Vital Still Vitamin Water

Strawberry & Yuzu and Lemon & Lime are produced from British spring water and contain zero calories or sugar

Vital Drinks, a new functional beverage brand, is to launch in the UK after raising £600,000 from investors including the founders of Bibendum Wine and Fuel10K.

Michael Saunders, who founded Bibendum before selling it to Conviviality in 2016, and Fuel10K founder Barney Mauleverer are among a dozen-strong group of investors in Vital.

Other backers include former Jubel and Pip & Nut advisor and investor Peter Littlewood, and Mr Trotter’s founder Rupert Ponsonby.

Debuting with a duo of still flavoured waters, Vital claimed to be “the UK’s first functional drink to include 100% of vitamin groups”. Its drinks also came with the pledge to plant one tree for every can sold, via a tie-up with charity partner Ripple Africa.

Strawberry & Yuzu and Lemon & Lime (both rsp: £1.60/330ml) are produced from British spring water and contain zero calories or sugar. The duo contain all 13 vitamin groups, including vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12.

They will launch on 6 March via the brand’s DTC platform, as well as on Amazon and via foodservice channels.

Founder Al Duffield, formerly of Deliciously Ella, Merchant Gourmet and Proper, said Vital Drink’s mission was centred on “two core pillars” of health and the environment.

“What I wanted to do was give a promise that the consumer could actually understand,” he said. “Schemes like B Corp and 1% for the Planet are great but what they are not doing is translating to the consumer.”

Instead, Vital Drinks had teamed up with UK and US conservation charity Ripple Africa to plant trees in Malawi. Each purchase came with the pledge of “one tree planted, one tree maintained”, Duffield said.

The harvesting of the external branches of these trees every five to six years helps to sustain the local economy and provide opportunities for those living in rural communities across Malawi.

“There’s no state funding in Malawi, so most people live for under $1 a day,” Duffield said. “What we – via our partnership with Ripple Africa – are doing is giving back to people and pumping cash into the economy that is in dire need of it.”

Duffield added that Vital Drinks was planning further NPD in the functional space for later in 2024.