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Bright, modern, and colourful design captures the brand’s mission to make soda both a fun and smart choice with ingredients that benefit the brain-gut connection and offer functional benefits with every sip

HERE Originals reintroduces its groundbreaking prebiotic soda, VINA in the US. Reformulated with an essential, proprietary blend of prebiotics, trace minerals, plant fibers and organic ingredients, VINA is expertly crafted to directly benefit the brain-gut connection. On a mission to recalibrate the soda category and functional cold box with a smarter choice, VINA unveils a line-up of flavours that taste great, are delightfully effervescent and expertly formulated to be both fun and smart to drink.

The revamped brand identity and packaging design follows a period of strategic repositioning of VINA’s functional benefits centered on the brain-gut connection. As functional soda becomes a fast-growing subcategory of the greater functional beverage space, the demand for healthier soda alternatives has rapidly increased. VINA’s unique formula that prioritizes brain and gut performance will invigorate consumer demand and add incremental value to this exciting new category with multifunctional benefits to both mind and body.

“Historically, soda hasn’t been considered a healthy choice, packed with sugars and toxins, despite the fun nature of the flavourful beverage. We saw a need to preserve what we all love about soda while completely reconstructing it to be both a naturally delicious and smart choice,” said Founder and CEO, Alex Matthews. “We challenged ourselves to cram what we call ‘The Smarts’ (plant fiber, trace minerals, prebiotics) into our formula for unprecedented functionality and of course, quality taste.”

Connected by millions of nerves and chemicals called neurotransmitters, the brain and gut are a package deal. Operating in a symbiotic relationship, when one is in distress, the other suffers. And, when one is balanced and thriving, the other reaps the rewards. VINA’s formula and ingredient selection are designed to address not one or the other in isolation, but both for optimal wellness.

According to VINA’s Chief Smarts Officer and mind-body expert, Dr. Cynthia Kerson, “The neurotransmitters bidirectionally linked between the brain and gut impact the very core of emotional wellbeing. Stress and anxiety in the mind caused by anything from external factors to deficiencies from essential nutrients can make its way down to the gut and lead to issues ranging from mild discomfort to GI tract issues. Alternatively, serotonin (the stuff that keeps our spirits high) is largely produced in the gut by millions of microbes in a healthy digestive ecosystem. VINA is ‘smart’ because it’s both multifaceted and hyperfunctional as it addresses mind-body wellness at its very core.”

VINA aims to delight both the pop purist and the functional beverage drinker with both taste and nutritional benefits. Crisp, fruity and crafted with an undertone of citrus to keep things balanced and bright, VINA comes in five flavours: Ginger Fizz, Cherry Pop, Grapefruit, Lime Lemon and Pomegranate. All blends are 5 g of sugar or less, 25 calories or less, certified USDA Organic, gluten-free, vegan and made with all natural ingredients.

VINA is the second beverage line out of HERE Originals, following De La Calle, a spin on the Mexican fermented pineapple beverage Tepache that won Best New Products and Best Packaging Design from BevNet’s Best of 2021 Awards.

VINA Prebiotic Soda is available in the US via Purchase one case of 12 cans (12 fluid ounces) for $33.99 MSRP or a monthly subscription for $28.89 per case, a 15 % discount.

German consumers have been turning away from juices in the last five years* as these drinks are considered to have a high sugar content. Therefore, juice makers are turning towards innovations in wellness drinks that are clear about their ingredient and nutritional benefits. Leading data and analytics company GlobalData says prebiotic juices with ingredients such as banana, garlic, apple and cocoa have the potential to be the next big thing in Germany.

Holly Inglis, Beverages Analyst at GlobalData comments: “The German juice market has seen a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) wane of 1.6 % in terms of volume over the last five years, spelling bad news for manufacturers. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel in the introduction of prebiotic juices.

“While we haven’t (yet!) seen garlic-flavoured drinks on the shelves, German producers have already started to focus their efforts on juices that promote immunity such as private label brand Dirk Rossmann, whose new launch combines prebiotic apple, mango, vegetable extract, shiitake mushroom and coconut juice. There is long-term potential for German juice manufactures to limit the declines witnessed in the category over the last few years, with the potential to capitalise on novel, innovative and trendy flavours – that in all, promote health and wellness.”

As we have seen before, reformulating products to remove sugar doesn’t always cut it. Experimenting with prebiotic ingredients such as ginger and turmeric emphasise unique ‘added benefits’, as well as being new to the market and appealing to experimental consumers.

Inglis continues: “GlobalData’s latest survey tells us that 55 %* of German consumers find ingredients that claim to improve digestive health somewhat or very appealing. That’s a large proportion of the market engaged in improving their digestive health. It is also noteworthy that, since the onset of COVID-19, a number of consumers have increased their focus on how these ingredients can improve their mental and physical wellbeing.”

In 2020, the German juice market witnessed a number of innovations from producers such as Hitchcock turmeric juice shot and Innocent ginger power shot; both of which have an ‘on-the-go’ pack size, which appeals to time-short consumers who are seeking to boost their immune system.

Inglis adds: “In the same survey, 49 %* of consumers highlighted that immunity-boosting ingredients are somewhat or very appealing. Producers could benefit from innovating beverages that boast these claims and sell at premium prices.”

*GlobalData’s Q2-21 Consumer Survey Results – Germany – Combined responses: “Somewhat appealing” and “Very appealing”

Seed-round, led by iAngels, will propel production and technology to reduce sugars in fruit juice

Better Juice, Ltd., the first company to reduce all sugars from natural juices, announces it has raised US$8M in seed-round investment. This new influx of support was led by iAngels, Israel and includes investors: Maverick Ventures, Israel; Food Tech Lab TFTL, Spain; The Kitchen Hub, Israel, as part of the Strauss Group and IIA; NEOME, Israel; Schestowitz Group, Israel; and Semillero, Puerto Rico.

