Energy drinks always seem to come with a catch. It’s convenient but loaded with sugar. It’s low-calorie but you can’t pronounce anything else on the ingredient label. It’s all-natural, but you have to join some Ponzi scheme to get it.
Smart Cups, a company of self-proclaimed “beverage industry disruptors,” wants to change that.
Smart Cups are single-serving, 3D-polycapsule printed cups that turn into energy drinks when you add water. Microcapsules containing vitamins, minerals and other ingredients are printed onto the surface of the cup; adding the water activates those ingredients. The result is a sugar-free, self-transforming drink that packs as much energy as a 16-ounce high-performance drink from a can.
“This delivery system is a scientific breakthrough that the food and beverage industry has never seen before,” CEO Chris Kanik said in a statement. The proprietary technology is reportedly the first of its kind, though Kanik reckons it will become a standard for “a variety of industries including pharmaceutical, beverage, water purification and beyond.”
Kanik enlisted the help of microcapsule technology expert Sal Celeste, CEO of engineering company The Additive Advantage. Together, the two developed the proprietary technology Smart Cups now uses to deliver its next-gen energy drink.
Trying to disrupt the energy drink concept seems a wisely timed move. Right now, the global energy drink market reached $55 billion in 2017 and is expected to be worth $84.80 billion by 2025. But just a few companies rule the space: Monster, Red Bull, Rockstar, and Pepsi. Most of these companies offer some kind of sugar-free or low-calorie alternative, but SmartCups is the first company to take an entirely new approach to this type of beverage.
Health-wise, it’s not quite as pure as the water you pour in the cup. There are a few additives (e.g., sodium bicarbonate), but the company claims there are “zero calories and no sugar” as one of its “core advantages,” which is a few steps up from, say Red Bull’s 37 grams of sugar per regular can or Rockstar’s 62 grams. Regardless, the “no sugar” sell Smart Cups will probably make it a popular choice amongst energy beverage drinkers.
Right now, SmartCups come in four flavors: Tropical Recess, Nerdy Lemon-T, Pucker Up Brain Boost, and Magna Cum Latte. They can be purchased in packs of 5 or 10 for $11.99 and $17.99, respectively.
The current line of products is targeted at busy consumers who need a quick boost on the go. Kanik says his company plans to expand its line, and is set to deliver coffees and teas, juices and mixers, water purification, and sport drinks in the future. Whether they drastically change the beverage industry remains to be seen. But for those seeking an eco-friendly, sugar-free way to get through the afternoon blues, this seems like a smart choice.