By Ben Wiese | Jan 31, 2023
Plant-based nutritional drink mixes
For the first four years of its existence, Zurvita was a floundering business susceptible to the gravity of just about any idea. The company, which launched in 2007, was intent on providing a clientele base with something of value -- but that something remained a work in progress.
Repeatedly, Zurvita fell victim to its own ambition. Coming to grips with the bleak future of his company, the team committed fully to pushing his chips into a single concept: plant-based nutrition products.
"Like many other companies out there, we were probably 20 different companies before we became the company we are today," Shafer says. "We were service-oriented, so we sold electricity, we offered business opportunities, legal services, and even healthcare services. We tried to be a lot of different things for a lot of different people until we found our identity. Going into the nutrition business was a big shift from the service industry. But it was one of those bold decisions we felt like we wanted to make."
More than 15 years later, Zurvita looks like a true mainstay in the health and wellness industry. With its plant-based nutrition drinks created to effectively support a multitude of health goals and lifestyles -- including the simplification of affordable health and nutrition for families -- Zurvita has developed a devoted clientele by way of quality, consistency, transparency, and taste.
"If you have the right product, you can really help people, and that's what we were looking for," says Shafer. "We wanted to provide a clean, organic type of product that actually really impacted people's health and affected their pocketbooks by being reasonably priced."
The company ethos is easily digestible: clean, healthy, plant-based nutrition and a mission to change lives. Containing stabilized rice bran as its ace-in-the-hole ingredient, produced as a powder, conveniently ready to be mixed into the consumer's beverage of choice, Zurvita's offerings come in various flavors and sizes, with each recipe crafted to meet specific needs.
Using a rigid scientific testing process from the third-party research firm and biotechnology company KGK Science, Zurvita has made its product integrity a non-negotiable business pillar. This very decision has been a distinct demarcation between Zurvita and potential contemporaries that have waded into the murky waters of too good to be true. Additionally Zurvita has a Scientific Board of independent doctors, researchers, and scientists including a full-time health coach and Crohn's survivor Peter Nielsen.
"Each batch is tested to ensure that before we send it out to the field, it is of the highest quality and efficacy," says Shafer. "Then, we send each batch to another lab to make sure it is up to par. We also send it to Informed Sports to ensure that each ingredient is guaranteed to clear any substance regulations within a given sporting world. Each ingredient that comes into the plant has to go through a testing process before it's accepted into the manufacturing process. That goes to the lab, the lab certifies that the ingredient is what they say it is, then that gets shipped to manufacturing to go through the blending process."
Zurvita's flagship product, Zeal for Life, a nutrition drink mix, has been the company's catalyst. Described as an "all-in-one nutritional drink mix to enjoy the benefits of essential nutrients and superfoods in one simple solution," Zeal has propelled Zurvita to sustained success and, in turn, opened the door for continued product innovation.
Operating out of a 100,000-square-foot warehouse in Dallas, Zurvita's manufacturing contractor partners contain an array of high-powered blenders and packaging machines as well as an onsite testing area dedicated solely to quality control.
Challenges: As previously mentioned, Zurvita has skyrocketed within the ranks of superfoods and nutrition beverages -- so much so that their products can be found through thousands of consultants, aka “The Zurvita Nation,” from North America (US, PR, Canada, Mexico markets) as well as every consultant being an online micro-entrepreneur that has their own Zurvita e-comm site. But for all of the progress toward modern shopping, Shafer still sees continued evolution in their e-commerce as a primary challenge of the business.
"I think the pandemic showed us we had to be technologically ready to sell like Amazon," says Shafer. "We've been a face-to-face company with the direct consumer more than a tech-based one. So, quickly, we've had to move forward with our shopping experience making it easy to complete a sale and upgrade the features on our mobile shopping plus our apps which we continue to add robust tools for both the consultants and end user to enjoy.”
Opportunities: Despite the strong support of customers, Shafer believes that Zurvita has yet to fully tap into its maximum capacity. He sees ample growth potential in the scope of Zurvita's brand reach and product offerings"One of the things we're working on is our branding and point of difference," says Shafer. "We want to become a household name. We want to get awareness for our amazing products out there while continuing to pursue and produce new clean, trustworthy, and relevant solutions."
Needs: Though Zurvita's flagship product has been a resounding success, the continued development of its product offering is an absolute necessity in order to keep up with current supply demands and future consumer desires. That has been evident with their most recent innovation Zundora, an antioxidant collagen gel.
"We know that we have to keep going after additional products because our customers have asked us to apply the Zurvita approach to product creation to what they are consuming today," says Shafer. "A big drive for us is to set up an aggressive product introduction cadence, to start we'll be introducing two more new products this year. It's quite a job to get ahead of that because you can't just put something average out there; we want to give our customers something that's unique, innovative and up to Zurvita standards they expect"