Beauty potion: Utonic and Vani-T co-develop ‘world’s first’ collagen kombucha drink

By Guan Yu Lim

- Last updated on GMT

The pomegranate-flavoured shelf-stable drink is a combination of Utonic’s sugar-free kombucha and Vani-T’s bovine collagen powder ©Utonic
The pomegranate-flavoured shelf-stable drink is a combination of Utonic’s sugar-free kombucha and Vani-T’s bovine collagen powder ©Utonic

Related tags Collagen kombucha Australia

Two South Australian firms, functional beverage company Utonic and beauty firm Vani-T, are set to retail what they believe is the world’s first collagen kombucha nationwide in February 2021, following its online soft launch in September.

The pomegranate-flavoured shelf-stable drink is a combination of Utonic’s sugar-free kombucha and Vani-T’s bovine collagen powder.

The drink is available on Utonic’s and Vani-T’s online stores, cafes, specialty places and expected to be on grocery shelves in South Australia soon.

The firms are currently under review with several major retailers in Australia and expected to roll-out nationwide in February next year.

Utonic will also ship the product to the UK in October, and showcase the product at a trade event in Japan this November.

According to Tania Walsh, founder & CEO of Vani-T, the firm had been researching and developing a beauty drink concept for over two years. 

Initially we were just going to produce a collagen infused water, but since the popularity of kombucha has seen exponential growth recently, we decided to partner with a local brand, Utonic​.”

Utonic’s CEO and co-founder Michael Brinkley told NutraIngredients-Asia​ that Utonic’s kombucha beverages were sugar-free, low calorie and contained no preservatives. Combined with the popularity of collagen as an ingredient and kombucha as a health beverage, “we thought putting these together will be a winner.”

Hear Michael Brinkley share more about the collaboration with Vani-T on this functional beverage.

Mighty collagen

The bovine collagen powder used in the kombucha is currently used in Vani-T’s pure peptide powder supplement, its Lumiere Collagen Beauty Mist and its collagen teas.

Walsh explained that collagen make up 75% of our skin, over 90% of our ligaments and tendons, and 35% of our bones. Other structures that are primarily made of collagen include hair, nails and cartilage.

Alarmingly, we lose 1% of the collagen in our skin each year after the age of 20. By our 50's, we've lost over half the amount of collagen in our bodies. This decline results in wrinkles, fine lines, dry, blemished and thinning skin. Nails and hair become weak, brittle and lack lustre​.”

The collagen kombucha contains 3g of collagen per bottle (350mL).

Ethically sourced from Germany, the collagen powder claims to improve skin, hair and nail health.

Walsh said: “Our collagen kombucha is the first of its kind in the world​.”

Brinkley told us that Utonic faced some technical challenges when it came to formulating the collagen kombucha. “Collagen is a very stable product, so we thought it was easier to formulate. But it turns out when you add collagen into kombucha, it can cause a bit of a reaction and cause an explosion​.”

In terms of flavour and appearance, collagen is relatively tasteless and colourless. However, Brinkley added mouthfeel was another obstacle faced in its kombucha.

Collagen is like gelatin which fattens things up. We add apple cider vinegar into our kombucha to give acidity and a more balanced mouthfeel​.”

The firms soft launched online in early September to positive feedback. “At the moment, obviously with the way the pandemic is shuttling things down, finding new distribution can be harder at this point.

The good thing about this drink is it sort of branches into a new sort of market, so we’ll be entering spaces like salons and wellness areas​.”

Brinkley added, “Our main consumers are definitely females, aligned with the Vani-T consumer market​.”

Within the collagen range, the firms are also looking into extending the line with new summer flavours such as lemon lime or coconut, which were suitable for the warmer months ahead.

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