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With interest in these kinds of products higher than ever the future looks bright for this category. The 1990s fueled a health and lifestyle revolution that resulted in consumer demand for foods and beverages that provide both nourishment and good taste at the right price. The beverage industry with functional drinks has successfully met those desires by selling a broad range of products--juices energy drinks smoothies soy-based beverages enhanced isotonics enhanced water teas that fulfills a nutritional need. Claims for many of these drinks have not been proven and the amount of added ingredients is neither standardized nor identified on the label. And their safety -- optimal doses interactions and long-term consequences -- isn t known.
Americans want to be healthier and also discover the fountain of youth and longevity. The food industry is rushing to fulfill this new desire. The new buzzword is "functional health beverages and foods." Functional beverages (also known as "neutraceuticals") are beverages fortified with dietary supplements and herbal medicines. And they are becoming a multi-billion dollar industry. Experts predict Americans will buy more bottled water than coffee or beer. Artificial flavors are losing ground to drinks with "all natural" claims. Antioxidant tea products are now the rage. And at least one brand of coffee is adding herbs and minerals to its beans. Energy drinks are the fastest growing supermarket category -- with sports drinks right behind.
Horchata or Rice and Almond Beverage My recipe for Horchata is as follows. Soak three tablespoons of rice in water for 4 hours. Rinse the rice well and drain then place in a blender with 3 tablespoons of raw unhulled sesame seed 3 inches of true cinnamon stick and 3 tablespoons of almonds either whole or soaked and peeled. The use of almonds cinnamon and sesame together in this beverage is so typical of Guatemalan flavors. This mixture is blended until all ingredients are very fine. Strain the liquid into a pitcher and add in 2 more cups of water or milk if preferred. Sweeten to taste starting with a couple of tablespoons of sugar and add as needed. In essence Horchata is a sweetened nut and seed milk similar to the touted health drinks being sold here in the US over 40 years later.