Púr – Nature’s Wonder Drink From Northern Ireland’s

A new vegan friendly range of natural and nutritious drinks has just been launched by Born Maverick Beverages, a recently established small business in Northern Ireland.

The Belfast-based enterprise, which has a strong commitment to sustainability, ethical business and the environment, has introduced the three-strong range of products under the Púr-Nature’s Wonder Drink brand in fully compostable packaging.The company is a Food NI member.

The new business and the beverages have been developed by Azhar Murtuza, an international post graduate student from India specialising in biotechnology engineering with International MBA at Queen’s University in Belfast.

“The key ingredient in the warm drink, which helps to relax and soothe the body naturally, is finger millet, a cereal widely grown in India and Africa. Finger millet is rich in amino acids, vitamin D, fibre, calcium and iron. It is anti-oxidant, gluten free, dairy free and fat free. The drinks are the best non-dairy source of calcium compared to other grains. The dietary fibre helps with weight loss and obesity, he explains.

“The wholesome drink is made by adding hot water to a compostable bag in a cup, squeezing to extract the full flavour, stirring and allowing it sit for five minutes. The three flavours are the outcome of extensive trialling with local focus groups to find the most appealing tastes,” he adds.

Mr Murtuza graduated in biotech engineering in India before enrolling for an International MBA at Queen’s in Belfast in 2016. He brought with him to Belfast an interest in developing natural and nutritious products with sustainable environment in food industry.

Regular consumption of finger millet is said to be especially good for bone health and to keep diseases such as osteoporosis at bay and could, thereby, reduce risk of fracture.

“The main problem with finger millet is its taste. I had to find an ingredient to counter the millet’s taste and looked at number of options and settled on coconut sugar which has a very low GI for sugar control” adds Mr Murtuza.

In 2018, he set up Born Maverick to develop and market Púr-Nature’s Wonder Drink, the outcome of his knowledge and research.

He continues: “I was also conscious of the need to produce outstandingly tasty drinks which consumers would enjoy along with the health benefits. All the ingredients used in the drinks are natural and sourced by me. This means I have complete control and ensures total traceability and provenance. The drinks are also made without additives or any preservatives.”

The company developed the drinks using an Invest NI Innovation Voucher which provides funding to enable a company to link with a university or college in creating a new product. Born Maverick tied up Northern Ireland’s food innovation centre at the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise in Cookstown, county Tyrone.

Mr Murtuza has also been backed by Invest NI’s ‘From Student to First Sales’ programme that encourage university students in the creation of original products.

“I’ve found Invest NI immensely supportive in my work to develop the new beverages,” he says.

Each 30g pack (RRP £3.99) contains three compostable bags and has a shelf life of four months once opened. There arecurrently three flavours – Cacao and Mint, Raspberry, and Ginger. He has other new products such as vegan friendly popsicles and prawns made out of seaweed in the pipeline.