people of Sonoma-based Don Sebastiani & Sons (“the next generation in wine” is their tagline), Aqua Java is purified, sparkling water boosted with organic caffeine. All flavors, including Java, Kola, and Mocha are fortified with 45 mg of caffeine. Touted on the Aqua Java website as a “natural antioxidant derived from green coffee beans,” caffeine is ubiquitous in American society, with 2/3rds of American adults consuming caffeine of some kind every day. (Chocolate, soda, and coffee are the top three sources).  Aqua Java is sweetened with erythritol, a type of sugar alcohol that contains almost no calories. Like other sugar alcohols, erythritol does not spike blood sugar and does not cause tooth decay. It is extremely popular with people on low carb diets or those seeking to reduce their glycemic load. The flavor, however, reminded me of diet soda. And not in a good way.

Happy Tree Maple Water

Maple water is almost an ideal electrolyte. It jams on the manganese and other antioxidants, too. Happy Tree Maple Water takes the natural character of maple water and pushes it to 11 by cold brewing organic, fair-trade Peruvian coffee with the subtly sweet water for the new Cold Brew Coffee flavor. No added sweetener and a completelty sustainable tree water harvest mean this baby is as good as it gets. Now if only the bottle were biodegradable…

Sap on Tap

Like Happy Tree, Sap on Tap is a maple water beverage. The caffeine fix in Maple Water with Yerba Mate flavor, though, comes from yerba mate. Made from the leaves of the South American rainforest holly tree, yerba mate not only contains 24 vitamins and minerals and 15 amino acids, it is flush with antioxidants as well as caffeine, theophylline, and theobromine, well-known stimulants also found in coffee and chocolate. The slight bitterness of yerba mate is off-set by the maple water brew, which tames the leaf’s out-going, punchy flavor.

 

This water is different. This water is bad ass. This water is caffeinated. That’s right. These waters are water, H₂0 dressed up with jazz hands and sassy pants. It’s up to you to find the one that most perfectly matches your nutritional requirements, caffeine intake needs, or your taste buds.

From Forest to Table: New Packaging from Innovative Companies

They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure — but innovative companies are turning one man’s trash into another man’s … food packaging?

With the dangers of global warming threatening to jeopardize our very existence, more and more consumers are becoming environmentally aware. We recycle, we compost, and we pay attention to the packaging on our purchases (this means no more Styrofoam take-out containers and avoiding plastic straws at your local bar). Some innovative companies recognize this demand for new ways to approach packaging and are working on turning food waste into new forms of food packaging.

Innovative Companies say Buh-bye to Plastic Packaging

Forget plastics. Non-recyclable, non-biodegradable products not only pollute our environment, they also potentially contaminate foods with harmful chemicals and even fail to keep your food adequately fresh. The newest solution? Food packaging made from natural materials like mushrooms, milk proteins, wood, kelp, and tomato peels. Not only are these products biodegradable, waste eliminators, and better for the environment, but they’re oftentimes edible. Really! Here are a few not quite market-ready concepts we have our eye on.

Wood-Based Bottles

In an attempt to reduce waste, Nestlé Waters and Danone have launched a joint product in alliance with a California startup, Origin Materials, to develop 100% bio-based bottles. Made from sustainable and renewable resources, these bottles will take biomass feed stocks (like recycled cardboard and sawdust) to create an entirely new product. These wood-based bottles are scheduled to hit store shelves in 2020.

Milk-Protein Packaging

Did your mother always tell you to drink your milk? Well now you can package your food with it, too, with edible milk-based packaging that reduces food spoilage and waste. This biodegradable, sustainable, and super-thin packaging will make the regular thin plastic film that wraps your cheese and meats obsolete. The US Department of Agriculture, whose team of researchers pioneered the technology, discovered that casein, also known as the protein in dairy milk, can be used to create edible packaging that actually protects your food better than plastic. The proteins work to form a tight network around the food, sealing it 500 times better than plastic.

Mushroom Material

Your favorite fungi are being turned into eco-friendly containers for wine bottles and furniture as well as products like coolers. Ecovative Design developed Mushroom Packaging to reduce waste and replace polystyrene in packaging materials. This product could theoretically replace Styrofoam across the globe. Ikea has already planned to replace their usual polystyrene packaging with Ecovative’s biodegradable mushroom roots. They’ve also licensed their packaging technology to Sealed Air, a $7.6 billion packaging company that makes Bubble Wrap.

Tomato Tin Cans

When you crack open a can of olives or dig into your favorite canned soup on a rainy day, you’ll usually find the packaging coated with chemicals like BPA (Bisphenol-A). While the levels found inside your cans are low enough to purportedly pose no threat to your health, more customers are looking for chemical-free, and thus BPA-free, packaging. The solution? To replace the chemical lacquer with natural ingredients, like processed tomatoes. BIOCOPAC is taking the skins from tomatoes and using them to treat metal food cans. So, the next time you pop open a can of tomatoes for your evening pasta sauce, you might be consuming more tomatoes than you think.

Seaweed Saran

Unlike other recyclable materials like glass and metal, plastic wrap cannot be recycled. So it’s more important than ever to cut down on our use of harmful plastic when packaging our foods. Japanese design company, AMAM, has developed Agar Plasticity to replace our usual Saran wrap. Made from agar, a material found in red marine algae, Agar Plasticity could soon replace the environmentally harmful but very thin and flexible plastics we’re currently using to wrap food. Even if the Agar Plasticity ends up in the ocean after you’ve finished your sandwich, it’ll just be heading right back home. Now that’s a product life cycle we can get behind!