Juice cleanses are so 2014. The latest trend to hit the drinks industry revolves around so-called “functional” beverages — juices, milks and teas that promise to take your health and energy levels to the next level. You can now drink your hemp milk with an infusion of vitamin-rich microalgae, and even get a boost of energy within your favorite chia-infused juice.
“The [beverages] category went through a huge renaissance in the last two years,” says Dwight Richmond, the global grocery purchasing coordinator for Whole Foods Market. The popularity of cold-pressed juices and high pressure processing (HPP) technology fueled the trend, Richmond says. “Now, we’ve been noticing that people are looking for more in their juice than what was being offered, in terms of the flavor, purity and convenience.”
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While Richmond says the lion’s share of Whole Foods’ juice business is still made up “the lowest possible sugar and greenest possible juices,” people are looking for new options, too. “There has been a movement to [improve] functionality, whether with protein enhancements or caffeine enhancements,” Richmond says.
Ready to trade in your plain old green juice for a next-level concoction? These six sips are making a splash thanks to their innovative ingredients. Bonus: Some may be cheaper than your average juice-store finds.
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Turmeric, a spice commonly found in Indian foods, has taken the juice scene by storm. Several recent studies have linked it with health benefits ranging from improved memory to a stronger immune system. Plus, the spice is also said to help reduce inflammation and rid your body of toxins. Temple Turmeric, a New York City-based company, now sells 12 flavors of their turmeric blend, including a ruby-red Brooklyn Beet Elixir and a turmeric-infused matcha latte.
“What’s cool about that brand is the foundation is always delivering certain amount of turmeric in every bottle, but also expanding people’s palates,” Richmond says. “There’s more to turmeric than this hardcore taste.”
2. Daily Greens Enlighten Hemp Milk
Green juice company Daily Greens is now selling blue-green algae-infused hemp milk at Whole Foods. In addition to being dairy-free, the milk contains a health-promoting mixture of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, calcium, iron and magnesium. The blue-green algae that’s blended in makes the milk a good source of vitamin B, too, which may help boost energy levels.
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3. Harmless Harvest Namacha Tea
Best known for their coconut water, Harmless Harvest recently released a new product — Namacha tea. Touted as the first tea with cold-brewed, raw, organic leaves, the drink promises to energize you, despite the fact that it only contains one-sixth as much caffeine as a cup of coffee.
Many teas contain leaves that are fermented, roasted and sometimes treated with harmful pesticides. Harmless Harvest says Namacha tea leaves are washed right on the bush, so that they can be frozen, pulverized and cold-steeped without the extra processing. “Our aim is to continually and relentlessly challenge the status quo of food categories by offering innovative products that get consumers closer to the raw, unprocessed plants and respect the community and land that source them,” says Justin Guilbert, founder of Harmless Harvest.
4. Suja Juices
This company boasts being the fastest-growing organic, cold-pressed, non-GMO company in the U.S. Suja’s “Classic” juice line features another turmeric-based mix, in its “Fuel” blend. But their drinks range from cleansing concoctions to a dessert juice called the “Suja Vanilla Cloud,” a mix of almond milk, honey, coconut, vanilla and nutmeg.
“What we’re seeing is people are drinking different juices for different stages of their day,” Richmond says. “Whereas before, people would drink one thing all week long, now they’re mixing it up in a big way. They might be drinking a green juice in middle of day, or a smoothie-style juice in the morning, or a turmeric juice after a heavy workout if they want to [get rid of] some inflammation.”
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5. Mamma Chia Energy Beverages
Mamma Chia has been selling their chia-infused juices for years, but recently they launched a line of drinks packed with 90 milligrams of natural caffeine, too. “We saw a void in the marketplace for a truly healthy, organic energy drink as an alternative to massive coffees and chemical-laden energy beverages,” says Janie Hoffman, Founder and CEO of Mamma Chia.
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The company’s new energy blend contains 2,500 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids, in addition to protein, fiber, antioxidants and 90 milligrams of “clean” caffeine. The caffeine in the beverage comes from guayusa, a caffeine-infused leaf found in the Amazon. Hoffman says guayusa “delivers a balanced and sustained energy without the jitters and crashes typically associated with other sources of caffeine.”
6. Coco Libre Protein Coconut Water
Another coconut water company, Coco Libre, is branching out into multi-functional beverages, too. The company recently added protein-infused coconut water to their line. “Protein is really big, but at the same time the demand and expansion of lower sugar entries is still really popular,” Richmond says. At only six grams of sugar for a carton, CocoLibre’s Protein Coconut Water with Natural Vanilla Flavor has the best of both worlds.
If these new products don’t cover your needs, there are even more juicing options on the horizon. Whole Foods says some companies they work with are looking to introduce probiotics into their beverages soon. Just remember, these nutrient-packed bottles can only do so much. The healthy lifestyle is up to you.