Mar 13

The End of Coconut Water and the Rise of Cactus Water

Talking Top Trends from Natural Products Expo West 2015

Sasha  Orman

Sasha Orman - Production – Mar 13, 2015

“I’m really worried about the coconut situation around the world—you have to give the coconut crops around the world a minute,” Trent said. “But I’m so glad that the whole coconut water thing started, because if it hadn’t been for that we wouldn’t have nopal water.”

Trent predicts that brands like True Nopal Cactus Water, extracted from the prickly pear fruit of the nopal cactus, are going to be the next big thing to replace today’s omnipresent coconut water. With half the calories, sugars and carbohydrates of coconut water, she foresees a lot of appeal to health and fitness enthusiasts—and the drought-resistant nature of the cactus makes it an appealing option for consumers concerned with sustainability.

Mar 6

Natural Products Expo West 2015 Preview Scoop Of Top Exhibitors!

True Nopal cactus water – Booth #8214

tru nopeI was not expecting to love this item. The flavor is best described as pleasantly watered down fruit drink, but with a crisp clean citrus-y finish. Serve cold, this is incredibly refreshing prickly pear water – an all natural ingredient hydrator that will quench thirst with no added sugars, no preservatives, no sodium, no GMO, and it’s even gluten-free. In other words, it’s straight from the earth just the way it was intended to be. True Nopal cactus water has about half the calories and half the sugar than the leading brand of coconut water.

Made from the prickly pear cactus, True Nopal Cactus Water has anti-inflammatory properties and is the new front-runner in the growing plant water category. It tastes better than its other plant water counterparts and cleanses the body with all 24 betalain antioxidants found in the cactus. Studies have shown that it can also be used as a hangover cure that hydrates the body before and after a great night on the town.  I will never be without it again, Love this product. LOVE IT.

Feb 2

How’s Your Super Bowl Hangover? Prickly Pear Water Could Help

By David Hammond

Did you enjoy the Super Bowl, yesterday? Did you over-indulge in food, drink, and mindless cheering, uncontrollable and highly voluble hatred of the opponents, senseless and undeserved identification with the victors?

That’s nice.

I’ve heard that when one drinks too much, one can expect a headache the next day. It’s called a “hangover,” and it’s likely that some of you reading this may be experiencing one right now (as well as guilt over all the things you ate and drank, all the things you said to your family and friends during the intoxicated violence of game day, perhaps even a pang of guilt over all the people you injured — physical and emotionally – while throwing things around and generally being a sports-crazed mania).

Last week, I was sent a bottle of True Nopal, the water of the prickly pear, which is the oblong fruit of the nopal cactus. The prickly pear is green, with armadillo-like studs on its skin, and an interior that’s richly red. In Spanish, it’s called “Tuna,” and although I’ve enjoyed the water of the nopal cactus paddles, I’ve never had the water of the prickly pear.

According to the literature, “The prickly pear cactus is the only known plant to contain all 24 known betalain antioxidants, which are known to detoxify the body at the cellular level.”

Nopal also contains high levels of vitamins A,C, and K and loads of amino acids [].

True Nopal is much less sweet than other fruit waters you might know, with a lightly flowery nose and beautiful pinkish-red color. Like many Mexican aguas fresca, it is very refreshing all by itself, and because it’s less sweet, a good accompaniment to foods.

So after your highly toxic Super Bowl Sunday – filled with fried food and rage and booze – consider detoxifying yourself with the water of the prickly pear.

I like mixing True Nopal 4:1 with Sauza 901 Tequila: 2 birds/1 stone, hair of the dog, etc.

You can find out more about this beverage at their site: click here.

Jan 14

bon appetit: 7 strange flavored waters to try – or not

January 14, 2015 /
Written by Michael Y. Park

If you ever felt like a sap for paying $4 for a bottle of flavored water, you can now buy actual maple water to drive the point home. Or you can pick out a flavored water based on color, not taste. And why not get your dog in on the fad, too? There’s a flavored water just for Fido.

