Interview - Jaime Turner - Koala Karma
There’s a new kid in town and it’s taking on the energy drinks market with a vengeance. Koala Karma, Australia’s first relaxation beverage is showing consumers the way to greater focus and clarity, without the crash and burn associated with energy drinks. We spoke with co-creator Jaime Turner about Koala Karma’s virtues.
FFW: Where did the idea for Koala Karma come from?
KOALA KARMA: As both busy mums, Cheryl and I saw the need for a calming drink as a glass of wine in the morning is not a good thing! Joking!! Trying to be a great mum, wife and employee and business owner can be stressful at times. We saw a unique need for this type of product in the market place as didn't believe anyone was doing it. We also wanted this product to be easily accessible to everyone, taste great and be easy to consume.
We started doing some research and found that relaxation drinks are very big in the USA and saw the need for something here. So we teamed up and created Koala Karma. It was not an easy task.
We performed extensive research in brand development and product tasting. This whole process was two years in the making and took many, many trials to get it right.
FFW: Where is Koala Karma produced?
KOALA KARMA: Australia.
FFW: Are there any artificial sweeteners in the drink?
KOALA KARMA: No artificial sweeteners.
FFW: What are the ingredients?
KOALA KARMA: Our Koala Karma drink is unique in the fact that we offer tryptophan, magnesium and four botanical calming herbs (Passionflower powder, Chamomile powder, Valerian powder and Hops extract). We have used herbal extracts, which are ten times more potent than herbs themselves to try and concentrate our drink to give people an effect.
We also have a higher concentration of chamomile in our drink than tea bags, which is one of the growing markets in tea sales that allow people to de-stress. Koala Karma has avoided pasteurisation at all costs. Without pasteurisation the herbs retain their full effects. This was done to ensure the drink will have an effect and not be just a gimmick.
FFW: What are the health and quality benefits of the Koala Karma relaxation beverage?
KOALA KARMA: Koala Karma is ideal for that long day, stressful meeting, first date, plane flight or whenever you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed. It allows you to concentrate on the task at hand while not being stressed, ultimately achieving being calm!
- Free from colour
- Free from artificial sweeteners
- Gluten free
- Koala Karma is produced and packaged in Australia
- Unique and natural ingredients and flavours – flavours are NI (nature identical)
FFW: How would you describe the flavour?
KOALA KARMA: Refreshing taste while achieving the lasting effect of a calm mind and relaxed body.
FFW: What kinds of retail businesses are stocking your products?
KOALA KARMA: Currently Koala Karma is being stocked in various retailers including cafes, speciality gourmet grocers, service stations, health food shops, corner shops, smaller supermarkets, airport retailers, tourist parks and even a tattoo parlour!
FFW: Is Koala Karma like an antidote to energy drinks?
KOALA KARMA: We like to say that 'The arch enemy of energy drinks has arrived and THAT'S NO BULL! '
Most people do not need more energy; they actually need to harness the energy into clarity and focus. It allows you to concentrate on the task at hand while not being stressed, ultimately being calm.
It is a carbonated 250ml can and is the direct opposite of an energy drink.
This is a new emerging category (relaxation drink or anti-energy drink) in the global beverage market and Koala Karma sits firmly within this sector, also aimed at consumers who want natural non-alcoholic alternatives.
The name Koala Karma is such to indicate the calming effect, the koala being also an Australian icon loved far and wide and known for his sleepy nature aligning with the actual benefits of the drink. We too are Australian, so thought it fitting.
FFW: How would you suggest retailers position Koala Karma in store?
KOALA KARMA: Our key target audience is from 18 to 45 year olds that have busy lives. Our product is designed to sit back, calm the mind and relax. This can be positioned as an everyday item for consumers who need to de-stress and enjoy greater clarity and focus.
FFW: Do you have any other flavours in development at the moment?
KOALA KARMA: Yes, we are working on a sugar free and have an idea for a second type of drink, which is under wraps at the moment.
FFW: Do you find that consumers become fans of Koala Karma and choose them over energy drinks once they try it?
KOALA KARMA: Definitely, and we receive great responses from people saying how much they love the drink and believe it has had an effect.
We have already been recognised at the World Food Fair in Dubai as a Finalist in the "Best New Functional Beverage category" and a finalist in the Food Magazine for last year and this year.
FFW: How do you make it easy for your retailers and foodservice operators to do business with you?
KOALA KARMA: We can do as little as one carton to pallets, whatever matches your need. We do have some distributors locally too, however not in all areas.
We have some great point of sale stickers and posters ready to promote Koala Karma featuring our Koala!
FFW: Who do you think would make a dream ambassador for Koala Karma and why?
KOALA KARMA: Stephanie Gilmore as she is an Australian champion, and as the product is truly Australian and appeals to the 18 - 45 year bracket. Plus she has had international successes where we hope Koala Karma will be an international success.