Rejuvenation, prevention and elevating daily self-care is at the forefront of three business women's launch of a new health and wellness drink.
Among the founders of Soochi is Te Awamutu local Margie Hunt. She teamed up with Tina Chou and Naz Babapour to create the drink that is supercharged with ingredients that promote glowing skin and a healthy gut.
Functional ingredients include collagen, elastin, hyaluronic acid, prebiotics, reishi and vitamin C which all work together to enhance cellular protection from free radical damage, to create a healthier gut lining and digestion, to strengthen connective tissue and to increase skin plumpness and elasticity.
"It was really important to us that when it came to the ingredients that we used high quality, high efficacy and proven ingredients not just your generic run of the mil ones that don't actually have any health benefits," says Margie.
The trio believed there was a gap in the market with no beverage that was refreshing, alcohol free and low in sugar available to consumers.
"If we are expecting people to be taking this every day, we don't want to be adding to the problem of having too much sugar in our diets," says Margie.
Development of the product started last April and they began by sending out consumer research surveys to grasp an idea of what people struggled with in terms of health and wellness.
Statistical analysis revealed that a lot of people cared about their gut health.
"What we thought people struggled with in terms of health and wellness is not what we realised and our hypothesis or pre-conceptions about what people wanted in the market, like alert and energy, couldn't be alleviated in a healthy way," says Margie.
"When we really got into it, it was people's appearance that mattered the most."
They then trialled a bunch of juice flavours, once they had narrowed it down to the flavour it was taken to a food technologist who worked on making a low-sugar version. Margie then took it around to schools for students to test.
"They said that they would prefer to have this [Soochi] over their Red Bull before school," says Margie.
The juice flavour, Glow Berry, is a combination of apple – sourced from the Hawke's Bay – beetroot and blackcurrant – both sourced from Timaru – pomegranate, raspberry and sparkling water.
All the ingredients are shipped to their manufacturer in Tauranga where they are blended all together, the drink then undergoes PH, acidity and sugar-level testing before it is canned, carbonated and then pasteurised.
Margie says they plan to make five batches this year – each batch produces a little less than 20,000 cans of Soochi.
Their first batch went to market on January 26.
The only place you can get it in Te Awamutu is at Red Kitchen.
Otherwise it is also stocked at Vetro Mediterranean Foods in Hamilton, at all Farro Fresh supermarkets in Auckland, a couple of cafes throughout Auckland and at Raeward Fresh in Christchurch.
And it can be purchased online in a 12 or 24 pack and as a monthly subscription.
Margie is going through processes currently to potentially have Soochi stocked in
Foodstuff supermarkets which include Pak'nSave, New World and Four Square.
And they are already working on development for their next product.
"We are looking at having a range of drinks. At the moment we're working through what the flavour will be and what the health aspect will be," says Margie.
They are also encouraging people to come on as co-creators if they have an idea for a flavour or health benefit – in return co-creators will receive a month's supply of Soochi.