Sustainable Beverage Alternatives on the Rise – Food Tank

Tractor Beverage Company strives to bring healthier, sustainable beverage alternatives to restaurants across the United States. The company aims to minimize waste and deliver higher returns to partner farmers.

Tractor Beverage Company sources organic non-GMO ingredients from farms around the world. Its line of drinks offers 20 flavors, including Blossom ‘N Spice with orange blossom, fig, apricot, lemon, ginger and mandarin cardamom with citrus, cardamom, turmeric, apricot kernel and coriander oil.

Tractor drinks are sold in restaurants across the United States, including major companies like Chipotle, Taїm, ThinkFoodGroup of José Andrés, Umami Burger and Roti, and five universities. By partnering with restaurants instead of grocery stores, the company is taking steps to reduce packaging and shipping costs.

Travis Potter, a farmer, founded Tractor Beverage to create a healthy and sustainable beverage alternative for his children, a beverage with an ingredient list that did not include chemical preservatives.

As beverage manufacturers, “if we can do a good job of providing [our product] at a good price and we’re smart about how we do it, there’s no reason to have the junky stuff, especially if it tastes better,” Potter told Food Tank.

Potter’s farming background helps inform his role in the beverage industry. He says his experience helped him identify an opportunity to invent a line of healthier products than big name brands.

The company minimizes waste by using parts of ingredients that are often wasted but still provide taste and health benefits. Examples include cassia bark used in their root beer flavor and lemon peel used in their lemonade flavor.

Using these recycled ingredients “results in a higher quality product for consumers and adds to health and well-being,” says Potter.

Potter also strives to deliver higher yields to partner farmers. He strives to find high-value ingredients, including cinnamon, cardamom and ginger, which simultaneously provide greater profitability for farmers and create a tastier and more complex product.

Potter hopes farmers will feel an incentive to abandon conventional farming and embrace organic practices. To do this, he believes that consumer education will play an important role.

According to the last IBISWorld reportsoft drink consumption in the United States has declined each year since the late 1990s at an average annual rate of 0.8%. This trend is driven by growing consumer health concerns and the prevalence of diet and weight-related diseases such as diabetes. Many consumers are looking for healthier alternatives, while others have cut out sugary drinks altogether.

In the United States, sugary soft drinks are the biggest source of added sugar in the American diet, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Excess consumption of sugary drinks is also associated with several chronic diseases including obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease, making it a public health priority.

And as socially and environmentally conscious consumers strive to avoid traditional sodas, they often turn to new soft drinks.

With the growing demand for alternatives to sugary drinks, Potter seeks to continue to innovate in its products and business practices and to expand its partnerships with restaurants. For restaurants “pushing the boundaries of health and wellness,” Potter tells Food Tank, “carrying our beverages makes a difference.”

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Photo courtesy of Mohamad Babayan, Unsplash

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