We are excited to bring to you excerpts from Food Innovation Australia Limited's (FIAL) latest edition of Celebrating Australian Food and Agribusiness Innovations book. The FIAL team searched far and wide to find some of the best innovations in the country — from small businesses to multinationals, the new 2019 book edition showcases 50 innovations from across the whole value chain.
FOCUS: StrangeLove | Lo-Cal Sodas - the gamble that paid off | Collaborative product development and a leap of faith — the result — a premium range of low- sugar, adult soft drinks.
Challenge: The soft-drink category in Australia has undergone a rapid transformation in the past five years, stemming from an increased consumer preference for functional and health-based drinks such as kombucha and coconut water. There has also been a cultural shift away from high-sugar products.
While StrangeLove already had a successful range of organic sodas in the market, it was clear that a seismic shift was occurring in the way people were consuming beverages. In 2017, for the first time ever, their organic soda drink range experienced a drop of 3% in total sales for the year.
The team at StrangeLove knew they needed to change their offering by either removing or reducing sugar from their product.
The challenge was how to do this — how to retain exceptional flavour, with less sugar and no unwanted additives such as stevia. How to take an already successful product and get ahead of the curve, pushing their products further into the better-for-you space
Solution: One of the key philosophies of the brand is supplying people superior, exciting, imaginative flavour experiences. StrangeLove initially experimented with natural sugar replacements such as stevia and monk fruit, but it was clear these ingredients resulted in a compromised flavour profile. Some consumers were extremely sensitive to the undesirable flavour aspects these types of sweeteners can produce.
For that reason, after much experimentation, it decided not to use any sugar replacers — instead reducing the total sugar in its drinks by 70% and devoting the majority of its new product development effort into making beautiful-tasting, lighter, crisper sodas.
The team worked with ingredient suppliers and key customers, completely redesigning the product.
Want to hear more about Strangelove and other great Australian food and Agribusiness Innovations? Get your copy of the 4th edition of the Celebrating Australian Food and Agribusiness Innovations book HERE.