For years now, flavored waters have been the big thing in rehydration, with companies touting their vegetable- and fruit-infused H2O as “phytonutrient”-packed, antioxidant-filled, electrolyte-crammed ambrosias that’ll have you fighting off colds, embracing Mother Nature, and feeling like a five-year-old again. Cucumber water and lemon water have gone from being the mainstays of country clubs to coming in plastic bottles decorated with skinny-dipping slices. And try to tally up the number of people you know who’ve adopted coconut water as their go-to refreshment last couple years. (Or just name the celebrities who quaff the stuff, like Rihanna, Madonna, and Demi Moore.)

But it gets weirder from there. Just take a gander ….

Cactus Water
If it works for camels and for cartoon characters lost in the desert, why wouldn’t it work as a bottled drink? The folks at True Nopal took the Nopal cactus (i.e. prickly pear) and have marketed as a lower-calorie, lower-sugar competitor to, yes, coconut water, and it’s got a fruity taste that might appeal to an even wider market. And no needles!

Maple Water
Canadian-based Seva describes maple water as “pure maple sap, the clear and nourishing water the flows naturally out of maple trees each spring. … It’s like drinking maple water right from the tree!” Except, we hope, the part about picking out flakes of tree bark from your lips.

Bacon-Infused Water
Yes, of course someone came up with bacon-infused water, because the “bacon thing” is never going to end. In this case, the bacon flavoring comes in the form of effervescent tablets you added to your water to create a bubbly, pork-flavored drink. (You could probably recreate the effect by dropping a couple slices of bacon into your seltzer water.) Thankfully, these tablets no longer seem to be available.

Chocolate-Mint Water
Though Metromint’s “chocolatemint” flavor has been around for a while now, it’s still a puzzler. Is it meant to appeal to chocolate lovers who don’t actually love chocolate enough to actually, y’know, eat chocolate or drink cocoa? To supposed chocoholics who don’t want that luscious chocolate-y smoothness that’s such an integral part of the chocolate experience? Is it a scientific experiment about whether certain flavors are still appealing if you strip away their normal visual and textural cues? At least we can rest easy knowing the “guilt-free anytime delight” was made with “real mint” grown in Washington’s Yakima Valley, though the website makes no mention of the chocolate part of the equation.

Flavored Water for Dogs
You’ve probably already figured out that dog-food commercials are meant to appeal to human owners’ appetites and not canines (we don’t care how smart your dog is, he couldn’t care less whether or not his canned meal resembles beef stew or chicken pot pie). So you won’t be surprised to know that there’s a line of flavored waters for dogs. K9 Water comes in chicken, beef, liver, and lamb, (no, there’s no toilet-water flavor), and according to the California-based company that makes it, it’s “rebarkably refreshing™.” Because dogs love puns, too.

Jan 5

life & style magazine star swap says “swap coconut water for cactus water.”

Life & style magazine star swap says “swap coconut water for cactus water.” Move over, coconut! True nopal cactus water is not only a super-hydrating nutrient powerhouse, it contains about half the sugar and calories of coconut water at just 24 calories a glass.

Dec 18

beverage world magazine names true nopal cactus water hot innovative and trendsetting beverage of 2014

True Nopal, a new player in the plant water category, has taken the industry by storm this year. Beverage World Magazine has included them in their 2014 HIT list that ran in the December issue where they discuss the newest drinks to revolutionize the space that coconut water paved.

With Beverage World being an industry opinion leader read by important decision makers who influence the latest and hottest trends in the market, the accolade is helping True Nopal pick up even more steam, paving the way for other beverage products that are packed with nutrients.

“We are honored to be included in Beverage World’s 2014 HIT list,” said Tom Zummo, Chief Executive Officer of True Nopal Cactus Water. “We are so humbled that others see in True Nopal what we have seen since day one. We wanted to produce a drink that not only tasted good but that was also good for you and we couldn’t be happier that other people are recognizing this as well.”

