Healthy innovation from British start-ups: Cauliflower porridge, cinnamon water and quark

By Niamh Michail

- Last updated on GMT

Healthy innovation from British start-ups: Cauliflower porridge, cinnamon water and quark

Related tags Shelf life Nutrition functional beverage beverage

Is cinnamon water set to steal coconut water's crown, can quark ever rival Greek yoghurt and will cauliflower rice really replace oats for a healthy breakfast porridge? FoodNavigator met up with the product developers who think so.

We headed to Food Matters Live in London last week on the hunt for trend-setting, category-busting products. Here are some that caught our eye.

Cinnamora - a contender for coconut water's crown

cinna new

The unexpected global success story that is coconut water has beverage manufacturers looking to emulate that success, and director of Cinnamora cinnamon soft drink, Skanda Wijeyekoon, believes he may have found it.

Three years in the making – there were formulation issues in extracting the cinnamon flavour from powder to produce a clear liquid – Cinnamora has no artificial flavourings or colours and has just four ingredients: extract of Ceylon cinnamon, citric acid, sucralose and water.

As a registered UK NHS (National Health Service) doctor, Wijeyekoon said that he saw Cinnamora positioned as a healthful drink tapping into the move away from sugary drinks. Although there are no authorised health claims for cinnamon, it’s a commonly used ingredient in Ayurvedic medicine and some studies have found it may be beneficial in controlling cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

"Many doctors have subspecialities. I feel that developing a health related product is such a subspeciality," ​he told us.  "This is health innovation and can potentially help many more people than what I could do in clinic. I would not refer to this as a jump from the medical profession but working within the medical profession, and I firmly believe that even if Cinnamora or any future products are very successful, you will still see me seeing patients." 

The company is currently working on a Cinnamora Plus, after some consumers said they wanted a stronger cinnamon flavour.

It is on sale in certain retail outlets in London and online.

CauliRice: Low calories, long shelf life and no food waste


With up to 75% fewer calories than white rice and a low GI, CauliRice is an alternative to rice for consumers with a focus on health and wellness. CauliRice comes in four flavours – original, Mediterranean, Indian pilau and lemongrass and chilli, and the company even suggests using the plain version as an alternative to oats in porridge.


But the makers of CauliRice also say this is vegetable rice with a sustainable difference. With a proprietary method involving low-temperature retorting that co-founder Jamie Harris calls  "a technical advancement in vegetable processing," ​they can extend the shelf life of fresh cauliflower to twelve months - without the use of additives or preservatives - meaning less food waste.

This is especially so when compared to similar own-brand cauliflower rice or courgette spaghetti, says Harris.

“They use fresh vegetable which have a four to five day shelf life. That’s very bad for food waste – most don’t even make it to the consumer,”  ​he told us.

“We didn’t want to be in the market for something that is more wasteful than fresh cauliflower.”

The cauliflowers are diced to a ‘rice-like’ 2-3 mm, come in a range of flavours and are packaged in individual pouches which can be heated in the microwave for two to three minutes.

Caulirice can be bought in UK retail outlets as well as online.

Quark - high-protein snack and creamy cooking ingredient


Greek yoghurt has been an unexpected global phenomenon and Icelandic Skyr is quick on its heels

But Finnish-born Juhani Meurman, co-founder of the London-based start-up Nutrii, believes that quark – despite its less than glamorous name - will be next.


Packing 20 to 22 g of protein per 175 g serving as well as being naturally low in fat, Meurman says that quark can offer a better high protein – low fat ratio than other products such as Greek yoghurt and can also be used in cooking - this means it will appeal to both fitness fans and nutrition-focussed consumers as well as a more general consumer base.

Sourcing the milk from Dorset dairies, Meurman said they had plans to begin scaling up production and distribution in early 2016 and would soon be targetting bigger retailers.

Nutrii is available in plain, raspberry and mango & passionfruit.

Is that a vegetable in my juice?


Mixed vegetable and fruit juices were everywhere at Food Matters Live. We spoke to Just Super Juice to find out why it's so popular.

“Data shows that people want to have healthy drinks and foods, but it still has to taste good. The right balance of fruit and vegetables is hard to get,”  ​Louise Disley, founder and CEO of the Liverpool-based company told us.

Disley said she had initially thought their target consumers would be young people on the move.  “But actually it’s more widespread than that as sugar is the black sheep now. We also supply to some premier league football clubs – we hadn’t thought of that angle but they came to us.”

As well as being competitive and interested in nutrition, athletes want to be doing the latest thing, she said.

As the juice is cold-pressed and not pasteurised for a maximum vitamin content it has a 21-day shelf life from production, but can be frozen for export and Disley said they are currently in talks with interested buyers in the Middle East.

Just Super Juice mixes up beetroot, carrot, sugar snap peas, spinach and chlorella to fruit juices for its three-product range.

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