Drink manufacturers increasingly promise their wares can boost health with just a few swallows. Nowhere is this more common, than at the recent Anuga Nutritional Conference in Cologne, Germany.

For example, a fruity concoction of nettles, ginkgo and ginseng is supposed to ward off stress. Additional magnesium is meant to relax muscles.

A special juice that won the Anuga Innovation Award, taste09, uses the noni fruit, reportedly to build up the immune system, reduce inflammation and protect from cellular ageing. Cranberry and pomegranate extracts promise cell renewal and protection from prostate cancer.

Most manufacturers are responding to improved health awareness among consumers, most of whom want to ward off disease and improve their general health, reported the Cologne Convention Centre, which sponsored Anuga.

According to the GfK market research company in Germany, spending on healthy food increased 33 per cent between 2002 and the first half of 2008. Trend researchers say they see a growing market for functional food, which provides nutrition while providing an extra health boost.

Exotic super fruits like pomegranates, acia, acerola and noni play a special role. They contain large quantities of vitamins and cell-protecting antioxidants, making them the “ideal” for the “well-food zone.” Another trend: a lot of fruit juices, smoothies and energy drinks are now coming in single-serve containers, so-called shots. Many of these are supposed to contain the same kick as a large serving, making them perfect for travel.