MOSS taps into functional demand with sea moss beverage, launches in Sprouts

By Ryan Daily

- Last updated on GMT

Image Credit: MOSS
Image Credit: MOSS

Related tags functional beverages beverage trends

Health food and beverage company Dr Smood is taking its functional MOSS beverage to more store shelves in 2024, as the company continues to find ways to spread the word about sea moss’s functional properties, company executives and sales professionals told FoodNavigator-USA.

MOSS​ is formulated with sea moss (also known as red seaweed) and recently reformulated to include ashwagandha and ginseng for added functional benefits. The beverage is available in Pure, Pomegranate and Mango Ginger flavors, sweetened with erythritol and monk fruit, and comes packaged in Oceanic Global’s Blue Standard verified plastic-free glass bottles. 

The beverage initially launched in select locations on the West and East coast, and in 2024, the brand is looking to exponentially grow its retail footprint, Ross Shepard, independent sales consultant for MOSS told FoodNavigator-USA. The brand launched in Sprouts with the help of KeHe at the start of the year and is working with Rainforest Distribution to grow in the Northeast, Shepard said.

“We went from about 50 independent doors in the month of December to we anticipate about 1,000 doors by the summer, just based on the fact that consumers understand the benefits of sea moss and they want a way to consume it that is more convenient and tastes better,” Shepard said. “2024 is definitely shaping up to be a year of growth for us, and we're very excited to see how a whole bunch of new consumers in new states and new markets will respond to moss.” 

Sea moss remains a trending ingredient, delivers on Dry January demand

Sea moss as a food ingredient has gained popularity in recent years with viral social media posts and influencers promoting the ingredient, and MOSS claims the ingredient can provide hydration, energy and immunity support. 

Sea moss as a food ingredient isn’t currently classified as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the FDA, and the FDA previously stated​ the only sea-moss products deemed unapproved were ones in cases that labeling “contained or made drug claims that the product(s) could diagnose, cure, mitigate treat or prevent disease.”

Traditionally, sea moss was consumed either in a gel or powder format, but MOSS wanted a more accessible format for consumers and developed a beverage, Francesco L. Perillo, CEO of Dr Smood Group told FoodNavigator-USA. 

“We wanted to provide this on a larger scale and to be able to get it to more people because we love the ingredient and think there [are] so many different ways that people can enjoy it, and we're trying to provide an awesome consumption method that's as great and as convenient to take on the go or consume in a variety of ways throughout their day.” 

MOSS is taking advantage of the Dry January season​ to show consumers in stores and bars how its product can be used in a variety of mocktails, or what the brand has called “mosstails,” Nate Schlimme, chief marketing office for Dr. Smood Group, told FoodNavigator-USA. 

“We don't shy away from the traditional bar and restaurant scene, so there are brands and retailers using our flavors, especially the pure flavor in our cocktails, but mocktails [are] ... a huge opportunity, and it obviously ties into how we're trying to push wellness.”

MOSS grows beyond its shore in 2024

Beyond the retail expansion, MOSS is focusing on getting the word out about the product in 2024, which includes plans to exhibit at the Natural Products Expo West event, Perillo said.

“Until now, it's been very product focused on being able to have a grassroots effort between all of us running around and wearing ... seven hats to try to get to a point where we would have an audience and an opportunity to show the depth and trustworthiness of this product,” Perillo said. “2024 is going to be a lot about getting more of that voice out, and hopefully that's going to help create a wider audience, wider interest, and then from there gradually and organically build the team further.”

Moving forward, MOSS will also explore ways to take sea-moss into new categories, Shepard said.

“We're looking at different sub-segments of the beverage category. We're looking at other parts of the store to see where we can potentially disrupt with this ingredient, and so we're envisioning a line of products beyond just this glass bottle MOSS product in the future that can allow consumers to experience the benefits of sea moss and have that mind-body boost in various ways and at various times throughout the day and sort of creating an ecosystem for the brand and the product line,” Shepard said.  

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