Colorado-based start-up Züm XR has made a splash with its patented technology that delivers slow, sustained caffeine release that has made its line of beverages the best sellers in their category in the western states region of Whole Foods Market, according to founder Bob Niichel.
Sustained energy can mean a number of things; some foods in the space use the term to refer to the use of complex carbohydrates that digest more slowly, providing a slow, sustained rise in blood glucose levels. Züm takes a different tack, and uses ideas that Niichel borrowed from a previous career in the pharmaceutical industry.
“In pharmaceuticals there are a lot of products that have sustained release elements,” Niichel says. “And we thought how great it would be if we could bring that technology into a beverage.”
Niichel said he saw a need for a product that purported to do the same but with caffeine.
At the heart of the product is a beadlet technology Niichel developed to encapsulate caffeine and release it over a period of hours rather than the steep delivery curve typical of other caffeinated beverages such as energy beverages or coffee. The delivery curve rises slowly and peaks at a relatively low level, so the peak caffeine level in the blood is much lower than with the same amount of caffeine delivered all at once.