When it comes to beverage innovation, most attention has been focused on sugar in recent years. Manufacturers are under severe pressure to reduce sugar, as governments around the world attempt to curb rising obesity levels and lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes.

Until now, much less emphasis has been placed on the impact sugar has on our teeth, despite such issues being of significant concern to consumers.

Toronto based start-up DoseBiome has developed qii, described as the ‘world’s first oral care drink.’ The ready-to-drink tea-based beverage contains XyVita, a natural sweetener derived from Xylitol, to tackle oral health issues including bad breath and cavities. The tea drinks are said to reduce acidity in the mouth, cut the risk of tooth decay, and freshen the breath.

The drink, available in lemongrass ginger green tea and oolong tea varieties, is positioned as a refreshing solution to improve oral health on-the-go during the daytime, in between regular morning and evening brushing.

GlobalData first spotted the emerging opportunity for so-called tooth-friendly food and drink to support oral health back in 2015 as part of its future-focused ForeSights series. The opportunity continues to present itself strongly, with consumer interest in products which address concerns such as dental caries stronger than for other issues linked to overconsumption of sugar, such as diabetes and obesity.

According to GlobalData’s Q1 2017 consumer survey, between 69-70% of consumers globally are concerned about bad breath, dental caries, and/or teeth discolouration; higher than the level of concern for obesity (62%) and diabetes (57%).

In recent years, innovators have attempted to address issues related to tooth discolouration. Clear beverages such as CLR CFF – a clear coloured coffee – for example, claim to offer solutions which will not stain teeth. However, qii is the first beverage which takes a functional approach to support oral health by targeting decay and bad breath.

While the majority of concerned consumers are not yet buying products to address oral health issues, interest in buying such products in future is strong, indicating untapped potential in the functional food and beverage space. The development of qii paves way for more oral health-focused products which functionally address broader health issues associated with sugar consumption.

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