Entrepreneur Believes Organic Drink is the Better Way
“Selling healthy to make buying healthy affordable for everyone.” It’s the mission of serial entrepreneur and owner of the LIV ORGANIC brand, Bill Cook, and he takes it very seriously.
|3 Smart Things About
LIV ORGANIC1. No High Fructose Corn Syrup:
Flavored and sweetened naturally with no artificial colors, dyes or sweeteners. High fructose corn syrup is a key ingredient in soda and most processed foods and has been implicated in the national obesity and health crisis.2. Sweetened with Agave Nectar:
Agave has become popular with nutritionists and physicians because it is not highly processed, and it has a lower glycemic index than most other sugars. This means it is broken down by the body more slowly than other sweeteners.
3. Made with Brown Rice Syrup:
“We have to get our children started drinking healthy and off these chemical laden and artificially enhanced soft drinks and sports drinks,” he adds. “We live in a global society. If our kids are to have any chance of competing in it, we have to make sure we feed their brain with the best foods we can. ”
LIV ORGANIC is a not so new sports drink that is poised to take the beverage world by storm. Cook bought the brand and the product from its creator, Nancy Dince, after it had lapsed into a state of slow growth with no future plan. “I became aware of the product five to six years ago, and just tucked it away in my mind. I was traveling to Germany and Paris for the big food shows [as part of his food distribution and exporting business] and was noticing the trend and growth of organic products being introduced. They were gaining favor internationally, and I knew that eventually they would here in the United States as well.”
Two years ago, Cook purchased all the inventory Dince had in stock and began to funnel it out through his food distribution channels to gauge its reception. He handed out every last bottle of the Citrus Passion, Lemon, Orange and Berry flavored sports drink and the reaction was consistent: “Tastes great!” “Refreshing!” “No after taste.”
The stars began to align for Cook and his new interest. He was noticing phrases like lactose intolerance and gluten-free being discussed more frequently in the food circles he was traveling in. Certain health issues – including the increasing number of children with diabetes and obesity – were getting media attention. Food contamination concerns were popping up around foreign imports. And, Dince was ready to sell.
Cook imagined LIV ORGANIC as the next Under Armour – the little brand that could! He envisioned it not only as the drink it is now, but also as the healthy lifestyle it could represent. Cook says, “LIV ORGANIC is really living organically. It’s about making better choices about what we consume and how we live. It extends beyond the LIV ORGANIC drinks.”
After purchasing the brand, he immediately sought out the USDA Organic Certification. This stringent certification process guarantees that the products that display the label have met the criteria of the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program. This certification is meant to assure consumers that the product they purchased – in this case, LIV ORGANIC drinks – were produced and processed with more than 95 percent organically grown ingredients and processing aids. LIV Organic is the only USDA Certified sports drink on the market.
One of Cook’s test markets was a friend who was not only a medical doctor, but also a diabetic. He had tasted some of the samples Cook distributed and wanted to purchase more. He was thrilled with the great taste of the sugar-free product, but more importantly, he was impressed how it did not increase his glucose levels – an important indicator for diabetics. He explained that the virtual dearth in great tasting drinks without artificial sweeteners made LIV ORGANIC a natural for the diabetic community. Cook recognized the opportunity and is close to sealing a deal that would feature the LIV ORGANIC product line on dLife.com, a premiere website and health company that concentrates on and promotes the 24/7 challenges of managing diabetes. With over 1.2 million registered users and 24 million Americans currently diagnosed with diabetes, the market potential and health impact is enormous.
“LIV ORGANIC is naturally sweetened with organic agave nectar, which has a low glycemic index. It’s also gluten-free and certified kosher. It’s the perfect drink for everyone – from people who want to drink and eat more healthfully, to active exercisers and child athletes who need an electrolyte replenishment but none of the added chemical enhancers found in the products on the market today,” says Cook.
Introducing a new beverage in a competitive industry is tough enough for the large corporations like Coca-Cola and Pepsi, much less a small distributer headquartered in Selbyville, Del. Cook would need an imaginative way to break through the noise and the advertising budgets of the bigger, louder players in the sports drink arena. His idea? Go directly to the kids where they spend the majority of their day – school. In 2010, he introduced LIV ORGANIC into the vending machines in the Montgomery County, Md., school system and has plans to go after them all one by one.
With the enactment of the Obama administration’s “2009 Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act,” school systems could see an increase of 15 percent in federal funding when they take steps to improve the nutritional offerings at their schools. Offering plain water and nutritionally sound alternatives like LIV ORGANIC is one step that makes a school eligible for the extra funding provided under the act. It is a great incentive for the school and a perfect opening line for Cook’s sales pitch. “If you get the kids, you get the parents. Then everyone is reaching for the healthier option,” he points out.
Why the interest in the healthy lifestyle? Cook grew up with asthma and knew firsthand the toll that a weakened immune system could have on everyday life. In his long career in the food retail industry, he also observed a lot of energetic, young people come to work at the stores as cashiers and clerks who later grew up into very unhealthy adults. He wants to help put a stop to that trend.
And, for Cook, that’s not just sweet talk. He has already added a social component to LIV ORGANIC, as he does with most of his other businesses and investments. With LIV ORGANIC, a portion of the purchase price of every 12-ounce bottle sold will be set aside in a foundation that will support diabetes charities, children’s charities and athletic programs to keep kids active.
“My goal really isn’t about buying or starting businesses. I want to help people,” he says. “I invest in people.”
Learn more about LIV ORGANIC Drinks, ingredients, flavors, purchasing and distribution, at LIV-ORGANIC.com. I95