If you follow marketing trends at all, then you don’t need to be told about the value of targeting the millennial demographic. But while many new beverage innovations are designed with the under-40 set in mind, older consumers have often been overlooked.
Perennial, a new plant-based beverage company, is seeking to tap into the sizable over-50 consumer base with a product designed to promote healthy aging. The Calif.-based brand, which launched online this week after three years in development, was created by Brent Taylor, co-founder of plant-based protein brand Beyond Meat, and food scientist Sara Bonham. Speaking with BevNET, Taylor and Bonham said that as more Americans live longer and remain active into their later years, there is space in the market for the modern adult consumer where the entrenched health and aging based beverages have failed to capitalize.
“When we first started on this hypothesis, everyone told us not to talk about age specifically,” Taylor told BevNET. “But we feel it’s really important to have age as a key identifier, because we believe that’s how we can best innovate for them and best design, on their behalf, progressive food and beverage products.”
Perennial is a nutritional beverage made with a blend of fiber, vitamins, and plant proteins and is formulated to aid in digestion, bone, and cognitive health. Each 8 oz carton contains 140 calories, 3 g of prebiotic fiber, 32 mg of Omega-3 DHA, and 8 g of protein. The product is available in 12-packs for $34.99 plus shipping or 24-packs for $69.99.
Currently only available through ecommerce, Bonham said the company does expect to branch into retail but has no immediate expansion plans. She noted that 39 percent of online purchases are made by consumers over 50 and that the base “spends an incredible amount of time on Facebook and social media outlets.” To promote the launch of Perennial, the company is launching a social media campaign featuring influencers over 50 “that are doing amazing things out in the world,” she said.
Taylor also suggested the brand has global potential, noting that today 8 percent of the world’s population is over 65, but that number is expected to grow 13 percent by 2030. Though there are similar nutritional beverages aimed at older consumers, such as Ensure and Boost, Perennial plays closer in branding and profile to a modern, plant-based functional drink.
“I think today, if were just talking about the U.S., the 50-plus demographic truly is a changed generation,” Taylor said. “They’re aging better than the generations before them and they continue to get better with age. So the challenge is in the grocery stores, in the mass market channel, there are no other food and beverage products that are truly championing them. We’re a brand that has their back on a day-to-day basis.”
Perennial has to date raised $2.5 million from investors including Collaborative Fund, Powerplant Ventures, SOSV, and family offices in the U.S. and Canada.
Collaborative Fund partner and Perennial board member Lauren Loktev told BevNET that the firm was interested in the brand because of the over-50 positioning as well as its innovative approach to the plant-based space. Collaborative Fund had previously invested in Beyond Meat, as well as other plant-based food and beverage brands including Impossible Foods and Ripple.
“We think there is a real opportunity to not only create an imitation of a dairy product, but something that is maybe as good or better than dairy, and the opportunity to create something from a health perspective that is superior by using plants,” Loktev said. “Perennial we really loved because I think the next wave of animal protein alternatives is going to need to have companies that have favorable health and nutrition profiles and can address needs that are harder to fulfill with the existing products that are out there.”