This month's round-up of new products, drawn primarily from Mintel's Global New Products Database, includes a variety of new product launches ranging from mainstream brand extensions to some of the more weird and wonderful functional beverages recently hitting the market, and of course… environmentally friendly plastic cups for water coolers.

While functional drinks claim to offer cosmetic benefits, this is uncharted territory for beer. But now expensive creams and facial treatments can be laid aside. If you want to look younger, just glug down a can of a new brew from beer Neuzeller Kloster Brewery. As far-fetched as it seems, Neuzeller Kloster Brewery has created an anti-ageing beer that contains vitamins and minerals which are claimed to reduce the speed of the ageing process. In addition to 4.8% alcohol, this outstanding product features flavonoids, yeast, malt, spirulina, and Hot Springs mineral water.

New to the Belgian market is a more conventional functional offering. The fermented milk market is hotting up there with a new "holistic-style" entrant from Danone, called Zen. Danone is no stranger to the functional dairy market, with its popular and well established Actimel probiotic brand. The new Zen product, rather than focusing on intestinal flora, is claimed to offer calmness and serenity as well as improve muscular function. It is formulated with four lactic ferments and is further fortified with magnesium. The packaging is also set to differentiate it from the competition. It is available in stylish, round-shaped (rather than standard bottle-shaped) bottles with a sunny orange design. It is available in a sleeved pack of four bottles.

Also new in the functional beverage market is a germinated rice drink from Japanese soft drinks producer, Sapporo Beverage. Sapporo describes its Germinated Rice Drink as a functional drink which uses cultures taken from Fancl's germinated unpolished rice, finely crushed and fermented with lactic acid bacteria. The yoghurt-flavoured drink contains 4.5mg of vitamin B1 and 6.75mg of vitamin B6, as well as gava. It retails for Y248.00 (€1.82/US$2.19) for a 900ml bottle.

Meanwhile in Poland, a new vitamin and mineral fortfified coffee has been launched under the Mokate brand. Mokate Vitale Cappuccino Koenzym Q10 + Selen comes in a 100g pack of instant cappuccino mix. It is described a cappuccino enriched with coenzyme Q10 and selenium. Containing glucose syrup, sugar, hardened vegetable fat - coconut, powder milk, soluble coffees, vitamins A, E and C, zinc sulphate, sodium selenium, coenzyme Q10, stabiliser E344, it is priced on the Polish market at PLN2.79 (€0.60/US$0.72).

Staying with the coffee market, in Switzerland, Kraft has added a new instant coffee variant to the Jacobs range. Jacobs Maestro Lorenzo Crema Gusto Originale claims to retain the coffee's "stunning aroma and deep taste" in instant form. It retails at CHF9.90 (€6.51/US$7.85) for a 200g jar.

If you're a tea drinker but think black tea tastes horrible and you can only drink it with heaps of sugar and milk, then think again. Newly launched on the Australian market are flavoured variants to the Lipton range including caramel Lipton Cookies & Cream black tea, a rich and full bodied tea blended with cookies & cream flavour. More sweet flavoured varieties are planned, including a Choc Orange black tea.

On the fruit juice front, Egyptian fruit juice producer, New Sevegep, has introduced an orange and carrot juice under its Fontana brand. Fontana Active Orange & Carrot Juice Drink is enriched with vitamins A, C and E and contains 50% juice from concentrate. It retails for EGP11.25 (€1.48/US$1.79) for a 1-litre carton.

In Russia, Max-Food has introduced Gjelka Natural Carbonated Artesian Water. The water, claimed to be completely natural containing no preservatives or additives, retails for RUR12.60 (€0.35/US$0.43) for a 600ml bottle.

While Max-Food and other water manufacturers may claim their products are 100% natural, few could make the same claim for their packaging. And for HOD water cooler suppliers, the same could be said for the thousands of cups which are thrown away by their customers each week. However, one HOD supplier is seeking to change this.

Striking a blow for environmental awareness, Tipperary Natural Mineral Water Company has introduced drinking cups for its water coolers made, as extraordinary as it may sound, from maize.

The Irish water company is turning away from traditional paper and plastic cups and stocking its water coolers with drinking cups of NatureWorks PLA, a new plastic made entirely from maize. The company is the first in Europe to switch to the new nature-based cups, which look identical to the petroleum-based ones found at water coolers today, but use 100% annually renewable resources as the raw material. As such, the production of NatureWorks PLA uses up to 50% less fossil fuels and emits fewer greenhouse gasses than comparable petroleum-based plastics. Employees can even feel good about throwing the single-use cups away, as NatureWorks PLA fits all disposal systems, and offers the option of degrading in industrial or municipal composts in about 47 days.

Another innovative packaging initiative in the water market comes from NutriSystem in the US. NutriSystem has embarked on a new trend with the launch of its Aquascents Water Bottles. This product claims to be the first to use FDA-approved natural aromas to aromatically flavour water to help dieters lose weight. These aromas are strategically placed inside the plastic cap of the water bottle so that when the drink is consumed, a subtle flavour and strong fragrance flows into the water.

This dual functionality eliminates hunger cravings by allowing dieters to feel hydrated and satisfied at the same time. Each flavour, Peach, Lemon, and Berry, lasts up to 30 days per cap and the caps are interchangeable. This product is an internet exclusive and comes complete with three fruit caps, one water bottle, and one regular cap.

In the alcoholic drinks market, Diageo has launched a super premium version of its Smirnoff vodka through Reserve Brands Group, its luxury brands division. The brand, called Smirnoff Penka is a hand-crafted luxury vodka and has been developed following extensive research. London is the first city where the brand will be available.

Described by Steve Wilson, head of Diageo's Reserve Brands Group, as one of the 'best of the best' vodkas, Smirnoff Penka will be supported by a marketing campaign with the tagline 'A Cut Above' to communicate the brand's luxury positioning. Smirnoff Penka is the fifth brand to be launched in the UK under the Reserve Brands Group, the luxury drinks division of Diageo Plc that was set up in 2002 specifically to innovate and develop brands for the more discerning consumer.

Also in the UK, drinks group Halewood International is set to launch two new variants to its perry brand, Lambrini, this summer. Cherry Lambrini, a fruity version of the drink, and Diet Lambrini, which contains half the calories of Lambrini Original, have been developed following consumer demand and extensive consumer research, the company said.