4 min read

Insider Briefing: Whole Foods Go & More Headlines

Insider Briefings are designed for entrepreneurs, executives, and investors interested in boutique fitness, the future of food, fitness tech, and emerging wellness trends.

Here’s what you need to know today.

INNOVATION.

Healthy people, healthy planet

A recent article from Time rounded up the 10 Smartest Sustainable Products of 2018.

Worth mentioning: Among the products listed, more than half were related to health and wellness. From Yappah chips (Tyson Foods is making snacks from food scraps) to LARQ’s smart water bottle, there’s an obvious overlap between wellness and sustainability.

Why it matters: Sustainability and environmental causes are noticeably absent from the messaging put forth by most fitness and wellness companies — including boutique studios and luxury brands. Given the fact that many reports list climate change as the biggest global health threat of the 21st century, the collective miss of the wellness industry is even more glaring. On the bright side, though, the rise of plant-based eating and fake meat startups are putting environmental concerns at the forefront of healthy eating.

Looking ahead: As more companies seek to position themselves as wellness brands, you can expect to see more emphasis on sustainability and being eco-conscious.

Whole Foods Go

Context: When Amazon opened its first cashierless “Go” store in January, it seemed like a bit of a novelty. But in the months since, Amazon has unveiled plans to open as many as 3,000 Go locations in the years ahead.

The news: More notably, though, is a report from the WSJ that Amazon is testing the cashierless tech for bigger stores — ahem, Whole Foods.

Implications: From grocery delivery to Prime deals, Amazon’s $13.5B acquisition of Whole Foods has already upended the food industry. If they’re able to perfect their “Just Walk Out” tech, Whole Foods could become Whole Foods Go.

FOOD & DRINK

GT’s <3 CBD

Coming soon: GT Dave, the founder of GT’s Living Foods and reigning kombucha king, announced that the company would be rolling out a new line of CBD-infused drinks.

Dreamcatcher, a product described by Dave as a “lovechild”, is an enhanced sparkling water with 25mg of CBD per 10oz. bottle.

A growing market: As we’ve already pointed out, CBD is everywhere. But now, CBD-infused water is becoming a category unto itself within the booming functional beverage market. In recent weeks, Recess—a CBD- and adaptogen-infused sparkling water—has been crowned the “LaCroix of cannabis”. However, they’re hardly the first mover in the CBD-infused beverage space. Dirty Lemon sold 12,000 bottles of their CBD drink in two days; Lagunitas now offers a THC, IPA-inspired sparkling water; and Sprig—makers of THC and CBD sparkling sodas—is expanding to new markets.

Cause for concern: Recognizing the upside, big-time food and beverage brands want in. But uncertainty in the space has given major players like Mondelēz International and PepsiCo pause. For the time being, cannabis is proving to be more of a risk than a miracle for packaged food companies.

FRANCHISE NEWS.

A New Routine

REGYMEN Fitness, a group fitness studio offering a high-intensity workout that combines elements of strength training, cardio, and boxing, is poised for expansion. Hoping to follow in the footsteps of other successful concepts like F45 and Orangetheory Fitness, REGYMEN has 10 locations listed on their website (nine open, one “coming soon”) and is actively looking for franchise partners to open studios in Houston, Dallas, Nashville, Raleigh-Durham, Charlotte, Atlanta, Orlando, and Tampa.

Chasing Sweetgreen

Playing catch-up: With their spot in the unicorn club solidified, Sweetgreen is watching the fast-casual salad landscape fall in line behind them. While honeygrow has proven unable to keep up, fresh&co is hoping to capitalize on this momentum. The company already counts 18 corporate stores in New York City and now, co-founder and CEO George Tenedio has said growth will be achieved through multi-unit franchising, as well as the opening three to five new corporate stores each year.

Meanwhile: Sweetgreen is busy improving their logistics network by building on top of the blockchain and expanding its delivery network, Outpost. With lines out the door and a devoted customer base, an acquisition of this salad sweetheart could be the cure to Chipotle’s woes. Whether or not Sweetgreen would sell is the real question, though.