Soy Fantastico, a vitamin- and mineral-rich soy beverage specifically targeted at the Hispanic consumer, will be introduced at the Expo Comida Latina trade show in New York next week.
John Miele, president of Excess Limited, a 10-year-old Florida-based import/export firm is introducing the new line of nutritious soy beverages in response to the large proportion of lactose intolerant children and adults within the Hispanic population.
Lactose intolerance occurs when people do not carry enough of the right enzymes internally to digest the sugar in cow's milk, which can then make them ill.
The new beverage will be marketed to Hispanic consumers throughout the USA and the company is also developing markets in Mexico and in the Caribbean. According to Miele, the natural Soy Fantastico drink will be USDA Certified Organic and will initially be available in three flavors - strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate. The drink is claimed to be high in protein, calcium, and dietary fiber as well as vitamins A, D, E, B2 and B12.
Sales of soy beverages have increased rapidly in recent years in the USA, to $600 million at retail in 2002. They are expected to hit the $1 billion mark by 2005. The US population of Hispanics has grown significantly as well, approaching the 40 million mark. However the Hispanic population is also known to receive less healthcare than other sectors of the population, and a recent study found nearly a third of Latino children are overweight - most of these have at least one risk factor for type 2 diabetes or heart disease.
Specially formulated to taste good to Hispanics, with 50/50 Spanish/English labeling, the company says it aims to target both health-conscious adults and kids within the Hispanic community, marketing it for use as either a milk substitute or a highly nutritious beverage.
Soy Fantastico will be made in the USA and will be sold through small Hispanic groceries and supermarket chains throughout the US. Initially available in shelf stable aseptic quart containers, the company says product line expansion is planned for 2004 to include a smaller 11 ounce single serve size and new flavors.
Soy Fantastico is Kosher, certified by the American Soybean Association, and has a one year shelf life at room temperature.