I grew up listening to a lot of classic rock as a kid (thanks, Dad), and its themes of tolerance, mistrust of authority, holistic health, and connection to nature were woven into my personal fabric. A favorite line from Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s “Woodstock” always pops up when I reflect, “and we got to get ourselves back to the garden…” Little did I know that layered within the beautiful harmony was a foreboding warning of things to come.
Fast forward to the ’90s of my adolescence, and not only did angst-filled grunge replace the rainbows, but we now had a generation raised on processed foods and preservatives – a far cry from that garden. Indeed, it was the beginnings of the tech revolution, with cheaper, scientifically “innovative” ingredients being seen as “advancement.” We tweaked some leftover WWII petroleum to create our first chemical-based pesticides and combatted those pesky threats to our new Frankenstein crops. It made sense at the time.
Except that it shouldn’t have. And the unintended consequences were seen in the damage to our gut lining, inflammation in our bodies, and weakening junctions between our blood-brain barrier. In the late ‘90s, we witnessed increasing rates of Autism, Parkinson’s, MS, Alzheimer’s, gluten sensitivity, Celiac disease, and many others that left everyone scratching their heads. Little did we know that our “advancement” was instead contributing to the regression of our country’s collective health in epidemic proportions. It was the biggest clap-back from Mother Earth; she let us know that our rebellion against her vision was doomed.
And that’s where we stand now, with the diagnosis of childhood chronic disease almost quadrupling over the past four decades[i], autism rates have more than doubled since the turn of the century[ii], infertility rates are skyrocketing[iii], and we now spend $3.8 trillion per year trying to manage these chronic conditions[iv]. Also, this Rich Roll Podcast with Dr. Zach Bush digs even deeper into the above phenomenon.[v]
However, something positive still shines through. Because of social media and our access to information and thought exchange (that in the past would have been filtered through a media conglomerate and likely axed), this controversial knowledge is no longer a secret. Today we have both our podcasts for long-form, exploratory, unedited conversation, and our social media channels that allow for the egalitarian transmission of information.
And because of this equal access – on both a brand’s side as well as the consumer side – this is where the demand for transparency takes root. A brand can no longer say that its isolated soy protein is good for you, or that aspartame is a good alternative to sugar, as consumers now have the knowledge that confirms that nature has always known best. They’re demanding the transition of lab-to-table back to farm-to-table, coming full circle.
Today’s most successful food and beverage companies are the ones who have taken note and are offering the solution: a reversion “back to the garden” and the lifestyle to go along. And they know that in order to maintain success, they must continue to stand on the same level as their educated customer and offer high-quality, functional, whole-food products that draw directly from the innate intelligence of nature.
Our client CHERRiSH has been a wonderful example of a brand acknowledging this growing awareness, and delivering a powerful, natural, health-first product that benefits the well-being of all. It’s a functional wellness beverage with only three ingredients – two of them being cherries. They’ve honored nature as their guide and used science simply as the backbone to support the evidence behind their product’s innate health benefits. It has been an honor to help them gain recognition in both the athletic as well as wellness lifestyle categories by elevating their product’s well-studied benefits, clean ingredients list, and importantly its lack of certain ingredients, namely artificial colors, preservatives and added sugars. Ten years ago, this beverage might have had all three to align with the times, but today the audience has changed and so have the products.
Other popular and rapidly expanding
brands such as Moon Juice, Perfect Bar or Lumen have also tapped into this
return to natural, plant-based ingredients. All will continue to see great
success as long as they continue down the path that leads (of course) back to