Plant-based protein powders shake up the wellness space

Protein powders are getting a much-needed upgrade thanks to startups that are reimaging the category to be cleaner and greener. Nearly half (46%) of U.S. Trendsetters aged 14-34 have had a protein shake or powder in the past six months, according to our Game Changers Report, and new plant-based alternatives are meeting consumer demand.


Recognizing that most replenishment drinks aren’t meeting the needs of modern wellness consumers, especially women, fitness enthusiasts Darby Jackson and Sonny McCracken decided to fill the void. Enter Après, a vegan, post-workout snack that combines plant-based proteins, virgin coconut oil, and coconut water to restore one’s body after exercise of any intensity level. The drink, which comes in pretty packaging, is available in three flavors: mint cacao, chai spiced vanilla, and sea salt. Après is sold at select fitness studios and on the company’s website as a one-time purchase or via subscription.


All too often, people are unsure what to consume before or after working out and end up having caloric protein bars or sugary juices or smoothies that they think are healthy. Startup Revere is seeking to change this behavior and help people maximize the effectiveness of their exercise with plant-based, natural powders for pre and post workouts. Users take a quiz about their fitness habits and goals, and Revere identifies the right mix of products for them, including powders specifically designed for post-strength training and post-cardio. Products are sold via subscription service, with the company having raised $2 million in seed funding.


Australian wellness company WelleCo is also reinventing protein powders as more than just a drink for body-builders that are typically filled with bulky, caloric ingredients. Its aptly named product, The Super Elixir, is a plant-based powder made from all-natural ingredients that can be mixed with water, coconut water, or smoothies. What distinguishes the powder from most is the combination of brown rice and pea protein, which provide all nine essential amino acids that are needed for recovery post-workout. The Super Elixir is sold online and comes in sleek bins in flavors like raw Peruvian cacao and Australian vanilla.