“Only the savviest of retailers have the foresight to see potential in products the public is starting to embrace,” Zummo continued. “And after just six months on the shelves, we are now sold in over 3,000 retailers nationwide.”

Dec 14

true nopal cactus water on the shelf in whole foods

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — True Me Brands LLC announced today that Whole Foods Market has brought in True Nopal Cactus Water, the delicious and hydrating new beverage derived from the prickly pear cactus. With half the calories and sugar of coconut water, the sought after drink will be available to the health-savvy early adopters who frequent their Southern Division stores.

Health and nutrition experts credit True Nopal as an excellent source of hydration. 100% natural, inherently sweet and sodium-free, the prickly pear cactus is the only plant in the world to contain all 24 boosting betalain antioxidants, which makes True Nopal an excellent source of those nutrients. It packs such a hydrating punch that studies show it can even aid in rebounding from a hangover.

“It takes a certain savoir-faire to cut through the clutter in today’s crowded health market,” said Tom Zummo, Chief Executive Officer of True Nopal Cactus Water. “We’ve made landing the Whole Foods account a priority for that reason. Their customer is our customer – a knowledgeable and informed head of household who makes no compromises for their own and their families’ well-being.”

True Me Brands, LLC, True Nopal’s parent company and the pioneer of the cactus water category, has enjoyed rapid growth and a slew of national distribution commitments. In just a matter of months, the company has catapulted True Nopal onto the shelves of more than 3,000 stores across the country.

True Nopal is available at Whole Foods in both 1 liter and 500 mL sizes. The drink is all natural and contains no added sugars, no fat, no cholesterol, no sodium, no GMOs, it is gluten-free and both vegan and Kosher certified.

Dec 12

7 food trends to watch in 2015

We can’t really remember what life was like before bone broth (maybe one of the oldest food concepts on the planet) somehow took over the world in 2014. Broth joins a long line of trendy health foods, some of which stick around (chia seeds, kale, quinoa) some of which cool off (agave, soy milk, egg whites). Here are seven foods we expect to be seeing a lot more of in the new year.

1. The New Coconut Water(s)
Coconut water has dominated the market for quite some time, but lately we have been seeing a few new waters on the scene, namely, maple, cactus and watermelon. They are all natural forms of hydration with no added sugars and boast the same kind of benefits as coconut water — vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, electrolytes and more.

2. Sprouted Grains
Sprouted grains and flours have been around in the health food community for some time, with things like ezekiel bread bringing the concept into a wider consciousness. But we see even bigger things happening in 2015, with news of Kashi announcing the launch of a sprouted grain cereal early next year and rumors of King Arthur flour widening their range of spouted grain flours. Next big move we’re hoping for: sprouted grain bagels at the local bodega.

3. Activated Charcoal
Chinese and Ayuredic medicine has long used activated charcoal for intestinal health and to neutralize toxins. In Western medicine it’s often used in emergency situations to keep certain kinds of poison from entering the body through the stomach and as a remedy for gastric issues and upset stomach. Lately, we’ve been seeing activated charcoal going a lot more mainstream, from vitamins, marketed as a digestive aid, to an ingredient in cold-pressed juice, from Activated Greens at NYC’s Juice Generation to Charcoal Lemonade at LA’s Juice Served Here.

4. Fermented Foods
We’ve talked before about the benefits of fermented foods, particularly that it can help balance your microbiome, lift your mood, help your skin and brain function and encourage good bacteria for a healthy gut. In addition to kimchi, there are a few fermented foods that you probably have already tried but weren’t aware they were so good for you, from pickles to sauerkraut and more. While these aren’t new, much like bone broth, we can see these fermented foods picking up steam in the new year for their increasingly recognized health benefits. There’s a lot of versatility here, especially in the pickle department. Ferment your own food in style, with these fermentation pots we included in our recent healthy foodie gift guide.

