NEW AGE DRINKS THINK HEALTHY;BEVERAGES USE ANTIOXIDANTS TO TOUT NUTRITIONAL VALUE

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The latest blend of New Age drinks hitting the market not only quenches your thirst but may even improve your health.

Crystal Geyser Water Co. has created a new segment with a combination sparkling water and juice drink with nutritional enhancements ranging from antioxidant vitamins to ingredients believed to bolster the immune system and memory.

Antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, are under study as playing a role in protecting cells from damage.

Juice Squeeze Vegi-Fruit Plus, a lightly carbonated shelf-stable beverage, is being introduced in health food stores, high-end independent markets, delis and fitness centers.

APPEAL OF ASIAN TREE

Bay Pac Beverages is preparing to launch a new type of flavored tea in the San Francisco area. Aperi'te is based on a fruit rind of the Garcinia Cambogia tree, native to southern Asia. The drink is available in five flavors.

"Research has found that [hydroxcitric acid from that tree] hinders the process used by the body to run excess calories into fat," said Jackson Bays, president of Bay Pac and a former PepsiCo and Adolph Coors Co. executive.

A variation of a traditional juice product bears similar vitamin claims. Campbell Soup Co.'s V-8 Plus line extension boasts vitamin A plus antioxidant vitamins C and E-without the carbonation of Crystal Geyser's product.

These new beverages are the latest in the trend toward nutritional drinks, such as Ross Laboratories' Ensure and Mead Johnson Nutritionals' Sustacal and Boost, which have moved from being products sold to the elderly and infirm to being pitched to athletes and busy younger people seeking an alternative to snacks and drinks viewed as less healthful.

V-8 Plus is getting print, point-of-purchase, sampling and couponing support via FCB/Leber Katz Partners, New York. Hal Riney & Partners, San Francisco, is the agency for Crystal Geyser, which plans only POP for Juice Squeeze Vegi-Fruit Plus. Bay Pack is conducting an agency search.

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