Imbibe & Ball Corp. collaborate on nitro-infused beverages

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10 May 2018 --- Beverage development company, Imbibe, and Ball Corporation, a beverage can supplier, have announced a new partnership intended to leverage Ball’s Widget Inside can technology and increase the development of innovative, nitrogen-infused beverages.

Ball developed the proprietary Widget Inside aluminum beverage can that gives consumers the best nitro-draft experience in an on-the-go format. Imbibe is utilizing Ball’s technology to create innovative products that benefit from the unique functional, textural, and taste characteristics it offers. The two companies are using this collaboration to help bring new ideas and products to their customers.
“The widget continues to grow as craft beer and coffee take full advantage of the effects of the controlled nitrogen release in the can provided by the widget technology,” said Melanie Virreira, Marketing Director for Ball Corporation. “Now, with the partnership with Imbibe, we can start innovating around formulations that transform into new-to-world beverage drinking experiences.”
“We’re excited to develop products that introduce the next generation of nitro-infused beverages to brands, and ultimately to consumers” added Imbibe Chief Commercial Officer Andy Dratt. “Nitrogen-infusions add complexity to a product without adding calories, which is especially appealing to health-conscious consumers.”

A spokesperson for Imbibe told FoodIngredientsFirst: “Consumers have been intrigued by the velvety, luxurious texture that nitrogen infusions provide. We expect to see more nitrogen-infused beverages in foodservice, and then it will expand to more product categories in retail, including tea, juice, protein beverages, pre-mixed cocktails and more. Ball’s unique technology and focus on expanding the availability of the Widget Inside cans will fuel this growth in the Ready-to-Drink arena.”
“Nitrogen infusions are already hugely popular in cold brew coffee and craft beer, and we're starting to develop concepts for the next generation of nitrogen-infused beverages. Prior to the availability of the Widget Inside technology, there was no truly effective way to deliver the same draft experience in an RTD product,” says the spokesperson. “Many of the ‘nitro’ beverages on the market simply add nitrogen into the headspace of the bottle or can, which requires a ‘hard pour’ and doesn’t work nearly as well as with the Ball can. Their technology, its growing availability, and Imbibe’s breadth and depth of product development capabilities made this the right time.”
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“Nitro infusions create a unique experience for consumers. Nitrogen elevates the flavor profile of a beverage, emulates sweetness, and has a creamy finish. The nitrogen also creates a perception that the beverages are sweeter than it actually is, which will allow companies focused on sugar reduction to deliver a heightened sweetness perception without having to add sugar or other sweeteners to do so.”
Nitrogen-infused beverages have experienced tremendous growth over the last few years, especially in the cold brew coffee category, which grew 172 percent year-over-year during the first half of 2017.

Innova Market Insights tipped Beyond the Coffeehouse at its #5 trend for 2018, which details the cold brew phenomena which include nitrogen-infused beverages.

Imbibe and Ball expects the popularity of nitrogen-infused products to expand into other categories, including tea, protein water, juice and more. Watch this space! 
By Elizabeth Green

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