Skift Take

It’s no surprise that companies want to replicate the success of popular wellness beverages like Recess and Oatly. But considering how much brand recognition each of those companies has already built up, it’ll be hard for newcomers to find a way to the top.

The Skift Wellness newsletter is our  weekly dispatch focused on what’s happening in wellness from a global business standpoint. Skift Wellness lives where wellness meets commerce, mindfulness meets technology, the yoga studio meets the boardroom, and health meets business.

The upside of creating a drink so in demand that it’s covered by media outlets ranging from niche food blogs to The New York Times? Major sales. The downside? Pesky copycats.

That’s been the experience of Recess, a CBD and adaptogen-infused sparkling water brand. Recess launched in late 2018, when public interest in CBD oil was suddenly booming, and it has plenty of good press clippings to show for it.

Fast forward to today, and already the brand is contending with new rivals, including Canada-based Daydream, which is also looking to capitalize on the CBD-meets-sparkling water momentum. One of the major concerns for Recess is similarities in packaging — these brands all aim to give off a calming vibe, meant to evoke the escapism you feel when sipping the drink. Thus the similar look of the products could cause brand confusion.

On the other hand, Recess has built up a loyal community since its launch. So much so that CEO Benjamin Witte has said that fans sometimes send the company direct messages, pointing out the look-alike rival.

In other brand-copycat news, Oatly, which deems itself “the original oat drink company,” is no longer the only oat milk in the alternative beverage aisle. Last year, the drink stirred up such a craze that people were complaining of shortages. But several other brands have launched their own versions of oat milk — from Quaker Oats to Silk — to ride the coattails of Oatly’s popularity.

We’ll have to wait and see if customers stay loyal to Recess and Oatly in the coming years. For now, these wellness beverage brands don’t appear to be losing steam.

For feedback or news tips, reach out via email at [email protected] or tweet me @lesliebarrie.

— Leslie Barrie, Wellness Editor

Food & Drink

New CBD Drinks Try to Replicate Recess’ Success:  Recess, a CBD and adaptogen-infused sparkling water, launched last year to great fanfare. That buzz, however, brought about a whole new market challenge when rival CBD-sparkling beverage companies started popping up. Those include Daydream, which has similar packaging and two of the same flavors. Such copycats make it hard for Recess to differentiate itself, but the company’s CEO appears untroubled, insisting that Recess is more than just a drink. “It’s this feeling of being calm, cool, collected.” Read more here.

More Companies Pour Money Into the Oat Milk Category: Oatly oat milk had a bit of a moment last year. It got so popular, so fast, that many stores ran out of it, much to customers’ chagrin. This year, it’s facing steep competition from companies like Quaker Oats, Silk, Califa, and Pacific Foods, which also want in on the oat-beverage craze. While oat milk looks like it has staying power — customers swear by its taste and texture and love that it’s more environmentally friendly than almond milk — time will tell if Oatly can hang onto its top spot. Read more here.


Equinox Clubs Sign Deal to Launch Co-Working Spaces: Equinox gym-goers can now mix work and play — if, that is, you consider exercise “play.” The fitness club just announced a partnership with Industrious, a workspace operator, to open Equinox-branded co-working spaces. The first location is set for 35 Hudson Yards, the same location as the new Equinox Hotel. It’s a logical move for the fitness company to start dabbling in co-working, considering so many of its members end up getting work done at the gym anyway. Read more here.

Beauty & Spa

Wellness Comes to Ulta Beauty Stores in a Big Way: Starting this month, 350 Ulta Beauty stores will dedicate a whole section to wellness, with plans to expand to 700 stores by late summer. This is the beauty company’s first foray into promoting its wellness offerings. It’s surprising it hasn’t done so sooner, as beauty and personal care make up more than $1 billion of the $4.2 billion dollar wellness industry, and many of Ulta’s competitors have already made big wellness plays. Read more here.


Cannabis-Based Wellness Resorts Will Soon Arrive in the U.S.: Yep, you heard that right. Alternative Hospitality, Inc., plans to start construction later this year on Coachill Inn Resort in Desert Springs, California. The property is the first of what could be many cannabis-friendly wellness hotels in its portfolio. The resort’s offerings: an on-site dispensary, education services about cannabis and its potential benefits — which are still being studied — and a variety of wellness goods. But at this point, it’s unclear whether the cannabis hook will attract enough customers. Read more here.


Nike Will Change Its Maternity Policy After Pushback From Female Athletes: On Mother’s Day, The New York Times featured an op-ed by Alysia Montaño, an Olympian runner whose Nike endorsement payments were put on hold when she became pregnant. That led numerous other Nike-sponsored athletes to speak out about the athleisure company’s maternity practices. Now, Nike is changing its contracts to protect pregnant athletes. It’s about time, considering Nike has built its brand around empowering women. Read more here.

Skift Wellness Editor Leslie Barrie [[email protected]] curates the Skift Wellness newsletter. Skift emails the newsletter every Thursday.


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Tags: cannabis, cbd, Equinox, equinox hotels, food and beverage, Skift Wellness, wellness

Photo credit: A man is shown drinking a beverage. Wellness beverage brands are contending with new rivals entering the space. @leaboehland / Unsplash

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