In the spirit of true Kiwi ingenuity, two New Zealand exporters have developed a world-first – a shelf-stable collagen artesian water blend.

Adashiko Collagen Refresh water contains pure collagen and pure water – and not much else.

Adashiko CEO, Luci Firth, says the new beverage is designed to rejuvenate the premium bottled water industry and is already exceeding sales forecasts.

“The bottled water category in the hospitality industry typically consists of unflavoured still and sparkling varieties and has seen little innovation for some time.

“Many New Zealanders will struggle to pay for bottled water and with so little value added by suppliers, restaurateurs and bar owners are left to compete head-on with tap water, while still having to cover the cost of supplying it.

“The addition of a functional water product to this category means they will now be able to offer a competing product which they can justify retailing at a premium price point,” she says.

The development process was a combined effort between Adashiko and Parker Beverages.

The initial concept was thought up by Firth while she was in Japan where there are many products containing the protein.

“We see the market for our collagen water product as unisex, while it appeals to females from a cosmetic perspective, many males will also take it for functional benefits such as joint support.

“Local interest from New Zealand buyers in both the FMCG and hospitality industries has been strong and the product is now retailing in a number of supermarkets, restaurants and bars around the country with an increased uptake expected from both channels as we head into summer,” she says.

Managing director of Parkers Beverage Company, Doug Speedy, says specialised equipment is used to allow them to pasteurise the product to a precisely controlled temperature and produce a shelf-stable product.

“What we found is that the refined collagen also gives the water a crisp, light taste and there was no need for additional flavours to mask any bitter notes that can be associated with this type of product,” he says.

The use of New Zealand artesian water from an on-site well is a valuable asset in building brand equity currently Speedy says.

“There is currently strong interest on a global level for Kiwi made wellness products and the initial discussions we have had with buyers overseas suggest this will be a key differentiator for us as part of our export marketing strategy,” he says.

The global collagen RTD category of the market is worth $2 billion and the Adashiko drink already has customers in the export market expressing interest in the product.