Beyond Meat co-founder Brent Taylor has a new beverage brand for older adults — and he hopes the senior living world takes notice.
The new brand, Perennial, is a dairy-free drink formulated for older adults’ gut, bone, brain and muscle health. It’s made from pea, rice, almond and soy proteins, with added vitamins, minerals, and plant-based fiber. It arrives pre-mixed and ready to drink in a recyclable Tetra Pak carton.
Perennial co-founders Taylor and Sara Bonham launched the beverage product in April with the intention of reaching older adults, a consumer demographic that hasn’t always seen much attention from the food and beverage world.
“We felt that there was a very big gap in the market,” Taylor said.
Existing products that are commonly associated with older adults, like Ensure, are meant as meal replacements and suffer from some stigma among consumers. Perennial is taking a different approach. The company has invested in design to create an attractive brand aesthetic. And Perennial is not meant to replace meals or serve as a drink for dieters. Instead, it’s aimed at active seniors who want a nutrition boost throughout their day.
“It’s designed to complete daily nutrition,” Taylor said. “A lot of our customers are using Perennial as a snack, or specifically as part of their morning ritual for making smoothies.”
Taylor helped cofound Beyond Meat in 2010, the alternative meat powerhouse that had a wildly successful initial public offering (IPO) in May. While Taylor left Beyond Meat in 2016, he learned a thing or two about developing, scaling and educating consumers about a new plant-based product.
“We were really a very vision-focused business, with a product line that better aligned with a changing consumer appetite,” Taylor said. “Here at Perennial, I took a similar approach.”
To date, Perennial has raised seed funding in 2017 to the tune of $2.5 million. The funding came from a mix of venture capital partners, including VC firm Collaborative Fund and PowerPlant Ventures, a growth equity fund that invests in emerging consumer food, beverage, and food service companies.
While Perennial is currently only sold through the company’s website, Taylor anticipates it will eventually end up in other digital shops, such as on Amazon. And the beverage is perhaps a natural fit for partnerships in the senior living world, which is also trying to reach a more active, wellness-minded older adult demographic.
“We believe we could be a potential partner for senior living operators,” Taylor said. “We would love to have this available for sale within their bistros, restaurants and shops.”
For instance, Perennial could hand out samples to residents in senior living communities, who would then either purchase the drink onsite and or on the product’s website.
“At the end of the day, the adult nutrition category, we don’t believe, is thinking progressively about adults that are living in senior living communities,” Taylor said. “Older adults are seeking daily health and wellness, and we want them to feel good about it with a brand they can trust.”