Is birch water the new maple water is the new coconut water?
On first impression, a bottle of Säpp makes the beverage seem as silly as asparagus water: This is "tree water" that's "inspired by simplicity." But what's so simple about paying more than three dollars for "water" that supposedly comes from a tree? Can't I just go outside in a rainstorm, lick a tree, and call it a day?
It turns out that birch tree water is not as new—or as ridiculous—as it seems: According to another manufacturer, Byarozavik, birches have been tapped for centuries in Eastern and Central Europe (Säpp's source is in Ukraine, Byarozavik's in Belarus), northern China, and Scandinavia. Much like maple trees, birches are tapped during a short period in the spring, when warmth triggers the once-dormant roots, which stashed nutrients throughout the fall, to come back to life and draw water up from the ground and into the trunk.
As the nutrient-rich water is moves branch-ward, it's naturally filtered—then tapped at just the right moment. (And, in case you're wondering, maple syrup's analogue is birch syrup, which is made by distilling birch, rather than maple, sap, and it does exist but is quite rare.)
A photo posted by Säpp (@sapplife) on
So the branding might be a recent development (the Instagram post above could be an advertisement for any trendy "wellness" beverage), as might be the attention to its health benefits (I'd guess that Ukrainians weren't talking about the "extra whack of nutritional benefits to give you that ooh la la feel-good factor"), but the drink—which tastes like a pleasant, not-too-wacky, fruity iced tea—is not.
And the same is true for many of the trendiest foods, especially those extolled for their nutritional properties. The hype is new, but their existence is not—and much of the time, it's their long history that plays a major role in the marketing push. The older, the cooler:
Based on these "hot and trendy" foods, what do you predict to be the next products we're seeing in the U.S. market?