Extraction and packaging innovations that prolong shelf life mean that consumers can now experience the sweet taste of plant water taken directly from maple trees and birch trees.
“With the right marketing and distribution strategies, these new waters will be a $2bn business by 2025,” said Julian Mellentin, director of New Nutrition Business.
Like coconut water, maple and birch waters offer benefits that make them perfect options for health-conscious consumers:
Maple water, like coconut water, is naturally rich in vitamins, minerals and 46 antioxidants. Maple water also has an inherently sweet taste, and an overall taste profile that gets a higher score than coconut water in consumer research (even though the sugar content – primarily sucrose – is only 2-3%).
Maple water, or sap, is the raw ingredient of maple syrup, traditionally processed into syrup because the water spoils after just a day. Yet, developments in aseptic packaging via Tetra Pak, combined with processing maple water the same day it’s collected, means water can now be made commercially available.
A trio of Canadian entrepreneurial brands – Oviva, Seva and Maple 3 – are developing the market.
Birch sap is produced by birch trees every year in early spring and is harvested as a health drink in countries such as Japan, Korea, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe.
The sap is completely clear and slightly sweet, containing just 1-1.5% sugars. The main naturally occurring sugar in birch sap is fructose. Birch sap also contains xylitol.
As with maple water, advances in packaging and processing technology now allow companies to bring birch water to market in its all-natural, no-added-sugar form.
Brands such as Finland’s Nordic Koivu, whose patent-pending technology has allowed them to collect and bottle the birch sap without adding any preservatives, and Denmark’s Sealand Birk, are rapidly developing the consumer market.
Birch sap is high in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, potassium, manganese, thiamin and calcium.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019