Welcome to 2021. It may not look very different from 2020 just yet but we’ve got 360 days left to go and everyone is ready to do their part to turn it around. And when it comes to food and beverage, both makers and consumers are eager to make radical lifestyle changes to put health and wellness at the forefront.
We’ve seen wellness in drinks, snacks, supplements, and meal kits steadily rise over the last few years. But in the midst of the pandemic, an urgency for more products with longer-lasting or deeper health benefits as well as daily adoption has broken through the usual better-for-you stream.
Yet these new products have some different twists. Some are reverse engineering our comfort foods. Others are adding never-heard-before ingredients to our daily beverages. A few are making it quick and easy to get a blast of superfood power. But all are meant to be consumed or enjoyed on the regular. After all, wellness isn’t just something to slurp down when you feel a cold coming on or when you can’t shake off a hangover.
So who’s leading the new wave of wellness this year? We’ve compiled a short list of brands that have done all of the above, from adding functional ingredients to everyday snacks, to creating supplements from sustainable sources, reverse engineering comfort foods and to tapping new sources.
What: Maple Tree Water, which is the actual sap pulled from maple trees that looks and feels like regular water, but this special water has serious hydration benefits.
Why: Tapping the benefits of maple tree water, which let’s face it, not many of us knew even existed. Read more about how it works here.
Founder Facts: Kate Weiler and Jeff Rose are triathletes who discovered the nutritional benefits of maple water during the Ironman Mont-Tremblant triathlon in Quebec.
Bonus Purpose: Maple water does double-duty as a hangover cure. 😉
APPLETON’S MARKET POWER VEGGIE BITES
What: Power Veggie Bites, a perfect blend of healthy fats, hearty greens, fiber and protein that can be steamed in the microwave and served as a mini-meal whenever.
Why: The struggle to find quick healthy but filling snacks is real and these power veggie bites are an ideal solution.
Founder Facts: Christina Appleton actually grew up around her family’s market named, yup, Appleton’s Market. Read more about Christina here.
That’s Steamy: The bites come in a unique patented steamer bag designed so that each bite comes out perfectly steamed, locking in flavors and texture.
What: Breath mints and dietary supplements that block the taste of sugar and stops cravings.
Why: To tackle the larger goal of blood sugar management. These all natural ingredients developed by scientific experts at potent concentration levels, amounts and combinations.
Founder Facts: A group of four with backgrounds in herbal medicine, climate science, marketing and creative strategy
Stay on Track: There’s also a Sugarbreak glucose app to track and manage your progress.
What: Gut-healthy blondies and brownies (four flavors in all) made with avocado oil, unrefined coconut sugar, almond flour and ethically sourced, organic, and non-GMO fruit.
Why: So you can enjoy your favorite sweet indulgences and guilt-free snacking without bloat and stomach irritation.
Founder Facts: Najwa Khan sought to fill the hole of real, clean, gut-nourishing yet ready-made desserts.
Just for You: Each is baked in small-batches by artisanal bakers, packed to seal in freshness, and shipped directly to you.
What: Function-forward sparkling waters made with adaptogens, vitamins, and organic caffeine.
Why: Sparkling water is all the rage but these support energy, immunity, focus and help to manage stress. It also ticks the boxes of Non-GMO, gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan.
Founder Facts: Two friends, Ashley and Britt, have a combined 25 years experience in marketing, insights and innovation.
Sparkling Style: That can and that font will surely make your on-the-go life more stylish.
What: Anti-oxidant beverages made with Aronia berries, a little-known but powerfully anti-oxidant member of the rose family.
Why: Combining water with Aronia berries, these Tohi drinks (made in four different flavors) provide 70 percent hydrations and 30 percent nutrition.
Founder Facts: Tohi is a female-founded wellness brand working directly with Aronia growers in the Midwest. The Tohi team also has a research partnership with the EC Lee Lab at the University of Connecticut.
Berry Interesting: Aronia berries were long prize by Native Americans for their nutritional and medicinal purposes but according to Tohi, they’ve not been grown and scaled as a commercial crop until the last decade or so.
What: Plant-powered functional lattes and elixirs.
Why: Aside from offering health benefits and remedies, Wylde One backs up its products by using high quality ingredients that are ethically sourced, having meticulously formulated blends, and rigorously testing each bath to meet safety and quality standards. (See below.)
Founder Facts: Stephanie Park ditched her dependence on toxic energy drinks and caffeine and embraced a superfood/superplant lifestyle, leading her to share the benefits of plant-powered lifestyle through these drinks.
