The Next Big Beverage Brand
Wahi Nutrition is an emerging startup that could become the next big beverage brand.
It’s created “wahiwater,” a line of plant-based waters. These products are some of the first in the industry to be infused with pharmaceutical-grade plant extracts, creating a beverage that promotes health along with refreshment.
This company is bridging the gap between two major markets: the $33 billion U.S. market for bottled water, and the $46 billion U.S. market for functional beverages — those intended to provide benefits beyond hydration (for example, nutrition or caffeine).
In the bottled water market, several brands have become enormously successful. For example, Essentia achieves annual sales of $200 million, and was acquired by Nestle earlier this year. CORE water was acquired by Keurig Dr. Pepper in 2018 for $525 million. And Glaceau, makers of SmartWater, was scooped up by Coca-Cola for more than $4 billion.
The problem in this market is that these and other water brands don’t offer anything beyond hydration. Despite fancy labels, unique designs, and complicated filtration processes, at the end of the day, these products are just water.
Then there’s the market for functional beverages. As mentioned, this is a nearly $50 billion market. But a lot of options in this market aren’t nutritious, and are packed with artificial ingredients.
Wahi Nutrition’s products bridge the gap between these markets, offering healthy bottled water with benefits beyond hydration.
As mentioned, Wahi’s water is plant-based, meaning this company is targeting yet another huge market. Global sales of plant-based food and beverage alternatives is projected to reach $162 billion by 2030, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. And according to Beverage Marketing Corporation, plant-based waters are the fastest-growing segment of the plant-based beverage sector.
This tracks with Wahi, which has become a fast-growing company in its own right. It launched in 2020 as a regional brand in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area. And earlier this year, it expanded nationwide, appearing in CVS HealthHUBs and Life Time Fitness locations across the U.S.
Wahi sells four different bottled waters:
• Purify (for anti-toxin and digestion support).
• Revive (for anti-inflammation).
• Drive (for exercise support and recovery).
• Repair (supports collagen production).
Each bottle retails for $2.99, and the company achieves gross margins of around 68%. Multi-packs are sold through Amazon.
Wahi has three trademarks and a proprietary manufacturing process. The company has raised more than $1.2 million from investors, including Hall of Fame football player Randy Moss.
In April 2021, the company hired a Vice President of Sales with experience in bringing food & beverage products to a national audience. Moving forward, Wahi plans to launch a line of sparkling water and effervescent tabs.
Geoff has more than 30 years of experience in the food & beverage space.
Prior to starting Wahi Nutrition, he spent 15 years with Old Home Foods, a food production company specializing in dairy products. While there, he served as Vice President of Operations, President, and later Chief Executive Officer.
Earlier, he worked as a contract operations manager with General Mills, a consumer goods company focused on the food & beverage industry. He began his career as a plant manager with Colombo Yogurt, another food & beverage company.
Steve was brought on to help scale Wahi Nutrition in early 2021. He has extensive sales and marketing experience in the food & beverage industry.
Most recently, he was VP of Sales and Marketing with Old Home Foods, a food production company. Before that, he was President of Vision Marketing & Sales, which focused on the consumer products industry.
Prior to that, he was Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing with Polaroid, a company selling camera equipment. Before that, he was a sales manager with Foster Farms, a food company selling poultry products.
Earlier in his career, Steve was a sales manager with Hudson Foods, another poultry business with annual sales of more than $1 billion. Before that, he owned a food brokerage business, which represented companies including Jimmy Dean, Butterball, and Slim Jim.
He began his career as Regional Vice President of Sales with ConAgra Foods, one of the largest food & beverage companies. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Minnesota State University.
Peter has experience scaling and exiting a successful startup. Along with his brother, Sam, he co-founded medical device company Streamline in 2007. Streamline was acquired in 2015 and created an estimated 400% return for some of its early investors.
Peter is now President of Wahi Nutrition and is responsible for ongoing product development and retail support.
He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Entrepreneurship from the University of St. Thomas.
Along with his brother, Peter, Sam co-founded medical device company Streamline, which was acquired in 2015.
He studied Business at the University of St. Thomas.