Little Big Shot, a new energy drink developed by a Scots serial entrepreneur, is set to hit UK supermarket shelves after a successful trial in mid-sized stores in Northern Ireland.
Sales of £5 million are forecast for the first year of trading.
Six years and £1m in development, the canned drink is being marketed as an additive-free, energy-enhancer based on fruit, ginseng and deep ocean minerals sourced from the sea off Taiwan.
Bert Jukes, a diet and health products specialist and a previous Ernst & Young's entrepreneur of the year finalist, told the Sunday Herald he was currently in discussions with one the UK's largest multiples on stocking Little Big Shot from March, following a meeting at last October's Paris SIAL global food fair.
The company is also negotiating with a British health food chain, and is in the process of adding a Canadian distribution deal to a portfolio of 13 existing global tie-ups, the most recent being in Israel and Nigeria.
Wishaw-born Jukes – who has worked abroad for much of his career, including a stint in the diet industry in the US – has also struck an £4m investment and marketing deal with John Salley, a retired Chicago Bulls and LA Lakers basketball player who is now a TV and radio show host.
As well as being in the process of securing a new funding package of up to £1.5m, the company has also recruited David Sherman and Simon Barry, two consultants with international experience in the marketing and distribution of consumer goods and health foods sectors, who will be advising on marketing and strategy.
Manufactured in Austria, Little Big Shot combines raspberries, cranberries and blackcurrants and other fruit with spring water and ocean minerals, which are said to boost energy levels.
It distinguishes itself in the fast-growing £22 billion global energy drinks market by not using caffeine or taurine, staples of traditional energy drinks, but which are considered potentially harmful in large amounts.
Little Big Shot claims to contain "no preservatives, artificial colourings and flavourings, just healthy energy".
Jukes said: "We started looking at innovating in this sector in 2004, but it took until 2010 to get it right after messing about with various different ingredients.
"The final stage came in 2010-11 when we added deep ocean [water] which is great for the minerals and trace minerals, and which have been found by trials in Taiwan to be naturally energy-enhancing."
Jukes – who has a parallel career as a motivational speaker – claims to have invested £700,00 of his own money in developing Little Big Shot, with a further £300,000 from other private investors.