Especially during these unprecedented times of COVID-19, the idiom “live life to the fullest” has poignant meaning. In addition to “living your best life,” as Oprah would say, consumers are taking stock of what they eat and drink, with functional, better-for-you beverages and powders that reduce stress, promote a restful night’s sleep and increase immunity reverberating in the marketplace.
Founded in 2009, Neuro Brands LLC was created to address a need that was lacking in the lifestyle beverage space, says company Chairman and Founder Sanela Diana Jenkins. “Everything that I found on shelves included a long list of ingredients, which you had to be a scientist to know what they were, or they were full of sugar, and nothing to really address sleep or stress,” she explains. “The taste also wasn’t good. So I got to work, creating a line of lifestyle beverages that address those needs and that I would enjoy drinking myself.”
Now 11 years old, the Sherman Oaks, Calif.-based company defied expectations and has grown to eight SKUs. Packaged in 14.5-ounce, recyclable BPA-free bottles, the ready-to-drink portfolio consists of the lightly carbonated neuroIMMUNE Health Protector in Tangerine Citrus; neuroSLEEP Sweet Dreams in Mellow Mango; neuroBLISS Reduce Stress in White Raspberry; neuroSONIC Energy Refresh in Superfruit Infusion; and neuroGASM Playful Energy in Passion Fruit; and the non-carbonated neuroSLEEP Sweet Dreams in Mellow Mango; neuroAQUA Premium Hydration and neuroTRIM A New You in Tropical Lychee. Neuro’s newest innovation and the eighth addition to the lineup — neuroPROBUCHA Live Probiotic Tonic in Meyer Lemon Ginger — hit store shelves in April. NeuroPROBUCHA contains 5 billion colony-forming units blended with ginger, curcumin, Meyer lemon and apple cider vinegar that can help with digestion and nutrient absorption, the company says.
“PROBUCHA is a unique product that was formulated to give our customers a wonderful aid to their digestive health while actually tasting great,” Jenkins says. “I believe that the health of the body and mind go hand in hand and PROBUCHA fits perfectly into our lineup. We’ve also introduced neuroIMMUNE, which contains vitamins and antioxidants to help protect the immune system.
“I think that people will start being more proactive when it comes to looking after the health of their body and mind,” she continues. “It is interesting, years ago, we created neuroDaily, and I had to fight to get it into the market, after constantly being told that it wasn't a functional drink. Now, people realize the importance of maintaining their health, and we are excited to be introducing that beverage under neuroIMMUNE.”
Jenkins’ perseverance has paid off in a major way. Through longstanding distribution partnerships with Keurig Dr Pepper, Polar Beverage, Canada Dry, Hensley, Columbia and Admiral, neuro is distributed in more than 70,000 locations around the country including Walmart, Kroger, Albertsons Safeway, Target, Amazon, HEB and Publix. Although the majority of the company’s sales are in store, Jenkins hopes to focus more on growing its eCommerce presence on Amazon.com and its website (drinkneuro.com).
“Drink with a purpose”
The company’s tag line, “Drink with a purpose,” depicts how the beverages can align with consumers’ needs. For instance, social media juggernaut Kim Kardashian, who counts the stress-relieving NeuroBLISS as her favorite, gave a shout-out to Jenkins and neuro on her Instagram, of which she has 175 million followers, earning 2.5 million “likes” from her fans.
Containing about 35 calories in each bottle, neuro’s functional drinks combine vitamins, minerals, superfruits and more in well-balanced, delicious beverages, Jenkins says.
“I work with a team of incredible scientists and we develop beverages that address the modern lifestyle needs, such as sleep, energy, relaxation and digestion,” she says. “All of our products are vegan, gluten free, lactose free and certified kosher (OU), and [are] crafted from the best ingredients found in the world.”
Although there’s no shortage of functional beverages with healthy attributes in the market, Jenkins believes that neuro is in a class by itself.
“Many of these newer companies only focus on one function, but neuro is the pioneer of function and has widespread distribution for our drinks across multiple categories, such as sleep, energy, stress relief, vitamins and digestive health,” she explains.
In addition to creating drinks that benefit both the mind and body, neuro is focused on leaving less of a carbon footprint on the planet. In fact, by the end of 2020, all neuro beverages will come in post-consumer recycled plastic bottles.
“We have eliminated our iconic decorative over cap that used to be on our bottles which saves approximately 400,000 pounds of plastic per year,” Jenkins says. “We also work with our logistics partners to … reduce CO2 emissions.”
New product wise, neuro launched powder versions of its neuroSLEEP and neuroIMMUNE and is “excited to offer our consumers a more portable option,” Jenkins says.
The entrepreneur says she feels the same passion and love for her brand as the first day it all began. She enthuses, “We are constantly exploring new innovations and beverages that can contribute to a healthier lifestyle and change people's lives for the better.”