5. Amaranth
Could amaranth be the new quinoa? An ancient grain from the high valleys of the Andes (like quinoa), amaranth is a nutritious and versatile addition to the everyday pantry. You can cook it alone for savory meals (it has the consistency of grits or porridge) and top it with vegetables and greens like you would quinoa. Additionally, amaranth pops like popcorn to make rice cakes and other things, like these Golden Amaranth Superfood Bars.

6. Cabbage
Kale will always be our jam, but it’s time to spotlight another cruciferous vegetable with equally notable health benefits: cabbage. Full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and more and low in calories, in both red and green varieties, you can use in it pretty much all ways you use kale. In fact, we have been seeing it pop up on restaurant menus in place of kale recently, maybe because kale has gotten more and more expensive as it’s popularity and demand grow. In addition to similar health benefits and lower price, cabbage may gain some traction in the new year as it’s the main ingredient in two of the most popular fermented foods: sauerkraut and kimchi. Incidentally, cabbage makes great chips.

7. Yacon Syrup
Agave, raw honey, xylitol, maple syrup, coconut sugar — the list of alternative sweeteners is vast, as people try and find a better alternative to refined sugars. There’s been some particular attention paid recently to yacon syrup. Derived from the yacon root, the syrup has a caramel/molasses taste and texture. In addition to sweetening without the refined sugar, the benefits of yacon have been noted as helping manage metabolism and weight loss. Maybe not tomorrow, but sometime in the near future, we wouldn’t be surprised to see some “sweetened with yacon” labels popping up.

Nov 26

food nutrition and science true nopal sustainability series

True Nopal produces all natural cactus water sourced from the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mohave deserts. The company is passionate about conservation efforts and doing things that are good for the environment, including packaging their product with Tetra Pak cartons. We talked to CEO Tom Zummo about the importance of increasing awareness of responsible brands to help preserve the ecosystem.

How does your business define sustainability?

We’re living in a world where even the most confident consumers can fall prey to green-washing. Every brand that’s doing something to help make the earth a more livable place wants to be recognized for that, and rightfully so. We’re no exception, but it’s most important for us to utilize resources in such a way that genuinely and meaningfully leaves a minimal footprint on the environment, or even helps contribute to its development.

How are you incorporating sustainable practices into your business?

Our business is rooted quite literally in sustainability. The Nopal Cactus, or “prickly pear,” is a highly sustainable crop that requires very little water to grow. It simply grows wild in the desert where deforestation and irrigation is not necessary in order to cultivate or produce our crop.

We package True Nopal Cactus Water in Tetra Paks, which are made from recycled and sustainably harvested wood fibers and aluminum. The Tetra Pak also allows us to transport and store in ambient conditions, as opposed to refrigerated trucks. Refrigeration produces a good deal of fluorocarbons and can contribute to ozone depletion and global warming, which we’re able to avoid with the way our operation is designed. Tetra Paks also help preserve the integrity of the product naturally.

What are your short term and long term goals?

Currently True Nopal Cactus Water is available in natural and grocery stores across North America. In the long term, while we’re pleased with the way we’ve been rapidly expanding, we’d like to be a global brand… not only to provide a hydrating and delicious product to an international audience, but to educate as many people as possible on the product’s incredible benefits.

Where do you think you’ll have the biggest impact?

The early adopters are always the heroes of cutting edge products that deliver on their promise. That, mixed with the luxury of our creating a new category, cactus water, gives us prime potential to stand out with the health- and fitness-oriented set.

How do you measure your progress?

Like any company, we keep records, books and spreadsheets, but the most telling aspect of how we’re doing comes from the incredible feedback we get from our customers. Touching and uplifting testimonials about the way our product helps invigorate people and makes them feel good come flooding in, and there’s no measure of the success we feel each time it happens.

How do retailers factor into your efforts?

We have the privilege of working with retailers that attract a savvy consumer, and all parties involved are vocal about their interest in sustainable products and practices. Stores like Sprouts, Whole Foods and Fresh Markets do an amazing job of keeping their customers informed, which keeps brands on their toes and sets the bar higher and higher. We appreciate this requirement from the consumer and the fact that the retailers really listen to them.

