Why did we do this?
The Unwinder serves two purposes:
- Useful scientific analysis of wellness products to consumers, on our website
- Useful business analysis to the wellness industry, in our Unwinder Pro newsletter
These purposes work together to make the wellness industry better, more legitimate and trustworthy.
In service of the wellness industry, we occasionally commission original research that may be helpful for running a wellness business.
Below is our Brand Recognition Survey of 50 wellness brands. The survey was conducted on 400 U.S. consumers, vetted by Pollfish, the week of September 14, 2021. This is the first in a quarterly brand recognition polling initiative by the Unwinder.
50 brands were selected as part of the poll – most being a part of The Unwinder community, with a few larger brands or companies selected for comparison.
Interesting points reveal themselves when the data is sliced and diced. Certain brands have big recognition differences between People of color and White people: for example, Goop has 41% higher recognition amongst White people (+11.5% absolute), while Golde (26%), Brown Girl Jane (29%), and Blueland (49%) are better recognized among POC. Peloton and Solimo (the Amazon generic supplements brand) are both significantly whiter as well.
Age mattered as well. In general, the highest recognition for each brand was amongst those aged 25-44. However, a few particularly Gen-Z brands stood out for A18-24 versus those A45+. Ilia Beauty was the 10th most recognized for the younger folks, and the 51st (last place) for the 45 and older respondents. cocokind (6 vs 37) and Athletic Greens (16 vs 41) showed similarly large gaps. CBD brands were more widely recognized among the young, averaging +6.2 places of greater brand recognition. Vitamins (like Goli and Ritual) and baby products (Hello Bello) were significantly better known amongst the older.
Where does ashwagandha come from? A deep dive into farming practices and supply chains
Perhaps its the snarls of Covid-19 on global shipping that have supply chains in the news, or perhaps its the infamous discovery of high lead levels in imported turmeric (a partial inspiration for founding The Unwinder). Either way, the provenance of wellness products is high in mind.
Here, we take a deep dive into ashwagandha, the king of the adapotogenic herbs. Where does it come from, domestically and abroad? Are its farming and labor practices consistent with environmental and humanitarian values? Brands like Moon Juice and Four Sigmatic have flagship products containing ashwagandha.
This article contains primary source reporting, as we interviewed farmers and experts from across the supply chain. Through this, we come to an understanding of what the best practices look like, and what to look for (and avoid) in an ashwagandha product supplier.
Health Claims Head Check
Our managing editor, John Fawkes, is back with another article where he checks out how the popular media is interpreting studies and making health claims. NBC news reports on a study showing metabolism does not slow down as you age, but they may not be explaining well enough what “metabolism” in the context of the study actually means, leaving the door open for health-negative interpretations. The Washington Post does a good job talking about plant-based diets reducing heart disease (evidence looks good!), but John digs deeper into why.
News & Notes
Actor and musician Awkwafina is voice of new plant based meat company, Lightlife.
🛏️ Cult workout studio Barry’s and mattress-of-the-moment Eight Sleep have announced an exclusive partnership, with Barry’s members getting an ample discount on Eight Sleep products. Details of the deal were not disclosed – does Eight Sleep pay Barry’s for the new customers, or is the discount alone enough? – but, as the wellness space matures, partnerships between fitness experiences and wellness products will become common.
🧯 Speaking of mattress companies, there may be some sleepless nights over at Casper, which laid off its CMO, CTO and COO in a blink. This is part of a larger cost-cutting at Casper as the now-public company attempts to turn a profit in a crowded space.
🫀 Making the rounds in the supplement community, including Reddit, is research worth taking seriously: two studies found that high-dose omega-3 fatty acid supplementation increased the risk of atrial fibrillation, a heart condition. One of the two studies found other health benefits of omega-3 (again, at high dose); the other found no advantage over a placebo.
🧽 Clean cleaning product company Cleancult, known for their focus on sustainability and zero-waste, raised $25M in series B funding as they expand into over 5,000 retail locations in the next three months.
🤰 Fertility tracking app Flo has raised a $50M funding, valued at $800M. The 2016-founded app claims 200M users and near $100M revenue.
CBD leader Medterra has appointed a new CEO and noted a milestone of $50M in annual revenue.
Bloomberg provides a deep dive into how various plant-based meats are doing in that staple of American (somewhat problematic) eating: the fast food drive through.
In “who knew” news, there is a trade organization for booze-free booze, the American Alcohol-Free Spirits Association (AAFSA), and they are mad about Ritual Zero Proof’s advertising practices.
Social Growth Leaderboard
Celebrity rules again, with Jessica Biel’s Kinderfarms topping the list, and Kin Euphorics still growing strong on the announcement of Bella Hadid as a cofounder at NYFW in early September. The question remains: how much of your company’s equity would you trade away for true, scaled influence?