Nutrition Asia

WATCH – Energised without the crash: Companies bank on botanicals and low-GI carbohydrates for energy drinks NPD

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Energy drinks Low gi Fungus functional beverage beverage

With some energy drinks known for containing high sugar and caffeine content, companies are increasingly seeking to formulate healthier options by using botanicals and low glycemic index (GI) carbohydrates.

In this episode of Nutrition Asia, we shine the spotlight on companies that have developed products that help to boost energy levels without the side-effects of caffeine or sugar crash.

Taiwan-based Greenrays International has been selling its flagship product Antrodia Cinnamomea​ Functional Drink for the past seven to eight years.

The beverage uses Antrodia cinnamomea​, a fungus native to Taiwan and has been used by the indigenous people to relieve hangover symptoms and fatigue.

wild antrodia cinnamomea
Wild Antrodia cinnamomea ©Greenrays International

Local researchers further found out that the fungus contain high levels of polysaccharides and triterpenes and provide liver protection and immune benefits.

Ingredients such as Siberian ginseng, lion’s mane, and goji berries are also added into the formulation.

“Overall, the formulation helps to strengthen one’s immune system and energy levels, which means that this functional drink could bring about effects similar to an energy drink,” ​said Anthony Kao, supply chain manager.

The PET bottle version of the drink is sold in pharmacies as well as vending machines operated by The Coca-Cola Company in Taiwan.

The company also launched a more concentrated version of the beverage about two years ago. Known as the Antrodia Cinnamomea​ Functional PLUS Drink, it is specially marketed via pharmacies. 

To overcome the issue of sugar crash, ingredient firm BENEO believes there is a role to play for low-GI beet sugar derived ingredient trademark Palatinose.

With its low-GI profile, the ingredient could prevent a sudden spike in blood glucose levels, in turn offering a sustained release of energy.

The ingredient has been used by a major Japanese beverage company in an energy drink targeted at the e-sports market.  

On the other hand, from a consumer study conducted in Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam, the company found that consumers generally hold a negative perception towards energy drinks, but some were still drawn to consuming these products.

“The interesting part is that people have a rather negative perception of energy drinks. They believe that energy drinks use too much sugar, use too many artificial ingredients, and only provide a quick energy boost.

“Despite the negative image, consumers [44 per cent of the survey respondents] are drawn to energy drinks when they are looking for an energy boost,” ​said Christian Philippsen, Managing Director of BENEO Asia-Pacific.

He believes that the above trend has presented an opportunity to improve on the health aspects of energy drinks targeted at different consumers, including office workers, athletes, and e-sports.

Watch to find out more.

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