Many know chlorophyll as the green pigment in chloroplasts that converts sunlight, water and carbon dioxide into glucose and oxygen. But until recently, consumers probably haven’t associated the natural compound with the beverage market.

However, a new brand based in Brooklyn, N.Y. is bringing it to the beverage landscape with the 2020 launch of Chlorophyll Water.

Matt Levine, founder of Chlorophyll Water, has owned and operated restaurants in New York City for the past two decades. For the past 15 years, he has been plant-based. Levine’s most recent restaurant adventure focused on plant-forward, health-conscious and sustainable (low-carbon footprint) menu items. He says he spent a lot of time learning about nutrition and superfoods.

“Throughout that journey, I kept noticing ‘chlorophyll’ as the main nutritional ingredient highlighted in many of these superfoods (and, of course, all green vegetables) for all of chlorophyll’s potential health benefits,” Levine shares.

Along the way, he swapped out his morning coffee for liquid chlorophyll because of chlorophyll’s potential oxygenating properties.

“After incorporating liquid chlorophyll into my morning water for about a year and feeling great and energized, I began to wonder why no one had created a shelf-stable water with chlorophyll,” Levine says.

He visited, which was available at the time, as well as @ChlorophyllWater across social media channels. Then, Levine embarked on the adventure of creating a shelf-stable water with chlorophyll.

He notes that chlorophyll truly is “nature’s green magic” and compares the potential benefits of chlorophyll to horoscopes, because it all depends on what consumers are looking for — whether it be antioxidants, detoxification, energy or oxygen

Levine notes that chlorophyll — the green pigment responsible for photosynthesis in plants — is a well-known superfood from science class school days. But beyond its role in plant life, he states that it can offer health benefits to humans.

“Just as we incorporate green vegetables and green smoothies into our diets, Chlorophyll Water presents a familiar, refreshing choice for consumers seeking hydration on-the-go,” Levine says.

Over the past year, he shares that the benefits of chlorophyll and Chlorophyll Water have gained mainstream popularity on social media. The hashtags #chlorophyll and #chlorophyllwater have amassed more than 1 billion mentions on Instagram and TikTok, Levine adds.

“Many social media users rave about the potential benefits of chlorophyll, sharing their personal results from drinking liquid chlorophyll and Chlorophyll Water, including everything from anti-aging and clearing up acne to glowing, healthy skin, speeding up metabolism, immune-boosting properties, weight loss, detoxifications and, what’s stood out for me personally, boosting natural energy,” he says.

Chlorophyll Water
The brand recently debuted its 100% recycled plastic (rPET) bottles, which are Clean Label Project certified. Image courtesy of Chlorophyll Water

Going beyond hydration

When describing the current functional and enhanced water market, Levine says it is experiencing a surge in demand as consumers increasingly seek beverages that provide more than hydration.

“There is a strong preference for clean, natural and plant-based options,” he observes. “With a growing focus on health and wellness, people are choosing ready-to-drink (RTD) waters infused with nutrients, minerals, vitamins and familiar superfoods to meet their specific needs. Chlorophyll Water embodies this — a plant-powered, ultra-purified mountain spring water enriched with chlorophyll, the essential green pigment found in plants.”

Chlorophyll Water offers a refreshing introduction to the many potential benefits of chlorophyll, Levine adds. Each bottle is fortified with additional vitamins A, B12, C and D, which he says appeals to health-conscious consumers looking for innovative ways to hydrate, support their well-being while also getting their greens and vitamins on-the-go in one refreshing bottle of purified mountain spring water.

As for consumer trends contributing to market performance, Levine says consumers are increasingly seeking beverages that are clean, low in sugar and nourishing, but with transparent labels and ingredients that are easy to understand.

“The potential benefits play a crucial role in the popularity of functional/enhanced waters,” he expresses. “Consumers are increasingly drawn to beverages that offer added health benefits, such as improved hydration/purification, enhanced energy, antioxidant properties, immunity defense and skin health, which go beyond the basic function of quenching thirst.”

These potential advantages are what drive consumer interest and loyalty, Levine says, making functional/enhanced waters a fast-growing segment.

“Chlorophyll Water combines the standout attributes of the world’s most popular [water] brands, but in my opinion, Chlorophyll Water offers much more. … On top of all that, Chlorophyll Water tastes great and delivers the nutritional benefits of chlorophyll while maintaining a clean label, being the first-ever bottled water in the USA to pass the strict requirements and testing of Clean Label Project Certification,” he explains.

With all its potential health benefits, Levine simply asks, “Why settle for regular water when you can enjoy a Chlorophyll Water?”

Since the launch of Chlorophyll Water, Levine says ingredients like wheatgrass, spirulina and sea moss have dominated trend lists each year. What ties them together is their chlorophyll content, which Levine describes as the cornerstone of their nutritional value.

With a growing focus on health and wellness, people are choosing ready-to-drink (RTD) waters infused with nutrients, minerals, vitamins and familiar superfoods to meet their specific needs. Chlorophyll Water embodies this — a plant-powered, ultra-purified mountain spring water enriched with chlorophyll, the essential green pigment found in plants.”
— Matt Levine, founder of Chlorophyll Water

“In my view, chlorophyll is more than just a passing trend — it’s a permanent fixture,” he states. “While trendy superfoods may come and go, chlorophyll remains the unsung hero and essential component. Much like plants rely on chlorophyll for survival, humans can too potentially benefit from it as well. We anticipate more consumers discovering the many benefits of chlorophyll and embracing Chlorophyll Water.”

Going green (literally)

A national nonprofit, the Clean Label Project is dedicated to ensuring truth and transparency in consumer product labeling and safety, Levine says. The organization addresses issues like heavy metals, pesticide residues, plasticizers and other chemicals of concern.

