Drink with a purpose
Business View Magazine interviews Scott LaPorta, President of Neuro Drinks, as part of our focus on best practices in American business.
Neuro Drinks is a line of unique, scientifically-based, dietary liquid supplements, or, what Company President, Scott LaPorta calls “functional beverages.” The company was founded in 2009 in Los Angeles, California by entrepreneur and philanthropist, Sanela Diana Jenkins. “The genesis for the company was the increasingly unhealthy trends in the beverage business in the United States,” LaPorta says. “As the market became saturated with more and more drinks loaded with calories, sugar, or other unhealthy ingredients, there was a need to develop a healthier functional beverage drink.”
There are seven different Neuro Drinks and each one addresses a particular body/mind need. “We like to develop products that deliver immediate benefits,” LaPorta states. “For instance, our energy drink, Sonic, is a proprietary blend of caffeine and green tea extract which increases alertness and focus while sustaining your energy and attention throughout the day. It’s infused with fruit, so it’s an energy drink that tastes great. Like all our drinks, there are only 35 calories and 9 grams of sugar in a 14½-ounce bottle, which is a fantastic attribute.”
Neuro Sleep combines the benefits of melatonin, the body’s own sleep inducing hormone, with amino acids that aid relaxation, plus extracts of pomegranate, acai, and blueberry. Neuro Bliss is a lightly-carbonated beverage that combines the optimal dose of L-Theanine (found in green tea) for stress reduction with other neural-focused nutrients and bioactives, including vitamin D, chamomile, and alpha GPC, a natural choline compound found in the brain.
Neuro Daily helps strengthen the body’s natural defenses with antioxidant protection of selenium and zinc, plus healthy doses of Vitamins D and C; Neuro Trim was designed to help control hunger with its range of functional fibers that support a healthy digestive system; Neuro Gasm promotes “playful energy;” and Neuro Aqua is pure spring water with added limestone minerals, magnesium and calcium.
Neuro Drinks are produced on the west coast by Unix Packaging and in upstate New York by Adirondack Beverages. “They are our two co-packer partners,” LaPorta says. “We’re primarily a sales, marketing, and innovation led beverage organization. We develop innovative new ‘better for you’ beverage products meeting unmet consumer needs.
LaPorta says that the majority of the company’s 80 employees work in sales: “Our sales team calls on retailers, both national and regional, explaining our strategies, products, and the benefits of the product to gain shelf space in their stores. Then, we service these retailers through our national distributor the Dr. Pepper/Snapple Group, as well as our key regional distributors such as Columbia in the Northwest, Hensley in the desert Southwest, Admiral in the mountain region, Polar in New England, and the Canada Dry Group in the Mid-Atlantic area. We’re broadly distributed geographically in all the major markets.”
A recent brand study found that the two top reasons consumers buy Neuro Drinks are their functional benefits and great taste. “That was about 70 percent of the reason why people buy Neuro, and the third reason is our iconic bottle design, which is unique and sleek. It catches people’s eye on the shelf,” says LaPorta. The study also highlighted strong aided brand awareness of close to 80 percent, however only half of those people had ever tried Neuro. “That led to our strategy to increase the depth and frequency of our promotions and gain additional displays in the front of the stores to increase trial of our product. In essence, our strategy is to capture all of the consumers that shop in the stores where we sell Neuro by putting it right there in front of them. Additionally, we leverage retail marketing vehicles such as in- store circulars, mailings, and e-commerce platform advertising. As we drive consumer demand through customer marketing activity and promotions, we partner with our distributors to capture the opportunities.”
“Neuro Drinks also markets directly to consumers through social media, such as Facebook and Instagram,” LaPorta adds. “We advertise on Amazon and other e-commerce platforms. The next element of our marketing strategy is to align with partnerships and retailers on local, outside-of-the- store activations. For instance, in the Pacific Northwest, there is huge love affair with the Seattle Seahawks, so we’ve partnered with an organization that co-identifies our brand and our products along with the Seahawks football season. This initiative drives incremental awareness and trial with consumers in those targeted stores.”
LaPorta believes that Neuro Drinks can double its business over the next several years. “We plan to be a continual and serial innovator, bringing additional beverages to the marketplace with two releases per year, keeping us front and center in the consumer’s mind. This is an exciting and aspirational goal that the Neuro team is rallying around. In our three-year strategic business plan, we have planks that include us expanding outside the United States into other countries, such as Canada.”
Ultimately, the future success of Neuro Drinks will depend on the buying public, and in that arena, LaPorta has no qualms. “If you’re a soda drinker and you drink our product, you would never drink a soda again,” he declares. “You get far greater benefits by drinking our beverages with none of the negative health attributes of a soda. Our product is better for you. Our product is just outstanding!”
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AT A GLANCE
WHO: Neuro Drinks
WHAT: A line of nutrient-enhanced beverages that are specially formulated to improve wellness.
WHERE: Los Angeles, California
Worldpack Inc. – Worldpack Inc., based in Anaheim, California, brings over 20 years of experience in rotogravure printing and converting of flexible packaging, including more than 15 years with shrink film printing and manufacturing. Its expertise includes all areas of packaging: marketing and sales, graphic design, bottling and packaging systems, and material specifications. The company excels in providing its customers end-to-end solutions and service before and after the sale. – www.worldpackinc.com
UNIX-Packaging Inc. – Based in Montebello, California, UNIX Packaging Inc. is one of the most advanced and state-of-the-art Contract Beverage Manufacturing Facilities on the west coast. The company specializes in complete turn-key production lines offering everything from PET Blow Mold Solutions, 3 High Speed Carbonated Glass and PET lines, 2 High Speed PET Water lines, and Specialty Boutique lines that cater to smaller volume runs. – www.unixpackaging.com