‘Don’t Quit’ shakes up adult nutrition category with minority investments from Keurig Dr. Pepper and L.A. Libations

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

Photo: Don't Quit
Photo: Don't Quit

Related tags keurig dr pepper L.A. Libations

Keurig Dr. Pepper (KDP) has taken a minority investment with a defined path to ownership in emerging brand ‘Don’t Quit’ to become the next heavyweight in the segment, said KDP president Robert Gamgort during the firm's Q2 2020 earnings call.

"We don't want to launch a me too protein drink out there and so this one we think is highly unique. It's targeted to a baby boomer population, which is growing and under-served in this space and we think that all the new entries are going for a much younger population,"​ said Gamgort.

“Our investment in Don’t Quit! daily nutrition shakes gives Keurig Dr Pepper the opportunity to fill white space within our beverage portfolio with a differentiated product in the adult nutrition category that’s clamoring for clean ingredients and innovation,”​ commented Derek Hopkins, chief commercial officer for Keurig Dr Pepper.

From a poem to full nutrition brand

Through a collaboration with celebrity fitness personality Jake ‘Body by Jake’ Steinfeld –  who has trained a bevy of A-list stars from Harrison Ford to Stephen Spielberg – and Danny Stepper, co-founder and CEO of beverage incubator, L.A. Libations – another minority investor in the brand— ‘Don’t Quit’ is positioned as a line of clean-label nutrition shakes targeted towards boomers.

“Adult nutrition is a category that’s exploding, and it’s with these two brands that are not good for you,”​ claimed Steinfeld who has dedicated his life and career to nutrition and fitness.

The slogan, ‘Don’t Quit’ was trademarked by Steinfeld years ago and based on a poem by John Greenleaf Whitter, which has served as inspiration for Steinfeld throughout his career in fitness and nutrition and are two simple words he believes consumers need to hear as they attack their own personal goals.

“It’s always been my thing that I say – ‘Don’t quit’— but until now there was nothing ever worthy of putting ‘Don’t Quit’ on the package,” ​Steinfeld said, who added the along with its clean-label profile, Don't Quit nutrition shakes taste great. 

Adult nutrition category, the sleeping giant of beverages?

According to Stepper there are very few categories as huge and as sleepy and in need of innovation as the adult nutrition space.

“It’s at least a $3bn category at retail, and we think it’s double that if you count health & hospital,”​ Stepper told FoodNavigator-USA.

“And it’s growing,”​ he said. “Ensure and Boost are actually performing very well, but it’s prime for disruption because the ingredient panels have a huge legacy problem.”

“Most products that were launched in ‘70s have evolved and changed, this category hasn’t; the sweetener systems have come so far and you can take all the preservatives out, you can take all the synthetics out, and actually have it still taste better. And that’s what we did here.”

Containing 26 essential vitamins and minerals and 10g of protein, Don’t Quit! Original comes in four flavors: chocolate, chai tea, orangesicle, and vanilla. Its secondary line, Don’t Quit! MAX shakes, is positioned more directly as a competitor to heavy-duty protein shake brands such as Premier Protein and Muscle Milks, packing 30g of protein and 1g of sugar (sweetened with monk fruit extract) per 11-ounce serving.

Unlike Ensure and Boost, all of Don’t Quit products are free-from artificial flavors, sweeteners, soy, and corn.

Don’t Quit nutrition shakes have a suggested retail price of $8.99 for a 6-pack for Don’t Quit Original, and $9.99 for a 4-pack of Don’t Quit MAX.

‘Retail is going to be huge’

After an explosive launch online, in which the brand sold out of Don’t Quit MAX Protein in chocolate, Stepper is predicting a steep upward sales trajectory for the brand.

“I am amazed at the sales volume we’re doing online right now,”​ he said. “I used to think direct-to-consumer is the icing on the cake, and I’m now I’m thinking it might be the cake.”

The second phase of the brand's expansion has been a recent nationwide launch into 2,500 stores including Safeway, Kroger, and Walmart, where retailers were quick to diversify and refresh their adult nutrition aisles.

“Retail is going to be huge,”​ said Stepper. “It’s been literally like pushing on open doors.”

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