With sales at an all-time high for Life Equals — the maker of Balance The Superfood Shot — expanding into other areas of wellness was a natural next step, Kyle FitzGerald said, emphasizing a new blend that rivals less healthy energy drinks.
“We knew we were ready for product innovation,” said FitzGerald, who co-founded the Roeland Park-based health supplement company with Chris Thowe in 2011. “Our core promise to consumers is that our products will provide half of their daily fruits and vegetables. … So on top of that, the newest product line focuses on digestion, energy and an Active Blend great for working out.”
Click here to shop Balance The Superfood Shot’s product line.
As part of Life Equals’ latest launch, FitzGerald and his team are emphasizing the importance of natural versus synthetic caffeine — the active ingredient in many soda and energy drinks.
“People wonder, ‘Why is this [energy drink] hitting me so hard? Why am I so jittery? Why do I peak and then crash?’” FitzGerald noted. “It’s because synthetic caffeine is man-made, not made from plants.”
Life Equals’ new Active and Energy Blends utilize the coffee fruit and a mushroom blend to give consumers a long period of endurance and focus, without the crash, FitzGerald said.
“In the last few years, it’s been found that you can distill down the meaty part around the coffee bean to get huge amounts of antioxidants, caffeine and the neurostimulants to help you think better and clearer,” FitzGerald explained. “That’s the energy behind the energy blend.
“As for mushrooms, they are an adaptogen with a lot of benefits for digestive health and energy,” he continued. “So we have a three-mushroom blend to help support endurance.”
The Energy Blend contains 150 milligrams of caffeine, 1500 milligrams of a mushroom blend and antioxidants from goji berries and cherries.
For those more sensitive to caffeine, the Active Blend has 100 milligrams of caffeine, 1500 milligrams of a mushroom blend and an electrolyte blend.
“Electrolytes are trace minerals — like sodium, chloride and potassium — that you would get from eating fruits and veggies; we get a specific electrolyte blend that is literally just those elements,” FitzGerald said. “This Active Blend really helps you power up for your workout, so you can get more out of it.”
Along with the two new additions, Life Equals released a Digestive Blend — inspired by the company’s existing probiotic capsule.
“That has always been our No. 1 seller on the vitamin side,” FitzGerald noted. “We asked, ‘What if we could do it in a shot?’ With this shot, it contains 10 billion colony-forming units — probiotics — which is about 10 times what other shots contain.
“We also added some really unique sources of prebiotics — which is a carbohydrate that probiotics eat because they’re a living organism that naturally helps your body break down food, avoid sickness [and] absorb nutrients,” he continued. “Jerusalem artichoke and dandelion root are the two sources of prebiotics and fiber.”
The Energy, Active and Digestive Blends currently are only available online, but FitzGerald anticipates they will hit grocery store shelves by the end of 2021.
Life Equals was prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic, FitzGerald said, because it had already built a strong online platform on its own website and Amazon.
“Serving that generation who understands online shopping has always been a huge part of what we’ve done,” he noted. “So 70 percent of our business is direct to consumers, and our Amazon business doubled through the pandemic. We grew about 113 percent on Amazon.”
Click here to read more about how Life Equals has handled business throughout the pandemic.
Balance The Superfood Shots also have a long shelf life — making them an easy way for someone to get their daily recommendation of fruit and vegetable consumption without needing to stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables on a weekly basis, FitzGerald added.
“It’s shelf stable because of the pH [value] of the product,” he explained, noting that the blends contain no preservatives. “Naturally acidic fruits and veggies can be shelf stable if you do a 10 second heat step where we make sure there’s no bacteria in it.
“Almost all those other health shots on the market need to be refrigerated and have a real short shelf life,” he continued. “As a parent, I know that I don’t have time for something like that. I need something that can be with me on my way to work or at the gym.”
With the latest blends still relatively new to the market, initial response from consumers has been positive, FitzGerald shared.
“These three taste even better than our original set,” he said, “and it’s been really cool to see the diverse group of people who have enjoyed the product.”