Natural Products Expo West

Banana Water’s clean label features one ingredient

By Deniz Ataman

- Last updated on GMT

Source: D. Ataman
Source: D. Ataman

Related tags Banana RTD regenerative

Bananas offer flavor and nutrition to consumers, and Banana Water is tapping into its global popularity through its RTD beverage using only the fruit, Rich Roth, operations assistant, FruitaBio, explained to FoodNavigator-USA at Natural Products Expo West earlier this month.

Distributed by United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI), Banana Water (a Woodstock Foods brand​) is produced via a closed circuit where each part of the banana is reused into the supply chain with almost no waste, explained Martin Roth, director of operations of FruitaBio, Banana Water’s manufacturer.

Martin Roth, an industry professional with 50 years, added that the brand’s single ingredient list in the age of clean label has garnered significant interest from retailers.

Because bananas are composed of three quarters water, the beverage is created through an extraction process using enzymes to break up the fiber and then placed in a centrifuge to separate the biomass from the water.

The pulp and peels from the production process are converted into 100% at-home compostable PHA bioplastics in FruitaBio’s Thailand facility, and any additional waste from the bioplastic is returned into the soil as natural fertilizer.

“They grow the bananas, they process it into banana water. Everything that is not in there becomes plastic—plastic bags, trash bags, cutlery—and then the waste from the plastic factory goes back to the farm as fertilizer,” Martin Roth explained of the closed-circuit system.

With its fully integrated and environmentally responsible methods, the brand is currently registering for regenerative organic status from the Rodale Institute.

The secret ingredient: Thai heirloom bananas

Using two heirloom varieties of Thai bananas (that differ from the traditional supermarket Cavendish species, which is susceptible to fungal infections) that are grown in Thailand without fungicides, Banana Water exhibits a smooth mouthfeel similar to coconut water, but with a distinct, light and sweet flavor.

Retailing at $2.99 MSRP, Martin Roth added that Banana Water is “a little cheaper than coconut water” and rivals its nutritional profile.

“The difference nutritionally between a coconut and a banana is that a banana has vitamin B6 [and] tryptophan, [in addition to] all the other [vitamins] that a coconut has. It’s a rehydration drink but it also [supports] mental clarity,” he elaborated.

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