He joins other celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow, Serena Williams and Justin Timberlake in backing health and wellness companies
Drake is putting the green in green tea.
The rapper is investing in MatchaBar, a café and bottled retailer specializing in the fine-ground green tea lattes and beverages with an intense energy boost that can rival coffee.
The Grammy award winning artist is helping the Brooklyn-based café launch its new bottled matcha beverage “Better Energy” with Whole Foods in September.
The good-for-you energy drink contains Japanese green tea loaded with antioxidants and l-theanine, a natural amino acid that helps your body process caffeine differently than coffee leaving you calm and alert, not jittery. Matcha contains roughly 25mg of caffeine, one-third the caffeine in a cup of brewed coffee. The new bottled drink costs $40 for a 12 pack, and comes in four flavors: Apple Ginger, Hint of Honey, Mint and Original Matcha.
The 30-year-old “Energy” artist has long been a influencer outside the music realm, particularly with his own whisky brand Virginia Black. It’s unclear how long he’s been a green tea aficionado, but taking a dip into a millennial-saturated matcha market could only boost his relatable lifestyle brand.
Matcha — a Japanese dietary staple since the 12th century made from crushing green tea leaves into a powder — has evolved from novelty to trend now found just about every pastry like cake, macaroons, ice cream, energy bars and Oreos and Kit Kats. Last year, Auntie Anne even hawked Matcha cheesecake pretzels.
“The big awakening here is there’s a lot of matcha brands, but none of them have really become the Uber of matcha yet,” says Mark Zablow, CEO of New York-based Cogent Entertainment Marketing.
“While it’s probably easy to work with influencers, in today’s environment, it’s very shrewd of matcha brands to get a top celebrity to cut through the clutter and help them stand out from the very crowded market.”
The total tea market in the US is about about $12 billion, of that an estimated $1.7 billion is green tea, according to a report done by the Tea Association of the U.S.A. In 1995, the US imported five million pounds of green tea, and is now importing 50 million pounds, according to Peter Goggi, president of the Tea Association.
Matcha was historically used to enhance focus, energy and alertness and has tons of health benefits because unlike regular tea, it’s steeped in hot water so many of the nutrients stay in the teapot or bag. The powder costs around $9.99 on Amazon, and boosts metabolism and burns calories, relaxes the body, enhances mood and lowers cholesterol and blood sugar. One cup of matcha has as many antioxidants as 10 cups of brewed green tea.
“I’m sure you’ll see every celebrity that is a matcha fan calling their agent saying ‘why didn’t I get this opportunity?’ You’ll see a lot of smart people using this model as an advantage,” says Zablow.
The Canadian-born artist, who subtly slips healthy eating lyrics like “Running on a treadmill and only eating salad,” in hits like “Make Me Proud,” is just the latest celeb investing money in the wholesome food and drink category.
Justin Timberlake teamed up with the brand Bai as its “Chief Flavor Officer” last year promoting its five calorie flavored sips that boasts only one gram of sugar, antioxidants and superfruit. Actress-turned-juicing guru Salma Hayek partnered with Juice Generation in 2008 to co-create recipes for her nutritional juices and nut milks. And last year, Beyonce invested in the fast-growing, cold-pressed watermelon water startup WTRMLN WTR.
“The categories for healthy foods and lifestyle weren’t there 10 years ago,” says Zablow of why celebs are betting big on small health-food startups.
“It’s very valuable as a business person. Someone who can forecast and be a visionary, especially when you’re a music person, is a great notch to have.”
On a global scale, the market for organic, better-for-you foods will reach a record of $1 trillion this year, according to Euromonitor International, so it’s no wonder why more celebrities are jumping on the bandwagon.
Most recently in June, Gwyneth Paltrow and Serena Williams joined Daily Harvest, which packages frozen soups, smoothies and chia parfaits and delivers them directly to homes.
And the wellness trend isn’t a surprise considering that about $45 billion is spent on organic food every year in the United States, reports CNBC. Today, 3 out of 4 grocery stores carry organic products which are available across American in more than 20,000 stores according to TechSci Research.
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