News & Analysis

Swedish startup wins top honours at Beverage Innovation Awards with relaxation drink

- November 14, 2014 2 MIN READ

For many of us, from the moment we wake up, thoughts permeate our mind, racing against the clock before our day has even begun. And then we’re left spending the rest of our day with our minds in a constant state of flux. Coffees may wake us up, but don’t necessarily help alleviate our anxiety and restlessness.

Statistics suggest that stress is at an all time high globally. Locally, an estimated 2.4 million Australians are using antidepressants, a number that has doubled in the past two decades. It’s no wonder that we’re witnessing a boom in the natural de-stressing beverages market, with more and more teas and potions emerging every year.

One player in this market is NOA Potions, a fast-growing beverage startup founded by Swedish entrepreneur Noa Fridmark. It is unclear whether the company offers an effective, all-natural alternative to SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors), but the growth of the company, and more importantly, returning customers, suggests Fridmark is onto something. He claimed that his beverage range, particularly NOA Relaxation, emerged as a “counter-reaction to energy drinks”.

In this year’s World Beverage Innovation Awards, NOA Potions won top honours in the best premium drink category with its anti-stress beverage NOA Relaxation – beating multinational companies including Del Monte and Pernod Richard. This year’s contestants included Coca-Cola, Nestlé, Arla Foods, Carlsberg and Evian.

“It’s like Sweden winning the FIFA World Cup. We have defeated the giant Pernod Ricard, a multinational with more than 18,000 employees. We are less than 10 people working in our company and the judging panel thinks we are better. That’s big,” Fridmark said in a media release.

The ‘Relaxation Drinks’ are reportedly made from natural herbs and fruit from the Swedish countryside and are meant to aid stress relief and encourage one’s mental capacity. The first of the flavours to be launched by NOA Potions includes unusual combinations like ‘Elderflower & Rhubarb,’ ‘Crabapple & Gooseberry’ and ‘Blueberry & Birch Sap.’

Although it’s uncertain at this stage how effective these beverages are, the branding, packaging and advertising of these beverages are very appealing. A company called Super Tuesday is taking credit for developing everything from naming to brand identity and packaging design. On Super Tuesday’s website, it states that the structural design and shape of the beverage bottles were developed in collaboration with No Picnic.

Based solely on images found online, everything about the aesthetics of NOA Potions is subtle, yet powerful. The pastel colours, the drawings on each bottle and even the silver text (a low contrast to other visual elements) reflect messages of calmness and softness. The startup’s advertising campaigns are brilliantly artistic, and it’s hard not to want something that’s so beautifully branded. 

Photo Credit: Thomas Monka

Photo Credit: Thomas Monka

Photo Credit: Thomas Monka

Photo Credit: Thomas Monka


Photo Credit: Thomas Monka

It wouldn’t be too far-fetched to assume that this has contributed to the success of NOA Potions. The company claims that the sales of their relaxation drinks, which only came into the market a month ago, have boomed in the US. Business media such as Bloomberg and Wall Street Journal has highlighted this new market as a potential billion-dollar industry.

NOA Potions went from concept to commercialised product in less than year, and has already caught the gaze of big-name investors. According to a recent media release, former GM of Red Bull Nordic, Robert Grenmark, has invested in NOA Potions, alongside Göran Lundqvist, former CEO of Absolut Vodka.