Melbourne-based brand StrangeLove has released StrangeLove Lo-Cal sodas – a range of light, low-sugar sodas that experiment with exotic flavours.
“We’ve cracked it and created a healthier soda that is unparalleled in terms of flavour,” said James Bruce, StrangeLove’s co-founder.
Where other low-sugar soft drinks use additives such as stevia, xylitol and erythritol, StrangeLove has taken a different approach. By opting to use a small amount of sugar – around 3.5g/100ml – and extremely high-quality extracts, juices and oils, StrangeLove has achieved a deep intensity of flavour and a crisp, dry mouth feel.
Last year, StrangeLove successfully launched a range of super-premium mixers including four tonic waters and a dry ginger ale.
“Our experience developing premium mixer products gave us a big edge here,” Bruce said. “Having developed relationships with some of the best ingredient producers around the world, we developed this project using distilled botanicals and extracts that you typically wouldn’t find in a commercial soft drink.
“In a category dominated by functional drinks like Kombucha, that all essentially taste the same, we saw an opportunity to release a new generation of soft drinks that are better for you and totally worth the 50 calorie investment.”
While the new range contains approximately 70% less sugar than the existing StrangeLove range, the philosophy for Lo-Cal was always ‘flavour first’.
“We’d like to say we reduced the sugar because we are dedicated to better health,” said Bruce. “But that’s not true. Flavour comes first for us, so it’s not a health drink that tastes good, but a delicious drink that just so happens to be better for you.”
StrangeLove Lo-Cal Sodas come in seven flavours: Double Ginger, Yuzu from Japan, Holy Grapefruit (White Grapefruit & Holy Basil); Cloudy Pear & Cinnamon; Lemon Squash; Smoked Cola; and Very Mandarin.
According to Stafford Fox, StrangeLove’s national sales manager, the Lo-Cal range of products have already been incredibly well received with leading restaurants/outlets such as Sonoma Bakeries, David Jones and the newly launched Coles Local upscale supermarkets joining the ranks of stockists.
“The consumer shift away from sugar-laden drinks has been similar to my experience with male pattern baldness when I was 23 – it happened gradually, then suddenly. We always wanted to reduce the sugar content in our sodas from a drinkability perspective anyway, so we feel that this range represents the future of sodas – for both flavour and health.”
StrangeLove has also secured distribution for the Lo-Cal range via Bibendum Wine Co, Feel Good Foods and Two Providores. Additionally, the range can be found nationally at key retailers such as David Jones, selected Dan Murphy’s and Coles Local. Bruce and Fox are also currently exploring export opportunities in the US and UK, where the sugar tax has had created extra demand for healthier beverage options.
Up until now, the Lo-Cal market in Australia has been almost entirely dominated by mainstream beverage options that rely on artificial sweeteners, or boutique brands that use noticeable amounts of stevia.
StrangeLove launched its retail four pack on Feb 1st for a retail price of $11.99 for 4 x 300ml bottles.