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The rise of collagen: Kiwi duo launches world-first RTD

Kiwi exporters Adashiko and Parkers Beverage Company have joined forces to launch a world first RTD, the Adashiko Collagen Refresh water.

Innovative RTD’s have been the trend of 2020, but this new drink takes originality to the next level. The collagen refresh water is the first in the world to contain pure collagen and pure water, with no preservatives, no flavouring, colours or other additives. The neutral tasting drink can also be used as a mixer for cocktails.

Introducing nutraceutical beverages to the hospitality industry, the company has already gathered interest from customers in export markets around the world as it looks to capture a share of a $2 billion global collagen RTD category.

Adashiko CEO Luci Firth, says the bottled water category typically consists of unflavoured still and sparkling varieties and has seen little innovation for some time.

“Many New Zealanders will struggle to pay for bottled water and with so little value added by suppliers, restaurateurs and bar owners are left to compete head-on with tap water, while still having to cover the cost of supplying it,” says Firth.

“The addition of a functional water product to this category means they will now be able to offer a competing product which they can justify retailing at a premium price point.”

Parkers Beverage Company managing director, Doug Speedy, says specialised equipment was used to get the product to a precisely controlled temperature. Ultimately, it was the purity of the collagen and water that helped create a shelf-stable final product.

“What we found is that the refined collagen also gives the water a crisp, light taste and there was no need for additional flavours to mask any bitter notes that can be associated with this type of product,” he says.

Exporting bottled water from New Zealand can be a tough sell, however the demand for Kiwi-made wellness products and the discussions the company has had with overseas buyers suggests it will be a key differentiator for the brand as part of their export marketing strategy.

Speedy says each market around the world views the same ingredients differently, meaning the brand needed to navigate each country’s requirements.

“With a beverage like this the conversation isn’t just around product and price, it is product, price and regulations. 

“None of these challenges are insurmountable however and we have already begun the process in several key markets such as Australia, USA and Singapore.”

Firth says she sees the market for the collagen water as unisex. Although collagen appeals to females from a cosmetic perspective, it also appeals to males for functional benefits such as joint support.

She says the product has already seen interest from New Zealand buyers in both the FMCG and hospitality industries.

“We are now retailing in a number of supermarkets, restaurants and bars around the country with an increased uptake expected from both channels as we head into summer.”

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