At a recent marketing forum, just-drinks heard one trends expert speak about the blurring boundaries between different FMCG categories in the latest product launches. The new product activity tracked in this month's database from Mintel appears to bear this trend out.

Shiseido & Coca-Cola venture
The forging of relationships between beverage and non-beverage companies is set to be a growing and important trend. This is particularly true since we continue to see a blurring between different product categories, particularly with the use of common ingredients in both beverage and non-beverage products (eg aloe and green tea). Furthermore, many a cosmetic and toiletry product features a pharmaceutical-style claim said to care for consumers from within; and within the food and drinks market many products (e.g. functional food and drinks) claim to offer more than just sustenance.

Recent interesting ventures have included Nestlé and L'Oréal, who together created Inneov, an oral nutritional supplement range aimed at women over 40-years-old who are concerned about skin firmness following the menopause.

The latest collaboration has again come from two leading multinationals, one in skincare (Shiseido), the other in beverages (Coca-Cola). Together, Shiseido Fitit and Coca-Cola have created Aroma Works, a novel line of two cosmeceutical products that have been initially introduced in Japan (the home of functional and cosmeceutical products). The line comprises a drink called Body Style Water, and a body lotion called Body Stylish Mist.

The concept for the products is based on Shiseido's "aroma theory" which claims that fragrances from certain plants can increase the generation of "uncoupling proteins (UCP) that burn neutral fat". In this instance, the two new products both contain grapefruit juice and caffeine. The calorie-free water is described as a weight control drink using a grapefruit scent for slimming. It has a grapefruit flavour and also contains caffeine, and trehalose, niacin and seaweed extract to also moisturise the skin. The body mist has a grapefruit scent with seaweed extract, caffeine and glycerin to moisturise the skin. It also has an astringent effect.

For a fully loaded beverage
Sunsweet Growers now offers Sunsweet PlumSmart 100% Juice that's formulated to aid digestive health. Sources say that this plum juice contains fibre to support the heart and digestive system; potassium to help maintain normal blood pressure and fluid balance; vitamin C to help protect one's body from infection; and vitamin B6 to help protect against heart disease, just to name a few. This beverage may be a great alternative for traditional vitamin supplements.

Tea in toiletries
The use of tea in toiletries continues to grow, with many a green tea and even white tea product appearing in the market - often used for its antioxidant properties or just as a fragrance. Rooibos, another tea variety is also showing signs of being used outside of drinks, particularly in South Africa where it is a native plant. The latest rooibos toiletry in South Africa comprises an own-label Woolworths glycerine soap bar with rooibos extract and an orange scent. The product also features a novel spiral shape whereby flat strips of the soap have simply been wound into a circle.

In the middle
Both PepsiCo and Coca-Cola are due to release their versions of a mid-calorie cola, in an effort to take advantage of the consumer demand for healthier products and respond to criticism that the soft drinks industry promotes obesity.

Pepsi-Cola North America will roll-out Pepsi Edge next month. The new cola, with half the sugar, carbs and calories of regular colas, will begin hitting store shelves nationwide in mid-June. The first phase of the introduction will include 20-ounce bottles and six packs of 12-ounce cans. Later this summer - closer to mid-July - Pepsi Edge will appear in two-litre bottles and 12-pack cans.

The Coca-Cola Company launches Coca-Cola C2 in the US early next month. The drink has half the carbohydrates, calories and sugar of regular cola. Coca-Cola C2 was first unveiled to consumers in Japan on 18 May, and will be available there on 7 June. The company's marketing plans for the new drink will include the debut of a television commercial during the finals of American Idol on US television today and tomorrow. The ad uses the Rolling Stones' song "You Can't Always Get What You Want." A second ad featuring "I Want to Break Free" by Queen will hit the air in July. The US roll-out will be supported by television, radio, outdoor, cinema and Internet advertising. Advertising will carry the tagline "Half the carbs. Half the cals. All the great taste."

The future's orange
Coke and Pepsi have also announced details of their respective assaults on the health-conscious orange juice market this month.

Coke unveiled its launch of Minute Maid Premium Light, which is now shipping to grocery stores and mass merchandisers nationwide. The drink contains 50 calories and 10 grams of sugar per 8-fluid-ounce serving, compared to the 110 calories and 24 grams of sugar in an equivalent serving of regular orange juice.

PepsiCo meanwhile said that it was rolling out a revised version of its Tropicana Light 'n Healthy orange juice product, which debuted in 64-ounce cartons in the United States earlier this year.

The beverage will contain 55 calories and 11 grams of sugar per 8-fluid-ounce serving, about 20% less than the drink that hit stores in January. The entire roll-out is expected to be completed over the next two months.

Carb counting
The craze for low-carb products has influenced soft drinks, beers and even spirits. The trend has now reached the wine industry, with US wines and spirits producer Brown Forman unveiling plans for a low-carb wine. The two wines, which will be on sale from around the end of May, will be called One.6 Chardonnay and One.9 Merlot. The low-carb brands have the same alcohol content as normal wines. Brown-Forman believes it will be the first producer to get a low carb wine brand onto the market.