Globally, coconut water launches grew by 99% between 2012 and 2013 – according to data from Mintel – and it was likely water from tree saps would follow suit, said New Nutrition Business director Allene Bruce, at a Food and Drink Innovation Network nutrition event in March.
Consumer demand for such products centred around their intrinsic health benefits, which, thanks to widespread media coverage, were well-known to consumers. This meant no health claims had to be made on pack, eliminating any illegalities that might occur from the improper use of European health claims legislation.
“We’re seeing sap waters, such as birch and maple, come from Scandinavian countries where they are widely drunk for their health benefits,” she said.
“The coconut water market is worth £400M worldwide and there’s no reason why tree sap waters couldn’t imitate that success in the near future.”
Extraction and packaging innovations that prolonged shelf-life had meant it was now cheaper to produce the products for export, she added.
“Like coconut water, tree waters offer benefits that make them perfect for the health-conscious,” said Bruce.
They were naturally healthy and had a positive nutritional profile; they were naturally sweet; and could be sustainably sourced with little constraint on volumes, she added.