Snaxshot #08: Follow Your Gut

is the new follow your bliss

A newsletter on upcoming food and beverage trends that offers a curation of brands and aesthetics written by Andrea Hernández.

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Not Just a Gut Feeling…💭

Greetings from your host, who seems to be equally invested in communicating important developments in favor of your digestive system as much as the next wellness influencer. If you take a look around and find yourself amidst a sea of people sipping their aesthetically pleasing cans of Olipop and Vina and wondering “When did everyone get so horny for gut health?” just know—you ARE NOT alone.

Is this just a fad similar to the activated charcoal promises of yore (lol) or is there something bigger behind the boom in gut health drinks from kombucha, to sparkling ACV to pro/prebiotic drinks and kefir water? Perhaps these brands, with their slick cans and cute designs, do hold the key to solving one of life’s greatest malfeasances: Why does everything that is good for us, taste so bad?

For millennials, the generation of instant gratification, it seems like these beverages get us closer to our unattainable quest of “having it all” in RTD format.

Billion Dollar Bacterias 💸

—From 2014 to 2019 the amount of Google searches for “microbiome” increased by 270%!

—In the US, the kombucha market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15% and be valued at $17 billion by 2027, with online retail being the fastest growing segment. The US market dominates globally with a revenue share of over 52% as of 2019.

—In Europe alone, kombucha market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 19%!

—The global probiotic drinks market is expected to grow 9% between 2020-2024 and will be valued at $45 billion!

—The US probiotic drinks market to grow to $15 billion from 2020-2024 growing at a CAGR of 6%, prebiotic market is expected to achieve around 10% CAGR during the same period.

—The global ACV market is forecasted to reach $2 billion by 2027, compared to $700 million back in 2018, with an estimated CAGR of 6%.

— This year, Tesco saw a demand growth of 400% for kefir in the U.K., growing for the last 18 months

Familiar Brews 🍋

Active Strains

Better Booch: Based in Los Angeles, what I love about them is their assorted flavors that play well into the rainbow palette. As well as the Recoletta-like font that is very in in terms of “domestic cozy” aesthetics. Established in 2012, the company has raised around $2.5 million from Crush Ventures.

Endless: This is a canned starter that you can add to your sweet tea to start your own kombucha, not only does this company sell these, they also have a sourdough starter kit, along with downloadable instructions!

Unified Ferments: They operate out of Brooklyn and what I love about them is that it feels like if their products are stepping off a Coveteur shoot, like if High Snobiety decided to ferment kombucha, this would be their vibe. Their bottles remind me a lot of the natural wine brand Vivan Terre.

JuneShine: Chose them because they carry a Kombucha rosé and I can’t think of anything that is more of a nod to the maturing of this trend than two equally beloved millennial icons meshing together. Back in 2019 they raised an undisclosed seed round, their investors included the likes of the founders of Thrive Market, Peter Rahal and Jared Smith of RXBAR and Nick Heldfond who was early investor in KeVita kombucha, and more. Here’s a great interview on how they navigated and overcame 2020 woes.

Jiant: Launched in 2019 and based in Los Angeles, a huge fan of their aesthetics and branding. During 2020 they have upped their availability around the US through distribution deals in both west/east coast. Their Hicamaya flavor seems to have created some buzz this year.

Flying Embers: Granted not my favorite can brand but they are doing so well their parent company, Fermented Sciences, raised a $25 million Series B round led by PowerPlant Ventures and Ecosystem Integrity Fund back in 2019. They also opened a brewery and “social distanced” spot this fall.

Olipop: Perhaps the most noticeable “new kid on the block” launched back in 2018 in San Francisco, it now counts with around $12.5 million in venture funding, they are available in over 4,000 stores including the likes of WholeFoods and Kroger. PS: My favorite is their Lemon Ginger flavor

Xoca: This is an upcycled beverage using juice from cacao fruit, nutrient-rich pulp that surrounds cocoa beans that is usually thrown away (over 600,000 tons of cacao fruit pulp is discarded every year) each can contains 2g of fiber that stems from the pulp that is also said to have prebiotic qualities.

DriftWest: Based in Portland, Oregon and female founded, these drinks are vegan and gluten-free, with added strains of bacteria and yeast, naturally fermented to yield a bubbly water kefir with a hint of fruit juice.

Vina: Founded in 2018, it’s a modern spin on ACV “tonics” their branding gives off vintage mediterranean aesthetics.

Gut Wrenching (Challenges) 😖

  • Kombucha market saturation/plateauing.

  • Retention of viability of probiotic bacteria is still a major challenge when it comes to production. Most of the active cultures die during manufacturing, storage or in transporting finished product.

  • Production of prebiotic involve high costs due to extensive and well-controlled trials needed.

  • FDA regulations changing around dietary fiber that have an effect on prebiotics market.

Gut Soothing (Opportunities) 🤩

  • For kombucha, it’s the easy availability and customization in terms of added flavor that is super advantageous. Market is highly fragmented and competitive.

  • Hard kombucha category continues to grow steadily in sales for the last 5 years.

  • Online commerce is the fastest growing segment.

  • Increasing awareness on health benefits of consuming pre/probiotics along with the ban on antibiotics in animal feed continue to be the main drivers for nutritional feed additives like pre/probiotics.

  • Dog gut health (particularly supplements) is a huge market, projected to grow from $4.6 billion in 2019 to reach $7 billion by 2025.

The Ripple Effect 🥃

The ripple aesthetics have made their way from just the “it” glassware of 2020 to being incorporated into a product to give it a more upscale, elevated look. Noam has used this aesthetic in their bottle to give it a very luxe sentiment, Rayo Tequila is trying to reinvent the way we drink tequila using ripple shot glasses that are a more upscale version of their shorter, stout shot glasses we’ve grown accustomed, Honest is launching soon as a new botanical rum that is using a variety of ripple glasses to present their product.

Bowls to Bars 🥗

Love these two brands for innovating on format Eat Undressed, taking salad bowls and Slow Up taking fresh food dishes and putting them into bar format.

Product Preview 💎

Was given a preview of APLÓS a few weeks ago, they will be launching their initial batch soon so be sure to sign up for access to it here.

Spoonful of News 🥄

See you again next week, a different future, same place.

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