Growing Functional Beverage Brand Karuna Meets Consumer Need for Immunity Boost

Will Kreznick

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Karuna, an innovative natural food and beverage company that launched the first nationally available prebiotic juice, recently added new retail distribution in the U.S., and is now available in nearly 1,000 stores. With established distribution in the Midwest region of Whole Foods Market stores, Karuna is […]

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Karuna, an innovative natural food and beverage company that launched the first nationally available prebiotic juice, recently added new retail distribution in the U.S., and is now available in nearly 1,000 stores. With established distribution in the Midwest region of Whole Foods Market stores, Karuna is now available in other popular regional stores, such as H-E-B and Schnucks, as well as national retailers like HomeGoods. Karuna has been available on Amazon for 7 months, providing national distribution and quick delivery direct-to-consumer.

According to a report, “Climate Change and the American Diet,” published by Earth Day Network and the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, more than half of American adults surveyed said they are open to eating more plant-based foods, but they don’t know what to buy. Additionally, the report found that 94% of Americans are willing to eat more fruits and vegetables. Karuna is poised to answer these consumer desires with flavorful, functional beverages made with whole plant ingredients to offer nutritional benefits based on scientific research.

U.S. retail sales of plant-based foods grew 11.4 percent in the past year, bringing the total plant-based market value to $5 billion. More specifically, the growing Ready-to-Drink beverage category grew 18 percent to $122 million in 2019. Unlike many juices on shelf, Karuna is made with whole plant ingredients ? and the brand uses as much as the plant as it can within production ? typically at least 70 percent. The more of the plant that is used, the more nutrients are delivered to consumers, and limiting waste is particularly important knowing that a third of the world’s available food is not consumed. The juices and smoothies are low in calories, and made with no added sugar, which also sets the Karuna drinks apart from other products in the category.

“I am beyond thrilled to offer our plant-based beverages with benefits to more people. At Karuna, we will continue to educate consumers, and help reset expectations around health and wellness,” says Angela Zeng, founder of Karuna. “We believe food is better medicine, and every juice or smoothie we innovate is inspired by ancient wisdom, and backed by modern science.”

Beyond being low calorie and made with no added sugar, all Karuna drinks are rich in natural prebiotic and antioxidants shown to improve the digestive system and immunity health. Prebiotics are a type of fiber that the human body cannot digest, and they serve as the only food and fuel for probiotics. Karuna beverages are also USDA Certified Organic, and Non-GMO Project Verified.

The onset of Covid-19 has accelerated consumer interest in the role of nutrition in immunity. A consumer survey from FMCG Gurus revealed that 72 percent of American consumers are now more likely to pay attention to nutritional benefits when purchasing food and drink, and 50 percent have increasingly turned to food to boost their immune health.

Karuna reported strong growth in 2020. For example, through one distributor, Karuna’s points of distribution increased steadily in 2020, reaching more than 100 retail locations by July. In addition, Karuna demonstrated a 53 percent average increase in sales month over month with that distributor.

Karuna launched with five beverages at Whole Foods Market in St. Louis in 2017. Since then:

  • Karuna recently became the first beverage to earn the Certified Plantricious seal, which has a mission to make finding truly healthy plant-nutritious foods easy
  • Karuna Boost Synergy Coffee drink was listed in the Top Ten Trends of 2019 by the consumer product database SPINS
  • Karuna Prebiotic & Antioxidant Juice Joy-D was selected as a finalist for Best Juice in the 2019 World Beverage Innovation Awards from more than 220 entries from over 34 countries
  • Karuna’s Detox Juice won the Best Juice title in the 2018 World Beverage Innovation Award, and its Prebiotic & Protein Smoothie Empower was the 2017 Finalist of World Beverage Innovation Award in the Best Functional Drink category
  • Karuna was selected as a finalist in the Food Innovation Challenge and the BevNet Beverage Showdown; in both 2016 competitions, Karuna was the only brand with no products in the market yet

Karuna offers four families of products, and each beverage works to restore health through whole plant-based ingredients.

IMMUNITY

Taking care of our bodies and boosting our immunity has never been more important, and our immunity drinks contain an antioxidant level that is higher than three and a half cups of blueberries. These juices also benefit skin and hair, and provide an excellent source of Vitamin A. Juices include:

  • Viva – Ashitba, Beet and Pomegranate
  • Joy-D – Peach, Mandarin and Kiwi
  • Rejuvenate – Mango and Goji Berry
  • Detox – Grape and Kiwi

ENERGY

Karuna ENERGY offerings are a good source of natural fiber, magnesium and potassium, and an excellent source of vitamin B6, copper and manganese. Each 12oz bottle contains 60mg of caffeine. Flavors include:

  • Boost – Black Sesame and Coconut
  • Focus-Plus – Turmeric, Walnut and Coconut

KARVIVA RECOVERY by Karuna

True performance needs true recovery, and our ACE formulation, which combines antioxidants, collagen and electrolytes, offers just that, plus these functional beverages also contain an excellent source of antioxidants of vitamin C, vitamin A and selenium. Compared to leading sports drinks, Karviva RECOVERY by Karuna is low in sodium and calories, and has no added sugar. Drinks include:

  • ACE Watermelon Rush
  • ACE Bold Berry Lemonade

POWER 

The POWER offerings are all low in sugar with fiber and plant protein, and contain whole plant prebiotic fibers, which are the food for good bacteria in our body and are essential for digestive system health.

  • Silky-Oat – Oat, Mango and Banana
  • Avo-Keto – Avocado, Coconut and Ginger
  • Empower – Banana and Cinnamon
  • Pro-Fit – Cacao, Chestnut and Pear

To find Karuna juices and smoothies near you, visit the Find Us section of the website, or go to Amazon for direct-to-consumer delivery.

About Karuna

Karuna, an innovative natural food and beverage company based in St. Louis, offers consumers a simple, delicious, and sensible approach to healthfulness. Karuna means compassion. Our mission is to combine our compassion with our passion for educating and resetting expectations around health and well-being, one person, one beverage at a time. Inspired by the virtues of Buddhism, our philosophy for compassion not only cares deeply for the world within us — our bodies and our minds — but also for the world around us. Our foundation is deeply rooted in our belief that creating delicious products from wholesome ingredients also means shouldering environmental and social responsibilities. Karuna is the first beverage to earn the Certified Plantricious seal, the trusted seal for plant-based nutrition. This growing organization, with more than 300 healthcare professionals and organizations as members, has a mission to make finding truly healthy plant-nutritious foods easy. All of our juices and smoothies are made without added sugar, are USDA Certified Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified, and gluten-free. We hope you’ll join us in our plant-based movement by connecting with us online at mykaruna.com, and on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. Karuna – inspired by ancient wisdom and backed my modern science.

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