“I believe this is the most important certification a brand can achieve, and we are extremely proud of our rigorous purification standards and unprecedented Clean Label Project Certification, being the first-ever bottled water in the USA to pass,” he shares.

Products are tested by senior chemists at an ISO-accredited third-party laboratory for more than 90 industrial environmental contaminants, Levine explains.

“As consumers become increasingly mindful of what they eat and drink, our certification as the first-ever bottled water in the United States to pass Clean Label Project Certification underscores our commitment to ingredient quality and our rigorous purification standards,” he adds. “This certification significantly enhances trust and transparency for our consumers.”

The brand recently debuted its 100% recycled plastic (rPET) with CleanFlake label technology, which ensures that labels and adhesive separate from rPET. Initially, the water launched with landfill biodegradable waters.

CleanFlake is a product of Mentor, Ohio-based Avery Dennison, and utilizes a water-based adhesive to cleanly separate adhesive residue from plastic, allowing plastic to be processed into clean, high-quality, rPET flakes.

“As a brand, Chlorophyll Water is dedicated to sustainability and innovative technologies that reduce the environmental impact of packaging,” Levine says. “ … Our goal is to make a meaningful and lasting environmental impact by tackling the plastic waste challenge and minimizing our use of virgin, fossil-fuel-based packaging.”

He adds that the brand was recognized by the Green Business Bureau as “Good for the Mind, the Body and the Planet,” furthering its commitment to being an industry leader and continuously exploring progressive and innovative options for sustainable packaging.

The new bottles are made from food-grade rPET. The plastic is recycled using technologies approved by the U.S. FDA and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for food-grade materials, Levine notes, and then repurposed into the new rPET bottles.

“This reduces the need for virgin plastic in producing PET bottles,” he explains. “Transitioning to rPET not only cuts down on plastic waste, but also can significantly lower CO2 emissions, with some studies showing up to a 79% reduction compared to new material.”

The founder states that consumers are increasingly caring about water bottles made from recycled plastic because they are more environmentally conscious and aiming to reduce their carbon footprint. Recycled plastic bottles help address the growing plastic waste problem, he says, as well as conserve natural resources by reducing the need for virgin plastic.

“Additionally, using recycled materials often results in lower CO2 emissions during production, aligning with consumers’ desire for sustainable practices,” Levine explains. “This shift toward eco-friendly packaging reflects a broader trend of prioritizing products that contribute to a healthier planet.”

Furthering the brand’s commitment to the environment, Levine announced a new collaboration with rePurpose Global. With every purchase of Chlorophyll Water, the equivalent of one ocean-bound plastic bottle will be recovered and recycled.

Building the brand

When Chlorophyll Water launched in 2020, it began by partnering with yoga studios in the New York City metro area.

Levine says he rode his bike around, personally selling and delivering Chlorophyll Water to local studios. The brand’s success in the yoga community encouraged Levine to expand nationwide with fitness studios like Alo Yoga and Pure Barre. And instead of a blanket market launch, he says the brand strategically targeted the most influential accounts in each market.

“Building a brand is like building a house: it requires a strong foundation,” Levine states. “These influential retailers became our foundation, allowing us to grow and build our loyal customer base.”

 Today, Chlorophyll Water is distributed nationwide and is in almost every major market, with major retailer accounts, including Erewhon, Bristol Farms, Earth Fare, Giant, Gourmet Garage, Meijer, Mother's Market, Wegmans, Sprouts and Whole Foods.

“We’ve only penetrated less than 1% of the market, [we] have a huge runway ahead of us, which really excites and motivates us at the same time,” Levine explains. “Beyond retail, we’ve built a really strong and loyal customer base online, with almost 70% of our online customers returning and reordering, we are very excited about what’s to come, [and to] continue to expand our customer base.”

While the brand’s focus is on its flagship product, Levine says that additional SKUs will be ready “when the time is right.”

Levine notes that customers have been requesting larger format options. In the near future, Chlorophyll Water’s 1-liter bottle will launch exclusively at Erewhon locations in California and Pura Vida location in Miami. A nationwide rollout will follow.

In terms of successful marketing programs, Levine says a standout moment was opening the November issue of Vogue and seeing Chlorophyll Water featured as a stylish hydrating prop with supermodel Kaia Gerber.

“It was pretty cool to see Vogue describe chlorophyll as a ‘powerhouse ingredient, worthy of its enduring appeal,’ highlighting its contribution to ‘overall good health (and all the good things that come with it, including radiant skin)’,” Levine describes.

He says that chlorophyll has become a daily health staple for many celebrities, including Kourtney Kardashian. On her Poosh website, in an article titled “The tonics and supplements I use daily,” Kardashian gave Chlorophyll Water a shout-out. Levine says she noted that drinking Chlorophyll Water makes her feel like she’s multitasking by staying hydrated while also getting important nutrients.

“Much of our marketing has been organic,” Levine says. “Influencers have reached out to us via social media after seeing the brand at Alo Yoga, Erewhon or Sprouts, purchasing it and becoming fans of the brand. As more influencers reach out to us, we have recently launched affiliate programs that have made a significant impact.”

A bright future

While Levine notes that consumers are in the early stages of plant-based living, he says that chlorophyll is at heart of it all, serving as the hero of the plant-based lifestyle.

“As more people learn about and adopt this lifestyle, I truly believe Chlorophyll Water will continue to grow,” he adds.

The founder again points to the importance of the brand’s Clean Label Project Certification. He says that the level of transparency involved in that process is crucial for consumers, and anticipates that more beverage brands will take steps to both achieve and pass the certification.

“With that in mind, we are committed to expanding our footprint, growing the brand and more and more customers joining our plant-powered movement,” Levine concludes.