Up Close With Neuro Drinks
California company creates functional formulas for every waking moment.
When people describe products from Neuro Drinks, Santa Monica, Calif., the company’s President Paul Nadel has heard everything from water to energy drink to functional beverage. But Nadel would describe Neuro another way: “We really are a full lifestyle brand,” he says.
The lifestyle brand’s lineup includes formulations to address energy, sleep, vitamin D deficiency as well as other needs and interests. Neuro’s product line developed in 2008 when Founder Diana Jenkins was looking for a beverage to address consumers’ desires. Neuro’s team created the brand’s Sonic and Bliss varieties and began distributing the products in 2009. Sonic is designed to give the consumer more energy, while Bliss aims to help a person focus, Nadel says.
Now the company has eight varieties, including Sonic, Bliss, Sleep, Trim, Sun, Gasm, Aqua and Sport. The lineup is sold in numerous markets and is available at Safeway, Savemart and Valero and select 7-Eleven and Kroger stores as well as online. The lineup is meant to stay true to what Jenkins created and her purpose when she developed Neuro, which was to offer a solution or alternative to every part of the day, Nadel says.
When analyzing the sales data for the varieties, Nadel says not one SKU dominates the market, but that the product line sells well across the board, in part due to its balanced distribution.
“Generally, people are putting, three, four or five SKUs in their cart and that’s created a very balanced portfolio for us,” he says.
Grounded in science
Although the brand’s labeling, bottle design, colors and flavors help distinguish Neuro, the company’s “sweet spot” is its scientific formulations, Nadel says.
“The science is really the nuts and bolts,” he says. “Every ingredient in a Neuro [beverage] is qualified. We have a scientific group of professionals. The first level of evaluation is we scrutinize the safety and efficacy of different dietary ingredients. Each ingredient that we use has to be qualified as safe and include a significant basis of clinical trial and evidence.”
Part of the clinical trials and evidence is making sure that those anchor ingredients perform in the same dosages that will be used in the Neuro products, Nadel says.
Several of Neuro’s varieties include structure function claims, which a company can make legally if the product is labeled as a dietary supplement or nutritional supplement, Nadel says. Of Neuro’s eight products, Aqua and Sport are the only ones that are not labeled as nutritional supplements.
“We follow the regulations, so with respect to the structural function claims we make and the ingredients we use, it truly is a dietary supplement or nutritional supplement and so we label it accordingly,” he says.
In addition to conducting research to make sure the ingredients perform the way Neuro intends, the company also has a review board and research group that overlooks the clinical trials. After selecting what ingredients qualify for a product, the company then looks at suppliers to qualify them, Nadel says.
“We’re not buying our ingredients from people we don’t know or that we haven’t sourced and checked out,” he says.
The company will perform audits on all suppliers going forward, he adds. Neuro also conducts more tests to see whether the ingredients remain stable in beverages and don’t lose their efficacy, Nadel says.
“That’s the process and it’s pretty arduous,” he says. “It’s been our mandate from day one and we’re never going to waiver.”
Filling a need
Sun, Neuro’s newest product, came out late in 2010 and was formulated to address the population that is vitamin D deficient. The product contains 1,000 International Units of vitamin D, which is 250 percent of the recommended daily value.
Nadel says he was excited when the company launched the variety because it offers a solution to people who are vitamin D deficient, but it also can educate people on this deficiency. “I think a great many people don’t know that it’s an issue and they will,” he says. “… If we can help educate and sell our product that’s a good thing.”
“We did a lot of research and found there was this need in the marketplace for this and hopefully we satisfied this,” Nadel continues.
The company is in the early stages of research and development for its next new product.
As Neuro seeks development of these products and others in the future, the company’s mantra can be summed up with one word - challenge. Nadel says the company is constantly asking its team to approach research and development creatively.
“We’re asking everyone in-house and outside to challenge the marketplace to what is out there,” he says. “What need is out there? What isn’t being satisfied? What isn’t Neuro satisfying or what is no one satisfying? And if there is that need how can we address it?” BI