This is an article for all of you suffering soda-holics. Growing up as a kid, it’s easy to get hooked on the stuff. Coca Cola, Sprite, Fanta – you name it, kids love it. But a single can of soda contains the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar. This actively contributes to obesity and diabetes. We caught up with Nico Lau, Director of New Age Beverages to discuss how her brand provides a healthier alternative.
NEW AGE BEVERAGES
When it comes to food and beverages, we live in a world that favors taste and convenience. Fast food branches have turned soda drinks such as Coca-Cola into essential items to accompany a fattening combo meal. New Age Beverages (NAB), established in the UAE in 2010, strives to provide customers with a diverse range of high quality, natural, healthy drinks.
As a company that only distributes beverages that are healthy, we asked the company’s director, Nico Lau if she finds it difficult to encourage consumers to choose New Age Beverages over other sugary drinks like Coca Cola and Red Bull.
“There is definitely that barrier,” she said. “You have to understand that the UAE market, and certainly the Arabs, are entrenched into indulging sweeter food and drinks than their counter parts in Asia, Europe and the US. Don’t forget that Coca Cola has been around for a century and that is influencing over two generations of family.”
It’s true that some people feel like they cannot live without the fizzy drink, as it has become ingrained in our global culture. As society is becoming more and more technologically advanced, more people depend on gadgets and cars, so we exercise less compared to 50 years ago. The UAE in particular has a mounting obesity issue which has surfaced lately in the media.
“We need to constantly remind consumers how to read the label, how to eat healthy, and more importantly, these healthier foodstuffs need to be available to consumers as well,” said Lau. “I have definitely seen the trend getting healthier in the UAE. People are more aware these days, thanks to our government’s support and health initiations which have been apparent over the last five years.”
So, what are the health benefits that come with giving up the sugary sodas? We asked Lau to compare her New Age Beverage products to high sugar content beverages, in terms of the immediate benefits.
“Wow. Where should I start?” she exclaimed. “Our drinks are natural, free of preservatives, no artificial anything, no artificial coloring, and gluten free. Think about it in the sense that it’s less processed. There are no artificial additives – this is as natural as it gets.”
As part of the brand’s identity, being healthy and organic is clearly high on the agenda for New Age Beverages. That’s what makes it stand out, and is also how the brand wants to attract a customer base. We asked Lau how she goes about sourcing suitable products, and whether or not it is a difficult process.
“There are so many products abroad,” she said. “Every year there are new products coming out that all claim that they are healthy or “good”, with nice packaging. Part of our selection process is that products must be high quality, look good, taste good, and we also look at who are the people behind the product. This translates to integrity of the brand and quality of the product.”
Aside from sourcing appropriate products, educating people about the benefits of organic beverages, compared with drinking regular sugary sodas is equally important, as often people are unaware.
“We try to get into events, group chats and offer sampling,” said Lau. “I believe that these days social media is a very powerful tool. Sampling is still paramount. While sampling, we always interact with consumers. That is the best time we can engage with them.”
Lau assured us that she is constantly seeking out opportunities to partner with active sports personalities, chefs, and health enthusiasts to form forums in advocating the topic, but often finds it difficult to get the groups together as everyone is so busy. But Lau is up for the challenge! We asked her which, out of all the beverages that NAB sells, for example aloe vera juice, honeydrop tea, iced coffee, soy, and coconut water, is the most popular.
“All of the products are different,” she replied. “They all have their own attributes. For example, coconut water is very rehydrating. Aloe Vera is good for the skin and digestive system. Honey is great for the immune system and throat soothing. Soy is great for lactose intolerant people, including some post-natal mothers. Our iced coffee comes from Austria where there are more cows than humans, and the iced coffee is lower in sugar and calories than some of the other brands.”
It’s a fresh, fun range of refreshing products that New Age Beverages has on offer, and the perfect way to fight off the your soda-holic diet. Overall, Nico Lau hopes that New Age Beverages will cater to a wide range of customers, as a delicious range of healthy, enticing alternatives to break the trend of unhealthy sodas available today.