Phillips tells BeverageDaily.com that low-glycemic cola Change delivers 32mg of Omega-3 EPA and DHA, and thus qualifies as an ‘excellent source’ of the fatty acids, where Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines state that products must contain at least 32mg/serving to make this claim.
Five years ago, Phillips was diagnosed with a life-threatening adrenal disorder, and he credits Omega-3s with saving his life, through the protection it afforded his heart and cardiovascular system: lowering bad cholesterol levels, raising good cholesterol levels and reducing triglycerides.
Big hole in the diet for Omega-3s
Due to his illness, Phillips had to give up soft drinks, and as he recovered had the idea of creating a low-glycemic nutritional supplement tasting just like cola, with the health benefits of Omega 3s.
“There’s a big hole in the diet for Omega-3s. Cola crosses all demographics, as does the need for Omegas – infants aside,” says Phillips, who insists Change Cola tested hundreds of formulations before finessing a great-tasting product.
“So if you launch as a premium brand you can target those 25 to 40-year-old male and females looking to healthier alternatives – I think that’s where the enlightenment starts,” he adds.
Change Cola worked with Californian biotech firm VIRUN – the firms have signed an exclusivity deal for all cola-flavored CSD products – to use the latter’s microencapsulation technology to formulate protein-free Omega-3 EPA and DHA into the cola, ensuring extremely high bioavailability levels.
Use of Tate & Lyle’s crystalline fructose sweetening system ensures a low-GI product (as opposed to straight High Fructose Corn Syrup, which has a moderate GI). Coupled with added Omegas, Change Cola insists it has a unique product that will stand out in the market.
VIRUN CEO Philip Bromley agrees that there is a ”huge need to get Omega-3s into nostalgia-type food products in the US, which will ultimately cause diabetes and heart disease levels to drop”.
Cola that doesn’t inspire guilt…
“We want a product that if you give it to a child – you won’t feel bad about it. There are also health benefits for the eyes and heart in middle-aged people – the same for the elderly,” Phillips added.
Change Cola will be sold in 10oz (295ml) aluminum bottles at a premium price point (from $2.99-3.99/bottle). Accordingly, Phillips insists that the brand will never sit next to the likes of Pepsi or Coke on retail shelves, but was instead more of an endcap proposition.
“We will be doing an in-store test release in Q4 this year, then shipping live product in Q1 2014,” Phillips says, hinting cryptically that the initial launch would occur east of the Mississippi river.
Change thought about cola the way Starbucks had about coffee, Phillips explains, noting that coffee used to be given away as a US restaurant loss leader before the iconic Seattle-born chain burst onto the scene.
“Change Cola is a premium brand, so it won’t fit everywhere,” he adds. “We’re not targeting corner stores - rather health stores, upscale stores. We want to be a cultural brand, an icon like Starbucks.”
Change Cola Lite (low calorie), Change Free (caffeine-free) and Change Cola Almond (with almond flavoring) variants will also be launched - all with 32mg of Omega-3 EPA and DHA - and Phillips promises that Change Cola has a more sophisticated taste than existing mainstream colas.