Saturday, October 09, 1999

Inner G has P&G drinking to its health

Ingredients good for you

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        New Age consumers will be able to toast the next millennium with an “Inner G” — a charged drink from Procter & Gamble that the company says will quench thirst and fight fatigue all in one gulp.

        The Cincinnati packaged-goods giant is set to release Inner G — an extension of its Sunny Delight drink line — early next year, a P&G spokeswoman said Friday. It's the first time P&G has gotten into the booming health and wellness food and beverage market.

        The new drink, blended with the herbal supplements ginseng, guarana and green tea, also contains about 5 percent fruit juice and will come in raspberry, mango and peach flavors.

        The herbal extracts give Inner G its fatigue-fighting ability and also classify the drink as a so-called “neutraceutical,” a functional food or beverage that acts as a preventive medicine or performance enhancer.

        Beverages made with such ingredients as guarana — a berry fruit from the Amazon that is supposed to have a stimulating effect on the mind and body — represent one of the fastest-growing consumer goods categories.

        Last year, sports bever ages, which include energy drinks, generated $538.1 million in sales. That is up 11 percent from sales of $483.4 million in 1997, according to figures supplied by New York-based Beverage Marketing Corp.

        Energy drinks accounted for a large percentage of the sales spike, said Mark Woodburn, chief financial officer of the New York-based Natural Health Trends Corp.

        Natural Health Trends markets a full line of herbally enhanced drinks with natural health benefits.

        “We're a small company compared to P&G, and we don't have their marketing muscle, but we've seen a dramatic increase in sales in the past year,” Mr. Woodburn said.

        He said an aging baby-boom population that is looking for alternative methods to maintain health has expanded the market for neutraceuticals from the back corners of health food stores.

        “People are becoming more aware of the benefits of safe and natural products and are turning to them to help prevent health issues instead of going to the doctor,” Mr. Woodburn said.

        The trend could help Inner G carve out a significant share of the estimated $10 billion market for health and wellness foods and drinks.

        Inner G is the second line extension of the Sunny D line in the past six months. In May, P&G introduced Sunny Delight Eclipse, a lighter, sweeter version of the original drink that comes in three flavors.


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