If you buy one of the ready-to-drink energy or vitamin drinks in the assumption that it will give you the necessary kick, you might be in for a surprise. The kick is not coming and you discover you just drank a very sweet soda, nothing more. Well, sugar of course gives some extra energy, but the expected dose of vitamins might not have worked.
Deterioration of vitamins and nutrients
It is generally known, that most vitamins and other nutrients are very sensitive and lose their power the moment they get mixed with a liquid, particularly water. In other words they start deteriorating the moment the bottle leaves the filling line. The longer they stay mixed, the less efficiently vitamins and nutrients work. Vitamin C, for example, loses 80% of its potency after only 30 days.
It is even worse, as beverage companies add flavouring to make their product more attractive to the consumer. Most added flavours are fruit additives, and if they are natural, the beverage degrades if stored at ambient temperatures for a prolonged period of time.
Shelf-life can be broadly defined as the length of time between initial packaging of a product and the point at which consumers notice a decrease in product quality. Thus, shelf-life of a product is determined by the least stable aspect of that product or its package. For moderate to high acid-containing citrus beverages, in other words most fruit additives, the least stable aspect, as well as the cause of greatest flavour degradation, is the extended contact of the favouring extract with water.
Functional Bottle Caps
Various companies marketing energy and vitamin drinks have developed solutions for this problem. In the past I wrote about several of them, the VIZcap, the Activate, the Cedevita and the Delo cap, that keep the vitamins dry and fresh until consumption of the drink. See my article “Innovative dispensing bottle caps for sensitive vitamins“.
But ingenious or not these dispensing caps, or functional caps, as they are sometimes called, have all one problem. Except for the Delo cap, all dispensing caps are proprietary of the drinks company, which limits the possibilities of wider implementation in the market for energy and vitamin drinks.
Developing a functional cap is quite an expensive exercise, leaving many an energy drink no other choice than “slowly deteriorating” in its container.
As said, in the end of the day consumers expecting to drink a healthier product don’t get what they actually paid for.
That all might change in the near future. Tap The Cap Inc., an innovation company in California, developed the (logically) Tap-The-Cap dispensing cap. The patented development solves the problem of many fortified beverage companies as it can be used by any brand. It is not limited to one brand. Furthermore the cap has the special design that it is universal, in other words it can be used as cap filled with vitamins and sold without the bottle with water, as the cap fits almost any still water bottle in the market.
A huge improvement for all consumers, who like to add “value” to their own preferred water brand!
To use Tap-The-Cap is simple: Remove the (screw) cap of the water bottle, Push the Tap-The-Cap over the neck of the bottle, Tap down on the spout, Shake the bottle, Pull up on the spout and enjoy your drink.
In its basics the Tap-The-Cap is like any other dispensing cap as it has to dispense a supplement (vitamins, flavours, nutrients) through a bottle neck opening and into the bottle. However one of the most interesting features of the Tap-The-Cap is its configuration to connect to beverage bottle necks of different sizes.
Bottle necks often have screw threads to accommodate the original threaded cap attached to the bottle. The Tap-The-Cap can be put in place on the bottle neck after the original bottle cap has been removed.
As the exploded view shows the dispensing cap system is designed to seal off the mouth of a beverage bottle.
The cap features a number of fingers, while the distal ends of the fingers have inwardly barbs or tabs, which have sloped surfaces. The fingers are thin and have some flexibility. They are made so long so that the tips of the fingers flex outwardly as the cap is pushed onto the neck of the bottle, and the barbs engage under the extending flange of the bottle neck.
With this design the structure of the cap also accommodates non-threaded beverage bottles, by engaging with the bottle flange or collar, as the fingers and the barbs do not have to match the threads of the bottle neck, which varies with different beverage or bottle types. The design even include an extra tooth on the inside of the fingers which engages with the threads on the bottle neck by sliding over some or all the threads as the cap is pushed onto a threaded bottle neck, and locks in place without rotationally being screwed on the bottle.
A seal is located inside the housing to provide a liquid seal against the neck opening and as it is made from an elastomeric material, it will deform according to the size and design of the bottle neck, compensating for any size difference, while the flexibility of the fingers for their part compensate at the outside of the neck for bottle sizes from 26 to 32 mm.
The supplement storage is of a cup-like design, with a cylindrical sidewall and a membrane. The storage chamber defines the volume of the quantity of a supplement in granular, powder or liquid form. According to the company the storage can hold 9.5 grams, representing 9.5 cm3 (.58 cu inch, .33 fluid oz).
A valve sits in the centre of the storage chamber and is attached to the cap, configured for movement between a closed and a dispensing position, in which passage of the supplement is permitted from the storage into the bottle.
A drinking spout is positioned on top of the valve to allow the bottle content to be consumed. The sidewall of the spout has several ports, which permit the beverage to pass through from the bottle when the valve is in an open position.
When you look at this universal dispensing or functional cap, you must agree that the inventors with their more than 25 years experience in the health and wellness industry, succeeded in their goal, (as they formulated it) “to create a safe and effective way for people to take their supplements without having to swallow a pill or capsule or get taken in by those over-hyped vitamin fortified waters where the vitamins have already deteriorated in the liquid”.
Currently, the inventors are looking to licensing out their technology. Interested parties can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.