TH Herbals, a company from Vietnam started in 2014, approached an international network of experts including NIZO to develop new healthy beverages for the US market based on natural, healthy superfood ingredients from Vietnam. In an 18 months project with international partners, ingredients were screened, selected and formulated into innovative beverages. The beverages were scaled-up to industrial production levels at NIZO’s processing centre which resulted in 5 new healthy beverages ready for introduction in the US market in 2015.
a&r (analyze & realize, a German consultancy firm) was engaged to support the newly founded company TH Herbals in the conceptualization and coordination of the development and production of a food product line suitable for the US market. Being a&r’s partner, NIZO developed unique tasting beverages from a combination of herbal infusions and fruit juices. At the same time, a US-based marketing agency Gauger & Associates created a beautiful brand image and product appearance.
Together with TH Herbals, a&r and NIZO the Vietnamese flora was screened on the following criteria:
- providing a proven health benefit
- being safe for human consumption
- being cultivatable in the Northern region of Vietnam
The superfruit Gac aril was selected as a base for the beverage concept due to its high nutritional value. Gac aril contains extremely high amounts of ß-carotene and lycopene, and is a ‘weapon’ against children’s malnutrition in Vietnam.
Five different beverage concepts combined gac aril with various beneficial Vietnamese herbs: Centella asiatica (also known as Gotu kola), Wild Passion fruit (Passiflora foetida), and leaves of the persimmon tree (Diospyros kaki), among others, which were specifically selected to promote certain health benefits.
NIZO’s contribution in developing 5 new beverages
NIZO food research was responsible for:
- Initial screening of ingredients like Gac aril.
- Technical product development briefings for 5 selected concepts.
- Technological and sensorial insight into specific raw materials.
- Development of beverage formulations for five different concepts from prototypes to final recipes.
- Process development for pilot-plant scale production.
- Food grade pilot plant production of the five beverages for consumer testing.
- Sensory and shelf-life testing including assessment of stability of functional ingredients.
After 18 months of hard work, the first products left the production conveyor belts of a US co-packer, and in March 2015 the Total Happiness Naturals product line was successfully presented at EXPO West in Anaheim, California, the largest US trade show for natural products. In 2017 three of the five beverages were launched in Vietnam.
About Total Happiness Naturals
In 2013, a Vietnamese entrepreneur, Madame Thai Huong, initiated a project in which the idea was born to create a line of functional food products based on Vietnamese herbs and fruits with a traditionally known health benefit. Madame Thai Huong had previously established a new milk business in Vietnam to improve the nutritional situation, especially of Vietnamese children. Aware that the treasures of Vietnam’s flora – used in Vietnamese Traditional Medicine (Thuoc Nam/Thuoc Bac) – is largely unknown in the Western world, her motivation was not only to bring these treasures to the Western markets, but also to set up the cultivation of some selected herbs and fruit from her home province of Nghe Anh – also the home province of Ho Chi Minh.