Editor’s Note: Fred Hart is Creative Director and Partner at InteractBoulder, a branding and packaging design agency obsessed with the food and beverage industry, located at the epicenter of the natural foods movement in Boulder, CO.
SprintToSuccess, a 7 week creative process designed to take an entrepreneur-in-need from streamlined strategy to a ready-for-world brand free of charge, has announced its Season 1 subject, chosen from a pool of 107 applicants: Melissa Martinelli’s SuperFrau.
SuperFrau is an Alpine-inspired, upcycled electrolyte beverage with a ton of promise. Their product is a hydration-focused RTD made with surplus whey left over from the cheesemaking process (for every 1lb of cheese produced, 9 lbs of whey are left over–much of which cheesemakers may have to have disposed of or otherwise taken off of their hands!). Although most of us associate whey with protein, Superfrau uses whey in its liquid form, the precursor to powdered whey protein. As a result, the drink has little protein but a lot to offer in the way of nourishment – calcium, B vitamins, electrolytes, and lactic acid.
InteractBoulder’s challenge will be figuring out how to properly position, communicate and design such a nuanced product into a clear, concise and understandable brand that fits consumers needs, all while reflecting the founder’s personality.
Application Takeaways & Trends
A deep dive into the 107 applicants revealed a handful of statistics around innovation trends, diversity, sustainability and more.
- 30% of applicants were women, 20% were People of Color, and 6% were Black.
- Nearly 20% of applicants called out sustainability as one the core pillars of their brands.
- Around 20% of applicants were brands inspired by international cuisine. Products ranged from Jamaican ginger teas to Brazilian sodas, African juices, Indian yogurt dips, and Moroccon cooking sauces.
- Around 25% of products claim some kind of functional benefit.
- CBD is very much alive – applicants included CBD-infused tea, candy and dog treats.
- Mushrooms sprouted up across RTD coffee infused with reishi and lion’s mane, and herbal mushroom teas, all largely with functional benefit claims.
- Kombucha continues to fizz with innovation: coffee-based kombucha, sparkling water kombucha, hard kombucha seltzer and non-alcoholic kombucha “cocktails”
- The Double Edged Sword of KETO: Three different KETO brands all expressed a desire to keep keto out of the brand foundation due to worries about being pigeonholed or the dissipation of keto as a trend.
- Several electrolyte products indicate a revamp of the hydration category.
- The water category is also getting some attention with products like kefir water (described as a probiotic beverage), fiber-infused water and non-sparkling fruit essence infused water.
- Collagen elixir and collagen bars appeared repeatedly.
- Innovation outliers included whole-insect snacks, single-serve honeycomb cubes, waffles-as-sandwich bread, cold plant-based soups designed to be enjoyed on the go, and hand-held meats.
Thank you to everyone who applied and stay-tuned for the SprintToSuccess Video series where we aim to demystify the branding process for entrepreneurs, with entrepreneur Melissa Martinelli from SuperFrau.