WellWell founder: Cold pressed juices can be the future of sport drinks

By Adi Menayang

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags New york city

WellWell founder: Cold press juices can be the future of sport drinks
The month-old organic beverage brand has won the hearts of New York City’s health and wellness enthusiasts, but founder Sagan Schultz is confident that his product can expand well beyond the big apple.

“We cold press everything, no extract or powder anything. We don’t even add water or sugar,” ​Schultz told FoodNavigator-USA. “It’s straight juice. In a way, we’re bridging to the supplement world with something we actually want to put in our body.”

There’s a plethora of scientific literature and clinical trials about the three main ingredients in WellWell, tart cherry​, watermelon​, and lemon​, and how they can aid athletes and whoever else that exercises. Schultz, an active individual himself who is simultaneously pursuing both an M.D. and M.B.A. at NYU, came up with the formulation based on his own research on PubMed.

“I created it out of a need for myself for recovery purposes,” ​he added. “I started making this stuff at the end of last summer at home in my kitchen because it was something I needed in my personal life. I was working out real hard and I was really active, so I was looking at ways to help the recovery process other than taking supplements.”

The changing face of sport drinks

A med school student, Schultz is used to scoring through academic literature. "Unfortunately at med school they don't really teach you much about nutrition," he said. Schultz came up with the formulation while making his own recovery drinks for himself based on studies he found on PubMed.

A report from Mintel said that cross-category beverages​ have become increasingly popular as health and wellness drive consumer demand. Sports drinks, a title once reserved for neon-colored mixtures with synthetically produced ingredients, today can also mean cold-pressed juices like the one WellWell makes.

“People in this country are finally starting to understand health and wellness. It’s here to stay, it’s not a trend,” ​Schultz argued. “People are now starting to make the behavioural changes. So in the next five to 10 years there are going to be more products [like ours].”

The cold-pressed juice  - which is treated with high pressure processing (HPP) - comes in a 12 oz, seafoam-colored bottle and sells at a suggested retail price of $5, which according to Shape magazine​, is half the price of many other cold-pressed juices in New York.

The target audience, according to Shultz, is active people who want nutrient-dense yet simple ingredients for energy and recovery, a segment of people that continues to grow​. “What we’re making isn’t completely new or need new technology, people know this,” ​he said. “What we’re doing is putting it in a bottle with a cool brand—compare it to making this yourself, you have to buy a whole watermelon and juice it, and buy expensive tart cherries.”

An all-star team

The Big Apple may be one of the biggest metropolises in the world, but break it down by neighbourhood and community, there’s a close-knit feel to it all. After making his own juices in his kitchen and giving to friends in what Schultz calls his “New York city health and wellness community,” ​he found three other partners to help him establish WellWell. 

The team behind WellWell, from left to right: Collin Hughes, Michael Chernow, Sagan Schultz, and Larry Praeger.

Restaurateur Michael Chernow, co-founder of popular The Meatball Shop chain and owner of Nolita restaurant Seamore’s​ (where WellWell comes on tap, according to the website) serves as WellWell’s executive culture cfficer, while Larry Praeger, son of the eponymous founder of veggie-burger-famous Dr. Praeger’s ​is WellWell’s chief operating officer. Behind the company’s sleek branding is photographer Collin Hughes, who’s the company’s creative director.

Schultz said he is content with how things are going with the brand, having been picked up by Whole Foods’ northeast region not long after its launch. “We haven’t really spent on marketing,” ​he said. “We’ve been doing really well mostly from the buzz from New York’s health and wellness scene.”

He’s also confident about the brand’s expansion elsewhere. “Being here in New York City, where the fitness scene is on fire, what we do here goes everywhere globally,” ​he said. “Working here, it gives you a head start, chances are it’s going to spread elsewhere.” 

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