Zpirit Foods revitalizes traditional European recipe

Zpirit is infused with herbs and contains whole pieces of fruit

Move over coconut and maple, there’s a new exotic water on the shelf.

Zpirit Infused Water is infused with herbs and features whole, real pieces of fruit. The low-calorie, low-sugar drink has no preservatives and contains organic cane juice (two grams), natural flavours and stevia leaf extract.

“We wanted to keep it as natural as possible,” says Philippe Roireau, who founded Zpirit Foods Inc. in 2013. “And having pieces of fruit gives an added dimension to the drinking experience.”

The idea for the company was born when Roireau, a native Montrealer, was working for Google in Poland where he stumbled across a traditional European recipe called Kompot.

“It’s basically water with whole fruits and sugar, and I thought the idea of having whole pieces of fruit in a drink was great,” he says. “I thought, if the grandmas can do it, I can do something with it as well.” He returned to Canada and Zpirit Foods was born.

The line includes four flavours: Mandarin and Mint, Peach and Basil, Spiced Pear and Vanilla, and Pineapple and Sage.

In December, Member of Parliament Bernard Trottier, on behalf of agriculture minister Gerry Ritz announced an investment of $67,000 in Zpirit.

"Our top priority is the economy and by supporting innovative, start-up, companies like Zpirit Foods, we're helping pave the way to long-term prosperity and a more sustainable environment for all Canadians,” said Trottier. “When companies like Zpirit Foods succeed, our farmers succeed, which is great news for our economy."

Zpirit is already on store shelves in Longo’s and Whole Foods, and the company is close to signing a deal with a California grocery chain.

Roireau says the product is also doing well in health-focused foodservice establishments. Zpirit comes in 300mL glass bottles with a suggested retail price of $2.29 to $2.49. Roireau says the company is working on a 355mL plastic bottle version.

The target audience for Zpirit is “yoga moms” who are active and health-conscious, says Roireau. The company’s marketing efforts are focused on attending consumer and trade shows, blogger outreach and in-store sampling events. They executed a demo takeover at 17 Longo’s store locations across January. Zpirit is also organizing a media tour in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa at the end of February.

Zpirit is also being featured on an upcoming episode of CBC’s Dragon’s Den: Next Gen Den, a new webisode series. “All I can say is it went really, really well,” says Roireau.

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