New year, new category: Nestle Australia makes first foray into better-for-you ‘adult social beverages’ with upcycled cascara drink

By Pearly Neo

- Last updated on GMT

Nestle Australia is kickstarting the new year by pioneering a whole new better-for-you beverage option dubbed NESCAFE NATIV Cascara. ©Nestle Australia
Nestle Australia is kickstarting the new year by pioneering a whole new better-for-you beverage option dubbed NESCAFE NATIV Cascara. ©Nestle Australia

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Nestle Australia is kickstarting the new year by pioneering a whole new better-for-you beverage option dubbed NESCAFE NATIV Cascara, an upcycled coffee berry-based product with a strong Australian native flavours twist and sustainability profile.

This is the firm’s first foray in what it has dubbed a new ‘adult social beverage’ category – owing to the product’s caffeine content but without any alcohol content. Nestle Australia has expressed confidence in the growth potential of this new category after seeing other better-for-you beverages such as kombucha and coconut water experience strong growth in Australia in recent years.

“NESCAFE NATIV Cascara bridges the gap between overly sweet soft drinks and health toting kombucha [so will appeal to] consumers who want a delicious sophisticated drink while still being mindful of their choices,”​ Nestle Oceania Director of e-Business, Strategy and Marketing Martin Brown told FoodNavigator-Asia​ .

“This better-for-you drink is a refreshing, lightly sparkling RTD adult beverage option made from cascara, which is the Spanish word for ‘husk’ and refers to the coffee berry surrounding the coffee bean.”

Different to kombucha’s sweet-yet-sour flavour or the sugary sweetness of soft drinks, the cascara drink will instead be ‘floral and fruity’​.  It will also be far lower in sugar than soft drinks (which can contain up to nine teaspoons of sugar per 330ml), at just 3.3g per 100ml or 10.8gm per 330ml bottle, with no artificial sweeteners added.

“[This drink] is also free from preservatives and delivers the same caffeine kick as a cup of capsule coffee, to give consumers a naturally refreshing uplift,”​ Nestle Australia mentioned in a statement.

“The drink will also come in recyclable packaging and a label made out of paper.”

Cascara is rapidly gaining traction as an ingredient for beverages in the country not just due to its natural flavour, but also its sustainability profile as cascara is commonly discarded as a byproduct of the coffee drying process and wasted - globally, the waste numbers go up into the billions of metric tons.

“[We believe that] cascara is on trend to be the ingredient of 2021 across multiple categories,”​ said Brown.

“What we’ve done is to separate and sun-dry the coffee berry, then upcycle the husk to create this beverage which is actually also traditional to some coffee growing communities – this reduces the waste from coffee farming and also provides the farmers with a new revenue stream.”

Localised flavours

Although Nestle Australia sources the cascara from Mexico and Bolivia, the drink as a whole is manufactured in Australia using ‘at least 99% Australian ingredients’​, and much care has been taken to make the flavour variants as natively Australian as possible.

“We infused the cascara base with base with native Australian botanicals [in order to] craft and enhance [this drink with more Australian flavour],”​ said said Brown.

“NESCAFE NATIV Cascara will first be available in Australian markets in three variants: Classic, Kakadu Plum, and Lemon Myrtle and Pepperberry – all natural native Australian flavours. Classic will allow consumers to experience the natural earthy, fruity tones of the coffee fruit, Kakadu Plum is sweet, floral and delicate, whereas Lemon Myrtle and Pepperberry is more zesty and fresh with a hint of pepper.

“These can be enjoyed on their own as regular RTD drinks, or as mixers with alcohol in any social situation.”

NESCAFE NATIV Cascara will be available at retailers IGA and Impulse at A$4.50 per 330ml. 

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