The CircleUp25 winners are out for the sixth year in a row and, as usual, plenty of already-promising natural brands are in the mix. The winners are chosen by the crowdfunding group's judges and its machine learning platform Helio, which identifies and categorizes more than a million brands.
With bone broth protein a show stopper in the supplement section, Ancient Nutrition set the stage for major growth, including $103 million in funding from more than 100 investors.
In the thriving plant-based category, Beyond Meat has stood out because its products “look, cook & taste like meat, without sacrificing on taste or juicy satisfaction.” Helio identified Beyond Meat as having the strongest brand score in the meat and seafood alternatives category. With Tyson Foods and Humane Society of the United States both among investors, it seems like a strong sign of the plant-based future.
This is California’s first high-alcohol kombucha, which at 7 percent ABV claims to provide “the happiest buzz on Earth.” It’s organic, handcrafted, non-GMO, locally sourced and gluten-free—with all the health benefits that regular kombucha offers.
Brew Dr. Kombucha
On the flip side, this brand removes the alcohol from its kombucha without using heat—so it can preserve the beverage’s active cultures and other health benefits. It’s these innovative approaches that will be crucial to penetrating a pretty crowded space: kombucha accounts for up to a third of Whole Foods’ refrigerated functional-beverage shelf space and is projected to reach $1.8 billion by 2020.
This site only launched last July and already offers 300 own brand goods—just basic supplies for the home that everyone needs—with a clean beauty collection among its most recent additions. Brandless got CircleUp recognition for cutting out “hidden middleman markups” for home supplies.
This should have been predictable, given the sustained gluten-free trend and cauliflower craze. Caulipower’s cauliflower-based pizzas only launched last year and is the top gluten-free pizza and fastest growing frozen pizza brand in the country. The company recently added veggie-based baking mixes.
Cece’s Veggie Noodle Co.
People have been home-spiralizing vegetables for a while now, but these guys were the first to bring organic spiralized vegetables to store shelves in convenient packaging. Available in Zucchini, Sweet Potato, Butternut and Beet. Another one hitting the mark by taking a category consumers love to eat—noodles or gluten or both—but have been trying to avoid, and offering a healthy alternative in its place.
San Francisco-based Credo Beauty avoids the toxic ingredients standard in many cosmetics that natural consumers try to stay away from—and has mastered the clean label, which is king right now.
With the global mushroom market expected to hit $50 billion in the next five years, companies that can innovate in this category are getting ahead of the game. Four Sigmatic enables people to drink their mushrooms in a range of functional beverages.
Health Warrior is all about seeds—snack bars made with chia seeds or pumpkin seeds as the main ingredient, and a superfood protein bar that includes chia and quinoa. The fast-growing non-GMO snack company aims to make it convenient to snack on nutrient-dense foods.
These guys have grown from selling at farmer’s markets and on Etsy to now having a strong direct-to-consumer base while also being available at Sephora and other key retailers.
Daily Harvest may have pioneered a smoothie-meets-meal-kit-service hybrid: The New York-based company delivers farm-frozen ingredients in preportioned servings that can be turned into smoothies. Boosting fruit and vegetable intake one smoothie at a time.
Farmhouse Culture is a leader in the probiotic category. It started out with its Krauts, but now includes four different fermented vegetables, a probiotic drink line, and the kraut-based snacks Kraut Krisps.
Once Upon a Farm
This pouch company has a superstar lineup behind it, including John Foraker of Annie’s fame and Jennifer Garner of Hollywood fame—but it’s the product that has won people over, delivering the first cold-pressed baby food on the market. Once Upon a Farm is also working to recycle its pouches, and exclusively sells organic products.
Vital Proteins’ collagen peptides are sourced from pasture-raised cows in Brazil and New Zealand and wild-caught fish in Hawaii. The company is now found in Whole Foods and in Anthropologie’s wellness shop.
Vive Organic offers up Wellness Shots to deliver some of the most on-trend health ingredients around, like turmeric, coconut and elderberry. The shots, which are cold-pressed, organic, and made with no artificial colors or sweeteners, come in four varieties: immunity, digestive health, overall wellness and detoxification.