Obsessed with Tests: Wylde One triple tests every ingredient & final product for purity, quality, and safety, from when ingredients arrive to after they are mixed and even after they are packaged.
What: The only functional energy bar brand with specific bars for different sports like climbing, cycling and running.
Why: Because each sport has unique nutritional fuel and recovery needs.
Founder Facts: A trio of friends sought to disrupt the “one size fits all” mentality in the energy sports bar industry.
Athlete Approved: Several serious pro athletes are huge fans of the brand.
What: Sparkling superherb infusions with gut-healing and immune boosting benefits.
Why: The combination of prebiotics and probiotics, along with low sugar and no caffeine are a tasty alternative to straight up kombucha.
Founder Facts: A grandmother’s tradition of all-natural tonics inspired this modern day twist on a nourishing beverage.
Superherb Doing Supergood: 5% of profits from every bottle goes towards causes that empower women and marginalized communities.
What: Plant-based super foods powders/supplements that have been upcycled from unsellable “misfit” produce.
Why: Upcycling is here to stay and this company balances the need for individual wellness with the greater need for global wellness.
Founder Facts: Self-described “vegan powerhouses” Dr. Darren Burke and former NHL forward TJ Galiardi combined their love for plant-based diets with their dedication to sustainability and food securities.
Magical Mystery Machine: Outcast has patent-pending technology, mysteriously referred to as the Outcast machine, that helps them achieve their final product.
EARTH & STAR
What: Canned functional lattes focus on boosting immunity.
Why: Three different flavors to start your day, each packed with 1000mg of functional extracts to support focus, stress and stamina.
Founder Facts: Zoe Sakoutis and Erica Huss were the duo behind the Blueprint Cleanse line of juices.
You Want It, You Got it: Earth & Star is now offering same day delivery within two hours in NYC and Los Angeles.
What: Immunity boosting gum packed with vitamins, zinc, elderberry and adaptogens.
Why: Because our bodies actually receive nutrition through the act of chewing so the gum has an advantage over supplements that you swallow.
Founder Facts: Mathew Thalakotur took an existing habit (always chewing gum) and used it to drive his supplement and vitamin intake.
Chew On This: Mighty Gum has partnered with Vitamin Angels who provide nutritional support for mothers and children.
What: Organic, grass-fed bone broths (and one vegan one too) that are made fresh in NYC and shipped nationwide.
Why: Every batch is slowly simmered for up to 24 hours in small, open-top kettles to extract the most nutrients and flavor providing a broth that strengthens your gut, joints, and immunity.
Founder Facts: Longtime NYC chef Marco Canora has taken his great-grandmother’s recipe and made it available to the masse, winning acclaim from doctors and health gurus alike.
Never Miss a Broth: You can set up a subscription service for Brodo broth.
What: Nutrient-rich energy and beauty snacks infused with collagen and adaptogens.
Why: Because snacking on granola for wellness benefits is funner than taking four (or more) giant pills.
Founder Facts: Travis Piéd began mixing the LÜME granola blends in a college house kitchen while a student at San Diego State University.
Spark Up a Sampler: You can try the sampler pack right now for free (just pay for shipping.)
What: Coffee blends with adaptogenic mushrooms and half the caffeine resulting in focus without jitters.
Why: RYZE has more mushrooms in one blend than any other mushroom coffee brand out there. But they are also meant to work with your body over time to combat stress, which is why it’s more beneficial to have this kind of coffee on daily basis.
Founder Facts: Andree Werner and Rashad Hossein had been experimenting with medicinal mushrooms in their coffee for years but decided to launch their business this year…in March. Learn more about how they’ve handled launching in a pandemic here.
There’s An App for That: RYZE has their own mindfulness app, How I RYZE, that’s free for life for RYZE members.
MORE WELLNESS-MINDED BRANDS TO WATCH
Prevail Jerky: 100% grass-fed beef jerky with no preservatives and no compromises.
Beekeeper’s Naturals: Bee honey and other quality plant extracts that act as a new “medicine cabinet.”
Immi: A new healthy take on ramen noodles.
Droplet: Stress-balancing adaptogen and superfood-infused sparkling beverages.
Spore: Functional mushroom formulations.
Acid League: Functional, living vinegars with an emphasis on experimentation.
Elavi: On-the-go snacks with functional ingredients such as marine collagen, plant protein, and antioxidant superfoods.
70&Sunny: Black tea infused superfoods, adaptogenic mushrooms and nootropics.
Oomph Cooking Blends: organic/natural grown vegetables and herbs that are gently dehydrated, milled and combined into meal seasonings.
Telos: Collagen-based energy drink mixes including boosters and coffee lattes.