NBA All-Star Chris Paul continues to pursue his plant-based mission with a financial investment in Los Angeles-based Koia, leaders in 100% plant-based nutrition shakes. This investment furthers Paul's goal of providing better access for healthy foods to all and promoting the benefits he personally experiences from a plant-based lifestyle.
Paul adds Koia to his portfolio of plant-based brands making a difference in his life and the lives of others, including his investment in Beyond Meat. Since starting the transition to a plant-based diet in 2019, Paul has noticed substantial improvement to his overall health, performance, and recovery both on and off the court.
Paul and Koia share a mission of making plant-based nutrition available to everyone, especially communities who lack access to healthy, low-sugar food options. As a first step in achieving their mission, Paul and Koia will introduce a Koia vending machine program on HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) campuses focusing on campuses with which Paul has relationships. The initial pilot program will take place this year with a broader roll-out in 2022.
In addition to the HBCU program, Paul has made a commitment to purchasing 50,000 bottles of Koia Straw-nana Dream Smoothie, the best-selling flavor of Koia's newest and most successful innovation line, for GoPuff customers nationally. Paul has an investment and partnership with GoPuff and Koia is currently the top-selling better-for-you beverage sold on the platform. This three-way partnership between Paul, Koia and GoPuff is an example of how celebrities and brands can collaborate to affect meaningful change in the food and beverage industry.
Koia is fueling the consumer trend of a shift toward healthier, low sugar options, and is on track to remove 4 million pounds of sugar from the category by 2021. Koia continues to experience exponential growth both in terms of sales and retail expansion, specifically 800% increase in sales since 2017 and record-setting sales in Q2 2021 exceeding a $40 million run rate. Koia now is available in more than 16,000 stores ranging from Whole Foods to Walmart and continues to expand nationally within key retail partners like 7-Eleven to maximize accessibility for consumers.
"My hope for investing in Koia and other changemakers in the industry is that we work together toward a bigger systemic culture shift where underserved communities have access and opportunity to live better, healthier lives," Paul said in a statement.
Chris Hunter, Co-founder and CEO of Koia, added: "We are thrilled to partner with Chris Paul because he's an exceptional human being on and off the court, embodying the power of plant-based nutrition. We are aligned with Paul around a vision of the future where everyone has access to healthy food and look forward to working together to make that a reality."
Koia and Paul look forward to a long-term partnership that will include other broad scale programs and initiatives to reinforce this shared mission.