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The Making of C4® Smart Energy Natural Zero

The world of natural sweeteners is one full of complexity and nuance, so we cannot understate that arriving at this formula was no easy task. It took 4 years of development before we created a Smart Energy Natural Zero that lived up to our C4® name and standard.

C4® Smart Energy Natural Zero provides a refreshing blend of premium science-backed ingredients. Designed to support mental focus and energy, the Smart Energy Natural Zero is naturally sweetened, has zero sugar, zero calories, and zero compromise on flavor. When we engineered this product, we set out to make the world re-think naturally sweetened energy. After making some key breakthroughs, we’re convinced that we’ve done just that.

Plant-based energy from Green Tea

Caffeine provides the jolt of energy we experience from coffee or energy drinks. Typically, energy drinks deliver the synthetic form of caffeine, caffeine anhydrous. However, we’ve always favored naturally derived caffeine in our Natural Zero energy drinks. Previously we used caffeine from a coffeeberry fruit extract, but this naturally derived source had some characteristics which conflicted with other elements of the formula’s taste profile.

Our Director of Product Development, Frank DiLorenzo, had this to say “We were previously using coffeeberry, and now we’re using InnovaTea® green tea extract as our caffeine source. Coffee and tea have different organoleptic properties that impact taste. InnovaTea® has a higher purity profile and we were able to adjust our flavor systems to better complement the inherent sensory attributes of this ingredient.”

Organoleptic properties are the characteristics of a food or ingredient that impact our senses, like taste and smell. Some plants have chemicals in them that contribute to a more bitter taste than others. Smart Energy Natural Zero features 150 mg of caffeine from InnovaTea® green tea extract. This unique caffeine source helps to compliment other sensory qualities of the formula to smooth out the taste profile of Smart Energy Natural Zero.

Zero Sugar, Zero Calories....Zero Compromise

One of the most common ways to naturally sweetened a product is with a sugar source like cane sugar, fruit juice, or honey. These are popular sweetener sources because they’re easy to flavor and relatively inexpensive. The downside is that these sources contribute to a higher calorie drink, and different organizations like the USDA, who in their 2015-2020 dietary guidelines along with the American Heart Association have advocated for adults to limit their intake of added sugar consumption.[1]

A natural alternative that can be used in place of the aforementioned sweeteners, is stevia. Stevia rebuaudiana, or stevia for short, is a plant native to South America that can be used in beverages as a zero-calorie sweetener to reduce calorie and sugar content.. The sweetness that one tastes from stevia is due to phytochemicals termed “steviol glycosides”. Steviol glycosides can vary in sweetness, so when we set out to optimize the taste profile of Smart Energy Natural Zero, we sampled dozens of different stevia sources until we arrived at the right one.[2]

For the Overachievers. By the Overachievers

It was neither short nor easy to deliver a drink that can claim to be “zero compromise” but we’ll unabashedly plant our flag and stake our claim, as perpetual innovators we are always striving to deliver more. Most importantly, the flavor system had to play nice with important functional ingredients like InnovaTea® caffeine and Cognizin® Citicoline. This required lots of trial and error. It required a commitment to sourcing premium ingredients that could meet our lofty standards. It also meant that we rejected complacency because even though we felt our original naturally sweetened C4® Natural Zero was one of the best energy drink on the market, it still was not good enough. Just like how you work to overachieve in all aspects of your life, we work to overachieve on our flavor experience.

Crack open a can of our delicious tasting C4® Smart Energy Natural Zero to elevate your energy.




Date April 27, 2022
Category Lifestyle