With consumers increasing preference for healthier food options, the University of the Philippines Diliman - College of Home Economics developed the KamoTea or the Sweet Potato Leaf Extracts (SPLE) Beverages, which serve as healthier alternatives to artificially flavored juice drinks. The main ingredient is the extract of sweet potato leaves, acidified with citrus fruits and sweetened with honey. Sweet potato leaves contain vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, antioxidants and essential fatty acids. The beverages, which are pouched, come in four variants namely SPLE Inubi Black Tea, SPLE Inubi Original, SPLE Red Black Tea and SPLE Red Original.
The development of the technology was supported by the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) through a research and development grant used to optimize the processing time, develop the formulations and pilot-test the production of KamoTea variants. The shelf life of the beverages was also established and market testing was performed to determine the acceptability of the products. This project was led by Dr. Casiana Blanca J. Villarino of UP Diliman, with the assistance of the UP-DOST Food Innovation Facility for the utilities and use of equipment.
Reports show that sweet potato leaves may reduce risks for cancer, diabetes and other diseases mainly due to its antioxidants, specifically anthocyanins and phenolics. Aside from containing these nutrients, KamoTea also is free from artificial flavors and it utilizes only three to four natural ingredients. As such, the product is intended to replace the pouch juices that have little to no nutritional content in schools.
The technology generator has partnered with Fresh Q Enterprises Corporation based in Angat, Bulacan in order to commercially produce the beverages and deliver the products to the local market.