R&D Insider

New beverage line unites two categories
Slender Energy, a new energy-enhancing drink launched by Englewood Cliffs, N.J.-based Fuze Beverage LLC, combines two fast-growing categories, energy drinks and juice drinks, to capitalize on a larger consumer trend toward healthier lifestyles.
Slender Energy, available in five flavors, is a low-calorie, low-carb beverage containing 5 percent real juice. Packaged in an 18-ounce plastic resealable bottle, Slender Energy contains ingredients believed to promote weight loss and enhance energy, including vitamin C, an antioxidant; Citrimax, to reduce appetite, increase energy and help lower conversion of carbs into fat; L-carnitine, an amino acid meant to boost energy; chromium, believed to improve the amount of energy derived from food; and taurine, to help absorb fats and fat-soluble vitamins. It also contains caffeine, ginseng and guarana.
“Our whole Slenderize platform is just on fire,” says Fuze Chief Executive Officer Lance Collins. “We felt we could seize on a new concept by fusing two powerful categories together — energy drinks and the low-calorie, new age juice drink categories. We looked at our consumer base and at other hybrid trends in the marketplace where consumers are demanding the best of both worlds. We felt we could leverage our strength and take advantage of this opportunity to create a new energy beverage segment.”
Fuze’s Slender Energy concept is rooted in a few key statistics. According to Collins, energy drinks accounted for more than 60 million cases in 2004, and the category grew more than 74 percent last year. New age juice drinks, juices and other juice drinks comprise 41 percent of all non-carbonated beverages, while enhanced waters grew 52.5 percent last year.
Slender Energy is aimed at Fuze’s target market, 60 percent of which is women ages 18 to 30. “The opportunity is that it quenches many thirst occasions for our target consumers who have active lifestyles,” says Collins. “To us, it’s a refreshing coffee alternative. It’s great at the gym because it keeps you slender and it gives you energy. If you need a little pick-me-up, it’s a great-tasting alternative that’s low in calories.”
Fuze’s in-house food scientists developed the Slender Energy line, and worked with a flavor house to commercialize the concept. Formulation took some time to perfect due to the line’s unique combination of ingredients.
“This line has a lot of functional ingredients, and it took a long time to stabilize it. It took a long time to make it taste good,” Collins says. “We went through six months of stability testing on it. We ran it through a pilot lineup, and we focus-tested it. There’s a lot of R&D that went into it.”
Launched in August in eight states and Washington, D.C., Slender Energy is scheduled for a national rollout later this year.