Beverage startup goals to be ‘Snapple 2.0’

PHILADELPHIA — A debilitating digestive sickness led to the launch of Halfday Tonics, a model of canned tea drinks infused with prebiotic fiber. Founders Kayvon Jahanbakhsh and Michael Lombardo started creating the idea after they had been faculty college students a number of years in the past, following a extreme bout of ulcerative colitis that hospitalized Mr. Jahanbakhsh for 3 months and wrecked his profession as a swimmer.

Halfday was impressed by the couple’s favourite summer time refreshment, bottled or canned tea from manufacturers like Snapple, Arizona and Brisk. Mr. Jahanbakhsh eradicated these drinks from his weight loss plan to stop outbreaks of his illness, which is triggered by excessive sugar consumption, he stated. Including inulin to do-it-yourself batches of iced tea aided his restoration and sparked the concept for the enterprise.

“As I began to get higher and higher, I spotted that this was vital,” he stated.

An amazing majority of Individuals don’t devour the really useful quantity of dietary fiber per day. Many manufacturers that market digestive wellness typically goal older patrons, Jahanbakhsh stated, citing Activia and Metamucil as examples. Halfday was designed to enchantment to Technology Z and millennials, who usually tend to search drinks with much less sugar, Lombardo stated.

Merchandise are formulated with natural substances, together with inexperienced or black tea extract, Jerusalem artichoke inulin, agave inulin, apple juice focus, and lemon juice focus, plus stevia leaf extract. Varieties embody peach inexperienced tea, lemon black tea, and honey ginseng inexperienced tea. A seasonal taste, blueberry black tea, will debut in November.

“There actually hasn’t been innovation in iced tea since Sincere within the ’90s and early ’00s,” Jahanbakhsh stated. “We actually preferred iced teas after we had been youngsters, even in our maturity, however clearly from the age of 18, it is fairly laborious to drink 40 grams of sugar in a single sitting and really feel good afterwards.”

A serving of Halfday tea accommodates 8 grams of fiber and three to 4 grams of sugar. (For comparability, a 12-ounce serving of Snapple peach tea has 30 grams of sugar.) Halfday merchandise can be found on the model’s web site,, in addition to pure meals and specialty shops and on-line grocery shops, akin to Thrive Market and Misfits Market.

Mr. Jahanbakhsh and Mr. Lombardo launched Halfday final Could following a number of product iterations, together with cold-brewed and carbonated varieties underneath the Moles identify. The brand new model and present recipes had been created in the course of the founders’ participation within the BeyondSKU client product accelerator program late final 12 months.

“On the time, we had been nonetheless making an attempt to determine, will we need to be a glowing tea? A substitute for smooth drinks? What are we?” stated Mr. Jahanbakhsh. “I bear in mind Mike and I might sit and brainstorm for hours on finish.”

The startup lately closed a pre-seed funding spherical, elevating $750,000 from Electrical Really feel Ventures, Over Straightforward Ventures, Distributors Fund, and angel buyers, together with Halo Prime Creamery co-founder Doug Bouton. The founders deliberate to make use of the income to develop retail distribution.

“We get critiques from individuals who have at all times had Brisk or Arizona, and so they can swap with out making that sacrifice, which is actually cool,” stated Mr. Jahanbakhsh, who described Halfday as “Snapple 2.0”. “Principally, they will cut back their sugar consumption by 80-90% and nonetheless get the complete satisfaction of a traditional iced tea, plus the digestive well being advantages on high of that.”