Airforce Nutrisoda, originally with the Ardea Beverage Company, was founded in 2002 by its president and CEO, Joe Heron. Heron was a former SVP of the Novartis Nutrition Corporation, causing him to have to travel constantly for business. With his experience, he decided there had to be an alternative to caffeine that could provide healthy energy and allow one to stay awake across red-eye flights. Inspired by Japanese tonic sodas and energy drinks such as Red Bull, Heron wanted to create something similar that would be a healthy carbonated drink. Hence, the development of Airforce, a sparkling water that could boost energy, ward off bugs, and serve as a non-alcoholic calmer-downer. With only zero to fifteen calories per can, it would be filled with nutrients while still containing a complexity of flavors. As a result, Airforce Nutrisoda could be described as a functional beverage. Functional beverages are non-alcoholic and contain ingredients such as herbs, vitamins or amino acids that are meant to provide more than just the usual nutrition. These ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages are very popular among those seeking specific health benefits.
The original eight Airforce Nutrisoda cans were convenient in their 8.4 oz size, perfect for executives on-the-go. They came in attractive and bright colors, soon making their way into hotels and spas. The extra-pure water was filtered four times, and contained the functional vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and herbs. Not only that, one aluminum can contained 25-200% key ingredients of the average daily requirement. It became the new diet sparkling water option, especially since its healthy ingredients provided more than diet sodas. The demand grew, with Waldorf-Astoria even developing a cocktail menu of Airforce Nutrisoda "tonics," and other bars creating elixirs. The success was no surprise, as Airforce Nutrisoda offered a soda list that was extremely unique.
There were eight different sparkling water cans, each with a different function to help the body, mind, and spirit. These flavored carbonated waters were Calm Wild Berry and Citron, Energize Mandarin Mint, Flex Black Cherry Apple, Focus Mango Peach, Immune Sparkling Tangerine Lime, Radiant Pomegranate Blackberry, Renew Watermelon Blueberry, and Slender Pink Grapefruit Guava. As one may be able to predict, "Calm" was made to de-stress, "Energize" for that extra boost, "Flex" to help move joints, "Focus" to give mental concentration, "Immune" to strengthen the immune system, "Radiant" for physical benefits, "Renew" to improve the digestive system, and "Slender" for weight management.
In January 2006 however, Airforce Nutrisoda took a turn. The Ardea Beverage Company was bought by PepsiAmericas, and the "airforce" was dropped from the name. Now just Nutrisodas, the slogan went from "The Good Soda" to "Healthy/Bubbly" (or what they called, "Hubbly"). In 2009, Nutrisoda’s process was changed to reduce prices before its relaunch. Four flavors were removed from the beverage line, leaving only "Calm," "Energize," "Focus" and "Immune." In addition, since the product had to be produced in PepsiAmericas’ plants, they came in 12 oz cans. Colors were removed, and the amount of nutrients lowered. Within just a year, the demand for the beverages decreased significantly and Nutrisoda was no longer sold. This is unfortunate since it seems those who were able to try Airforce Nutrisoda claimed it was one of the best sparkling waters around. Regardless of the beverage's fate, one must admit the idea behind the line was innovative. Perhaps it will mean the beginning of a shift in the beverage industry, introducing healthy sparkling water as an energy drink alternative. If you want to buy sparkling water or functional beverages, you can check out our Specialty Sodas website.