Instant hit? Australia’s Savvy Beverage expanding range of nootropic products after coffee capsule success

By Guan Yu Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Savvy Beverage expands into nootropic instant coffee and soda  ©Savvy Beverage
Savvy Beverage expands into nootropic instant coffee and soda ©Savvy Beverage

Related tags Australia Nootropic Coffee soda Brain health

Australia-based start-up Savvy Beverage is launching an instant coffee and soda drink containing nootropic ingredients to enhance brain function.

This is an extension to its current product line – functional coffee pods which are compatible with Nespresso coffee machines.

Based on its coffee pods sales alone, the firm saw 311% growth in sales year-on-year, indicating strong interest in nootropic products.

Mark Curry, who founded the company in 2016, told NutraIngredients-Asia​: “There’s a huge problem of burnout and people being overworked in most companies. It has become the norm to always be too busy and too tired.

“There is a huge need for products that provide benefits to energy, positive mood, focus and reducing stress. But all that was available was coffee, tea or energy drinks​.”

So, Curry, with his background in law and nutrition, established Savvy Beverage, and formulates products with nootropic ingredients such as L-Theanine to enhance focus, Rhodiola Rosea, Panax Ginseng and Ashwagandha to reduce stress and anxiety, as well as improve mood.

According to Curry, the addition of instant coffee and ready-to-drink soda products offered convenience to consumers who wanted the benefits on cognitive function but did not have access to a coffee machine.

“Not everybody has a Nespresso compatible coffee machine, so our coffee powder and healthy mental energy drink allows everybody to consume anytime, without needing a machine.”

The new beverages will be sold on its online store and several health food stores in Australia.

With the soda product, Curry said supermarkets have shown interest in the ready-to-drink format and expects to list next year.

We have a plan to expand rapidly with key distributors on the Eastern side of Australia, so New South Wales, Victoria, and Brisbane and sell into as many health food shops, small independent grocers, supermarkets, convenience stores and petrol stations as possible​.”

Product development

The first product launched by Savvy Beverage was a lemon-lime-berries juice product with 20 nootropic ingredients, it has since been discontinued.

Curry said: “Back then, we were trialling the concept and had 20 ingredients in the drink, 4.5g of active ingredients. It was a multivitamin drink with many herbal extracts combined with cranberry juice with lemon and lime. We discontinued it to develop a drink that were more specific in functions, especially in boosting energy, focus and mood​.”

The new drink is in a soda format, and contains 14 ingredients instead of 20. It comes in two flavours, lemon and lime, and berries, which happen to be two of the more popular flavours in Australia.

According to Curry, sugar-free soda was also an ideal format since it is a popular beverage of choice in Australia, where people prefer carbonated beverages with no calories over still beverages or juice.

savvy coffee

The company also worked on coffee, because it is the second most popular beverage in the world after tea, and “we wanted to improve coffee so people can enjoy more of the benefits, without any of the drawbacks of coffee like jitters, headaches, and anxiety​.”

Savvy’s coffee pods products are made from organic and fairtrade coffee with 14 ingredients including L-theanine, Ashwagandha and Panax Ginseng.

The instant coffee product is similar to the coffee pods, except it contains higher dosage at 10g, compared to 5.5g, and additional ingredients such as MCT oil.

The company sources its nootropic ingredients from their place of origin, mostly Asia which is home to Rhodiola rosea, Panax Ginseng, Ashwagandha and Lion's Mane mushroom.

The instant coffee is roasted in Brisbane.

R&D challenges

Curry cited challenges in getting manufacturers to work on nootropic products, a relatively new space in Australia.

When he started five years ago, many manufacturers did not want to work on a beverage using the best available nootropics in Australia, mostly because “they didn't know what a nootropic was, or what an adaptogen is, where to source it from, what it would taste like​.”

So Curry purchased ingredients by himself and worked on the formulation with a team of nutritionists and health experts. It took years before Curry found a manufacturer for Savvy Beverages to produce their formulation.

Taste was the next challenge, since these nootropic ingredients tend to be bitter and unpleasant.

The problem was us trying to make a sweet drink to mask the bitter flavours. Ultimately, we decided that the drink is naturally bitter and astringent, so we should use natural ingredients that are already very bitter, like lemon and lime and cranberries to mask​.”

The firm has received a research and development grant from the Australian Government. The grant supports companies that are pioneering a new space in Australia. It gives a percentage of the money spent by the companies on R&D to support innovation.

Savvy is lucky enough to be one of the new exciting products of Australia​,” Curry said.

Looking forward to 2023, the firm hopes to bring its products to Asia and US.

I think it's a perfect opportunity to be able to share such a product that helps people to get the most out of their brain. In Asia, people understand the importance of health and nutrition, and a lot of the products that we're using stem from Chinese medicine and Ayurveda which is Indian medicine as well​.”

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