Roots Soda Co., an Edinburgh based soft drinks start up, have just launched our first ever low sugar soda - with 69 per cent less sugar than most other fizzy drinks on the market.

I Need My Girl – a Beetroot, Rose and Pink Grapefruit soda – contains just 8.25g of sugar per 250ml serving, which is the equivalent of only two teaspoons. When compared with an equivalent portion of most fizzy drinks, Roots’ new soda contains around 69 per cent less sugar.

Established in 2012 with the intention of creating healthier fizzy drinks, Roots Soda Co.  have made it their mission to only release nutritionally substantial drinks, made using only whole, real, fresh fruits and an open and simple approach to production.

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The team behind the new company say a healthier soda has to be free from concentrates, artificial sweeteners, flavourings, colourings or preservatives, and made with as little added sugar as possible.

Their drinks also contain three to four times more fruit juice than other soft drinks on the market, which on average typically contain 12 per cent fruit juice, because they say they want their customers to be drinking something other than just sugar and water.

Starting small in a home kitchen and cooking up soda on the hob, Mark Pool and his team eventually moved to a local restaurant kitchen and began making about 80 servings per week which were sold at Edinburgh’s Farmers’ markets. Seeking complete control of the production process they then moved to their own Soda Works and now have the capacity to make 8000 servings per week.

The first batch of releases contained almost as much sugar as their mass produced rivals due to the naturally producing sugars in the pulped fruit and juices and this led to a desire to create even more great-tasting drinks from all natural ingredients, and with severely reduced sugar levels.

 

The team began by trying to reduce the sugars inside their drinks but eventually decided to try to produce new drinks, looking for interesting flavours in different places, and seeking ingredients which didn’t have so much natural sugar, such as vegetables, herbs and spices.

Using these ingredients maintained the nutritional value and great flavours, but less with sugar content. The complex and sophisticated flavours these ingredients provide also change the way the drinks are enjoyed say Roots; meaning they can be enjoyed and savoured, unlike their more traditional sodas which are often only purchased to quench thirst.

 

The result of these experiments is I Need My Girl, a drink in which the sugar content isn’t lowered by standard sweeteners but instead by using less traditional soda ingredients like orange juice, and instead using more of slightly more unusual flavours such as beetroot juice; which contains 3g less sugar than orange juice per every 100ml of juice. This simple and wholesome approach means they haven’t had to compromise on the quality of the soda, which still contains three times more fruit juice than other industrial and premium sodas.

 

As diabetes and obesity rates continue to rise in the UK, there is growing concern over the nation’s sugar consumption. Action on Sugar is calling for a reduction of sugar in food and drink products by 20-50 per cent by 2020 and the potential sugar tax on soft drinks has highlighted just how bad for you most industrial fizzy drinks are.

Yet, at the same time soft drinks are increasingly in demand. 1/5 of the UK’s adult population is now teetotal and teetotalism is increasing in popularity amongst young adults. On top of that, plenty of people often can’t or don’t drink alcohol, whether you’re designated driver or just wanting something a bit lighter for lunch. But the soft drinks market as it currently stands offers very little choice for those who’d rather avoid alcohol. Half of the market is made up by colas alone, and even premium soft drinks contain high levels of sugar. Recent research shows that 40 per cent of adults think most carbonated drinks are too sweet, and 46 per cent of adults asked view a drink’s sugar content as just as important as the brand when making a decision to purchase, meaning that low sugar alternatives are increasingly needed.

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