Why are sustainable business practices important to the food industry?

The food industry has a sizeable responsibility in the sustainability sphere. The mass production of coconut water, for example, which has become increasingly popular over the past few years, has led to environmental issues including deforestation in more planting, and subsequent loss of plant life and wildlife. It’s a food manufacturer’s duty to evolve along with their product’s demand and ensure environmental accountability as the category continues to grow.

Why are sustainable business practices important to the consumer?

This is an age wherein consumers have realized that one voice, one choice, one smart decision can make an impact on the world and the environment. Gone are the days of widespread apathy and perceived inability to contribute to ecological improvement, and being able to use their dollars like votes when purchasing brands they believe in at their local market is a very empowering notion.

Oct 15

whole foods magazine, whats trending in naturals

I am still energized and enthused by all the “newness” on the show floor at the recent Natural Product Expo in Baltimore, September 18-20. Only recently, my excitement is not about new trends developing, since there wasn’t much of that. My excitement is rather about the new developments and movement in some of my favorite things currently trending.

New Source for Water
Who knew the water category could get even more competitive? Coconut water has reached a plateau and there are new water sources to watch out for, mainly cactus water. The belle of the show was definitely True Nopal Cactus Water. It has half the calories and half the sugar of the leading coconut water and tastes delicious with an unbeatable antioxidant profile. I also met a company that does water tasting and it seems that water will become the new wine as more people, including top chefs, pair their water with foods. Water has become a culinary delight, with the pros using certain waters to perfect certain dishes, and differentiating their flavors by the water they use in their recipes. Think New York bagels on steroids.

Other sources make for tasty water infusion including Drinkware by the Perfect Snaque. Loading water with fruits, vegetables and herbs charges it with vitamins and makes it go down smoother.

Paleo Players
You are probably starting to hear more and more propaganda about the Paleo diet. Get used to it. Caveman staples obviously stand the test of time. Raw Food Central offers a more flavorful take on raw kale chips, onion rings and flax crackers. For an authentic Paleo experience, there are TigerNuts from True Roots, an ancient trusted prebiotic. Chosen Foods also offers a unique line of unique superfoods that fit right in to the Paleo lifestyle.

Soak Up the Salt
Salt baths, gargling, neti pots, ocean air and other salty solutions have been known to support wellness for decades. More people are turning to salt for its antibacterial and antinflammetory benefits. Salty products included Neilmed Pharmaceuticals nasal irrigations systems and Salt Squip’s Himalayan Salt Packets.

Mom Knows Best
I was so proud to see all the “mom” brands on the show floor. Some of the best products were developed by mothers who want better for their children. Ginny Cardenas was no exception when she developed Scotch Naturals non-toxic nail polish, as an extension of the HopScotch nail polish she created for her own family. Against the Grain artisan bread that is gluten-free was created by parents for their autistic son. Same for Clean, Lean and Savvy popcorn, pretzels and bars made by health coach and nutrition expert Suzie Carpenter to help her own daughter.

Keeping Good Bugs Happy
The struggle is still on to get the right balance of bacteria for healthy digestion, blood pressure and cardiovascular system. BioK+ does an excellent job of getting the most active live cultures (50 billion) into a serving without diluting it.

Naturally Sexy
Everything is getting more natural, including aphrodisiacs. Companies like Good Clean Love make sex healthier and easier on the environment.

Chemo Support
In 2011, there were an estimated 13,397,159 people living with cancer in the United States. The number continues to go up and so do the survivors. Natural products are being developed every day to help with prevention, early detection and also to help alleviate and heal the side effects of chemotherapy.

The Next Kale
Mushrooms! For you, for your dog, for your horse…There is a medical mushroom for just about anything that ails you. Mi-Matrix makes it easy to mix mushrooms into your everyday diet.

A few things to watch out for: There is a also a big difference between convenient healthy foods and healthy food made simple and convenient. Many companies are trying to capitalize on people trying to be healthier, without the promise of food that actually is, so buyer beware. WF