Retail

How A Subscription Nutrition Brand Aims To Help An Aging Population

eCommerce innovators are offering plant-based nutrition beverages designed for baby boomers and their parents with the help of the subscription business model. Take Perennial, which Co-founder and Co-CEO Sara Bonham described to PYMNTS as a progressive health company that is creating foods and beverages for consumers age 50 and older “by leveraging the endless kind of power of plant-based input.”

Bonham, along with fellow Co-founder Brent Taylor, discovered the company could go beyond animal protein “and really address more personalized solutions for healthy aging.” The company currently makes a non-dairy nutrition beverage that is a blend of protein, vitamins and fiber, which supports daily gut, bone, brain and muscle health. The beverage is said to not have artificial colors, sweeteners or flavors; genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or animal products. The goal, Bonham said, is that people will consume it every day – put in their oatmeal or drink it after they work out. “It’s super functional,” she said. “It has a clean taste.”

On Perennial’s website, the company seeks to make its brand purpose front and center. On the home page, consumers can read about how the product is designed for daily consumption and crafted for the modern adult. To purchase the product, consumers can visit the shop page via many different touchpoints, including a “try us now” button from the home page. At the order page, consumers can elect to make a one-time purchase or subscribe at a slight discount.

Whether the consumer chooses the subscription or the one-time purchase option, the company delivers the product straight to their door. “We’re really trying to make it convenient,” Bonham said. The company offers a range of delivery options, ranging from a frequency of every two weeks up to every 12 weeks.

And Perennial is not alone: Almost all – or 95 percent – of the top Q4 2018 performers in the PYMNTS Subscription Commerce Conversion Index offered subscription plan options.

Perennial uses Shopify to power the website’s eCommerce function and ships using FedEx. The company’s website also says it offers free shipping on purchases over $50.

Beyond just subscriptions, Bonham said Perennial is taking a modern approach to adult nutrition and making it easier to order and consume healthy products. Neither Bonham nor Taylor are new to the space: Taylor co-founded the plant-based food company Beyond Meat, and Bonham grew her expertise by manipulating plant inputs at the San Francisco-based biotech accelerator and seed fund IndieBio. While there, she used plants to replicate the texture, taste and nutritional parity of dairy milk.

The Adult Nutrition Market

Perennial’s offering comes as the population is aging: According to figures cited by the company, 10,000 Americans turn 65 each day. The United Nations 2017 World Population Prospects found that 13 percent of the global population is over 60, and that figure is forecasted to rise to 16 percent by 2030. And the spending power of this consumer demographic is expected to reach $15 trillion around the world by 2020, per the firm. However, Perennial claims only 10 percent of marketing dollars and 1 percent of global innovation is geared toward this age group.

Sociologists refer to baby boomers and their parents as “perennials” (hence the name for the company). Lauren Loktev, who is a partner with the Collaborative Fund (a Perennial investor), said in an announcement that the company is one of a “handful” of firms innovating for this age group.

“While there has been some innovation in cleaner label brands in non-dairy milk (e.g. Ripple, Califia), bars (RXBAR) and liquid meal replacements (Soylent, Ample), there’s been little improvement in nutritional beverages – particularly for this demographic,” Loktev said. Beyond the Collaborative Fund, the company is funded by investors such as Powerplant Ventures and SOSV, along with family offices in the U.S. and Canada.

With the help of funding and subscriptions, Perennial is looking to fill the gap in the market for healthier adult nutrition options with its plant-based beverages.

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