Switchel: a new drink with an old heritage

March 19, 2018
2 min read

Switchel is a drink with a long history. Traditionally made with water, cider vinegar, ginger, lemon and maple syrup, the unique drink was popular in colonial America where it was frequently drunk by farmers to keep them energised and hydrated while working in the hot hayfields.

While niche and unique, switchel taps nicely into major food and drink trends. As highlighted in the 2017 Mintel Trend In Tradition We Trust, consumers seek comfort from modernised updates of age-old formulations, flavours and formats. German manufacturer Voelkel has picked up on these sentiments and has launched a series of switchel drinks in Germany.

Voelkel Organic Spicy Raspberry Mint Switchel.

Comprises mint extract, maple syrup, raspberry juice, apple vinegar, lemon and ginger.

Voelkel Organic Spicy Turmeric Switchel.

Comprises apple juice, maple syrup, apple vinegar, lemon, turmeric and ginger.

Voelkel Organic Spicy Blackcurrant Für Switchel.

Comprises blackcurrant juice, maple syrup, apple vinegar, lemon and ginger.

Consumers are increasingly interested in healthier and naturally functional food and drinks, as described in the 2016 Mintel Trend From the Inside-Out. Focusing on hydration and refreshment, switchel features a range of wellness-promoting ingredients. The most distinct ingredient, vinegar, is said to help improve digestion, lower blood sugar, and ‘detox’ the body. Interest in juices with functional benefits is strongly driven by younger consumers. That said, consumers – especially in Europe – are still unfamiliar with the use of vinegar as an ingredient in drinks, and the concept of switchel or related products will take some getting used to. However, with the growing popularity of naturally functional drinks, brands can profit from looking to vinegar as a supportive ingredient. In the US, some established players in kombucha and cold-pressed juices have started to introduce drinking vinegar to their ranges.

Julia Buech
Julia Buech

Julia Büch is a Food and Drink Analyst, specialising in delivering insights on issues affecting the German market, providing analysis across a range of categories.

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