Oatly, Fiji Water founders relaunch Good Idea functional sparkling waters

Dive Brief:

  • The founders of Oatly and the co-founder of Fiji Water have relaunched Good Idea functional sparkling water in the U.S., according to an email sent to Food Dive. The line first debuted in the U.S. in 2018 as “The Swedish Sugar Buster” for its scientifically proven ability to reduce blood sugar levels with a blend of five amino acids and chromium.
  • With the relaunch, Good Idea has new packaging and flavors with wild Nordic berries, including Wild Raspberry, Sea Berry and Black Currant varieties. It also contains zinc and electrolytes. The beverages are available for sale at Good Idea’s web site, with retail locations to be announced. The zero-calorie, zero-carb drinks contain no sweeteners, caffeine or artificial colors, according to the brand. 
  • Good Idea’s blend of amino acids adds yet another offering by food and beverage manufacturers to address high blood sugar, a phenomenon that can not only lead to individual health problems but impact society through lost productivity.  

Dive Insight:

High blood sugar has been associated with everything from inflammation and weight gain to Type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimers. Good Idea claims to offer another way of controlling the health condition, bringing the CPG expertise of its famous founders and scientific research to back up its promises. 

According to Good Idea, Rickard Öste, the co-founder of oat milk giant Oatly, first learned about the potential of amino acids in reducing blood sugar after meeting Elin Östman. The fellow Lund University food scientist had previously patented a blend of five amino acids that she determined was especially effective. Öste teamed up with his brother and Oatly co-founder Bjorn Öste and Fiji Water co-founder Doug Carlson to develop Good Idea beverages featuring the blend.

“When we designed Good Idea our aim was to create an attractive product that would fit into established mealtime patterns, while simultaneously having a real impact,” Bjorn Öste, CEO of the California-based beverage brand, said at the time.     

The company reportedly invested around $9 million in research and development and nine third-party, double-blind clinical trials to confirm the efficacy of the functional ingredients in Good Idea’s beverages. Research found adding a small amount of chromium picolinate to the five amino acids enhanced their effects, and reduced blood sugar rise after a meal by 20% to 30% compared to a placebo.

Good Idea said the amino acids “prime” the metabolism to extract more energy from food, while the chromium picolinate boosts insulin sensitivity, minimizing the amount needed to deliver energy into cells. (The FDA has not evaluated these claims.)

Amino acids and chromium are one option in addressing blood sugar through food and drink. Others include high-fiber diets and examining the role of different types of sweeteners. Other CPGs have taken a stab at addressing the health issue. In June, General Mills debuted Good Measure, a line of snacks made with ingredients that don’t cause blood sugar to spike, including nuts and seeds. 

There’s plenty of opportunity for serving consumers concerned about their blood sugar. Market research firm IMARC Group estimates the global market for diabetic food alone hit $9.2 billion last year, with a 7% compound annual growth rate predicted from 2021 to 2026. 

At the same time, there’s also a larger societal cost if the issue is not addressed. A study published by the American Diabetes Association in 2017 found elevated glucose levels added $302 billion in medical costs and nearly $102 billion in lost labor force participation, lower productivity and early mortality. This amounted to a “hidden tax” averaging $1,240 per American in higher medical costs and reduced national productivity. 

Good Idea’s relaunched beverage line coincides with a broader trend in the food and beverage space where consumers are increasingly looking for more than hydration or the easing of hunger. Shoppers are gravitating to products that improve their health, provide extra nutrition and support their physical and emotional wellbeing.

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