The start-up’s enzymatic technology uses all-natural ingredients to convert fructose, glucose, and sucrose into prebiotic dietary fibers and other non-digestible molecules. Reducing up to 80 % of all sugars, Better Juice’s non-GMO technology is designed to target orange juice’s specific sugar composition to naturally create a low-calorie, reduced-sugar product with a delicate sweetness. Better Juice opened a pilot plant in January 2021, an important milestone in the startup’s commercial scale-up timeline.

Better Juice will use the investment to build its first full-scale manufacturing plant in Israel to serve the growing demand. The high-tech plant will increase production capacity by 40-fold while generating up to US$50M sales annually. The company will use the funds to expand the sales and marketing teams to support its commercialization stage.

“We are excited to complete this investment round with the support of leading venture capital and CPG companies from around the globe,” says Eran Blachinsky, PhD, founder and CEO of Better Juice. “This investment will enable us to accelerate our growth and expand into other product lines, such as ice cream, soft drinks, and jam.”

About Better Juice
Better Juice was founded in 2018 by Eran Blachinsky, PhD, in collaboration with the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. The company was incubated in The Kitchen Hub – Strauss Group’s foodtech and IIA incubator, and received early funding from Maverick Ventures, Israel and other global partners.

With four grams of prebiotic fiber from sunchokes and no sugar or caffeine, Gist works symbiotically with the body 

Gist, a thoughtfully created prebiotic sparkling beverage brewed with only five organically certified botanical ingredients, launched today. Created with plants, not extracts, Gist is redefining what it means to be a clean beverage.

Each can of Gist has four grams of prebiotic fiber, 14 percent of the daily recommended value, from sunchokes (also known as Jerusalem artichokes). There is no sugar or sweetener and zero caffeine. It’s cold-brewed with steeped herbs that infuse its unique flavours, offering healthful benefits and a natural sweetness.

Introducing Gist, a new prebiotic sparkling beverage brewed with five organically certified ingredients and created with plants, not extracts
Lizzy Haucke (Photo: Gist)

Lizzy Haucke, who founded Gist in 2020, has embraced a clean lifestyle for decades and approached the creation of Gist as she does her own life: with intention and a “come as you are” philosophy. As an entrepreneur, mom, dancer and Pilates practitioner, Lizzy wanted a go-to beverage that aligned with her values, while positively impacting her body and everyday life.

“I wanted a drink that was good for my health — not a negative or even net zero,” said Haucke. “As I explored options, I was disappointed by the ingredient list of so-called ‘clean’ beverages. They were full of ingredients I wouldn’t want myself or my family consuming. So, I started cold-brewing different herb combinations in my home kitchen to find the right flavor and ingredient combinations.

“I’m really proud of what we’ve created because Gist is exactly what many people like me have been looking for. It’s not only clean, but also approachable, meeting people wherever they are on their well-being journey. Drinking a Gist every day is one of the small steps I take that, over time, adds up to the life I want to live and how I want to feel living it.”

Gist Flavours + Ingredients 

Gist is sold in sleek 12-ounce cans and initially available in two distinct flavours: Chamomile with Rosemary and Ginger with Rooibos.

Chamomile with Rosemary has a light, floral and herbal flavour profile and is brewed with golden chamomile flowers and a refreshing hint of rosemary. Sweet and easygoing, the five ingredients include: carbonated water, organic chamomile flower, organic rosemary, organic Jerusalem artichoke inulin and organic lime juice.

Ginger with Rooibos is sweet, spicy and rich. Robust without being overwhelming, the brewed ginger root and honey-sweet rooibos tea are an energizing combination. Ingredients include: carbonated water, organic ginger root, organic rooibos tea, organic Jerusalem artichoke inulin and organic lime juice.

Gist is offered for $14.99 per four-can pack at

OptiBiotix Health Plc, a life sciences company that develops compounds to tackle obesity, high cholesterol and diabetes, offers a healthy alternative to refined sugar with a zero-calorie prebiotic sweetener, SweetBiotix.

While the food and beverage industry faces difficult decisions following the UK government’s recent introduction of levies on sugary drinks, also termed ‘the sugar tax’, SweetBiotix presents manufacturers with an advantageous solution to the backlash against sucrose.

Stephen O’Hara, OptiBiotix CEO, said “At the forefront of nutraceutical product development, OptiBiotix anticipated the growth in concerns about refined sugar several years ago and began developing a clean, calorie-free sweet fibre.

“By replacing refined sugar with SweetBiotix, manufacturers can respond positively to the tax and avoid the dilemma of passing the price changes on to customers or losing profits by shouldering the burden themselves. It really is a win-win solution for both the industry and the public, turning a potential manufacturing threat into an opportunity for companies to improve the nation’s health.”

Posing no weight gain effects, SweetBiotix is composed of naturally sweet fibres that are not digested in the gut, making it free from calories. Despite its guilt-free credentials, SweetBiotix nonetheless offers delicious taste similar to sucrose and was found in a University of Reading study to have with low off-flavours and taste ‘significantly sweeter’ than other existing sweeteners and sugars. It is therefore ideally suited to work as a bulk sugar replacement in functional food and beverage formulations.

SweetBiotix’s prebiotic composition furthermore enables the product to promote wider wellbeing by encouraging microbiome diversity, supporting the body’s microbial activity and delivering better health from the gut outwards.