Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a digestive disorder affecting one in seven people globally.
One way people with IBS can help relieve symptoms is by following a low-FODMAP diet. FODMAP is an acronym for ‘Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Monosaccharides and Polyols’ – short chain carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the small intensive.
In the UK, where one in five people suffer from IBS, Scottish start-up Fodilicious has been working on developing a low-FODMAP, IBS friendly energy drink product for the past seven months.
Founder and managing director of Fodilicious, Lauren Leisk, is an IBS sufferer herself. “As an IBS sufferer, I know how challenging it was to find energy drinks that are safe for IBS.
“Feeling ‘sluggish’ is a huge symptom of IBS and finding an energy boost can be challenging when caffeine is not allowed.”
According to Leisk, most energy drinks on the market are suitable for people with IBS, due to their high caffeine content and ‘artificial ingredients’ she explained are ‘not kind to the gut’. “Even common vitamin drinks on the market contain high quantities of fruit juice concentrate which can trigger symptoms and are not IBS friendly.”
Fodilicious’ solution is marketed as ‘safe for IBS’. This, the founder explained, is the company’s USP. “Our products are all low FODMAP certified for IBS, where a low FODMAP diet effectively relieves symptoms.”
The start-up uses a certification programme in Australia known as ‘FODMAP Friendly’, who tests all its products for FODMAPs in a laboratory. “We display the certification across all of our products, and our brand new Energy Infusion Waters are the world’s first low FODMAP diet certified natural energy drinks for IBS,” she told this publication.
So how has Fodilicious formulated its IBS friendly range of energy drinks? The line was developed with support from technical expertise at the Scottish Centre for Food Development and Innovation at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh.
To start with, the start-up swapped out all high FODMAP ingredients such as fruit juice concentrate, sugars and artificial sweeteners with plant-based ingredients, Leisk explained. These include ‘natural’ flavours.
For the ‘energy boost’, the company removed the caffeine – which is a ‘gut irritant’ – and replaced it with a vitamin B and zinc blend. “We are able to make health claims that our Energy Infusion Waters contain essential B vitamins, contributing to normal energy yielding metabolism and reduce tiredness and fatigue…
“As well as zinc, contributing to the normal function of the immune system and maintenance of skin, hair and nails.”
The zero calorie drinks range successfully went through consumer testing with a taste panel before launching in three flavours: Clementine, Raspberry, and Tropical. The line joins Fodilicious’ Breakfast Granola and Cookie Buttons products, which launched earlier this year.
The company is already exporting internationally, with ‘key markets’ in the US, Canada, and Europe.