Ryze and Shine!
By Dominic Messier
The "ryze" of mushroom-based coffee
By Dominic Messier
In an age of health-conscious choices to be made everywhere you look, where we all hope to give ourselves an edge so to face each challenging day, it stands to reason that innovative techniques would soon start to redefine our everyday products.
Take coffee, for example. Widely available in countless varieties and an indispensable kick start to our mornings, we can all agree that with such energized java comes mild, unwelcome side effects: jitters, anxiety, disrupted sleep patterns if ingested past a certain time, etc…
Having endured those ill effects for too long, two superfood savvy Harvard grads, Andree Werner and Rashad Hossain, opted to develop a well-researched alternative that would provide all of the positives and none of the downsides, by maximizing the potential found in medicinal mushrooms.
Thus came the birth of Ryze Superfoods, their own American enterprise launched in March 2020, with an offering of a blend that includes 6 mushrooms (namely Cordyceps, Lion’s Mane, Reishi, Shiitake, Turkey Tail and King Trumpet) mixed in with MCT oil (medium chain triglycerides, essentially a healthy fat), each providing vital health benefits while incorporating itself in consumers’ routines, to best results.
The genesis of the company and its product, as Andree Werner explains, was a happy meeting between need and functionality. “My co-founder (Rashad Hossein) and I started out last year, while he worked as a brand manager for big coffee brands at Kraft Heinz. I was fresh out of grad school but had always had this passion for superfoods while I grew up in Montana. There’s a lot of locally grown food out here. And we, as young professionals and students were always hyped up on coffee and caffeine.”
“Over time, we started realizing how it was detrimentally affecting our moods, even though it gave us short spurts of energy, which often led to crashes. We had this brain fog situation, so we started experimenting on something better and we were exploring around all sorts of superfoods when we came across medicinal mushrooms, “offers Werner. “Some can be eaten whole but generally they come in supplement and powder form. We started mixing them into our coffee and realized how much better we felt. We quickly realized we could make a business out of this and could offer this as a product to others. We came up with our formula of six medicinal mushrooms, mixed into coffee with MCT oil. That’s essentially what we’re selling now as our keto-friendly Ryse Superfoods mushroom coffee.”
When prompted about potential sales in cross-border markets, Werner confirms that all options are open, regarding potential distribution, brand reach and availability in office settings, where such a lack of ill effects and a surge of healthy boost would be a perfect marriage for the corporate workplace or social setting.
“Absolutely, that’s a really good idea! Once the COVID pandemic clears, we really intend to get our foothold into the workplaces and gyms, I think providing a healthy alternative to most office settings would be a great avenue for us. That’s a little bit on hold right now but I think that community centers and any other type of place where people come together over coffee and tea would be ideal.”
When prompted to comment on the challenge of reaching out to the public in the time of Covid-19, Werner exclaimed how important it is to utilize social media outlets to maximize product exposure, and to bank on current trends to get noticed, especially when dealing with the cost of shipping out of the U.S. to markets like Canada.
“We’ve actually had a ton of interest from Canada, so we’re figuring that market out. For example, we’re still trying to figure out exactly why a lot of people have given us feedback that keto-friendly products, for example, aren’t as readily available in Canada. There’s increasing interest feeding back to us, so having something like a mushroom keto coffee is really interesting to people in Canada.”
She adds that “we do offer shipping to Canada. The only problem is that some of the shipping costs are a lot higher, and the shipping times have been a little bit more delayed due to the pandemic. We’ve had a few issues with our Canadian shipping but absolutely intend to offer it to Canadians. We’ve actually had some micro influencers (out of Canada) on Instagram, who’ve been so supportive of us; we’ve been able to get our product to them and they’ve shared the news far and wide.”
As they favour and embrace the product-friendly modernized media available to them, Werner and Hossain are confident that their clientele can only grow via the online portal, while they work away potential distribution of their products in larger, corporate settings. “We’re available and willing to connect with our coffee drinkers, at www.rysesuperfoods.com, and we’re also very active on Instagram. We’re a small operation and we really like to interact personally with our customers. That’s really important to us.”
When faced with the reality of the global “new normal”, it’s hard not to consider every advantage that smarter consumer products can offer us, and Ryze Superfoods knows this as their mission statement. “I think that, right now with (homeostatic) immunity being such an important part of our households, we believe that people do want it, and do want to find these aids or solutions to boosting their immune systems in natural ways. So it’s interesting to see how times and circumstances have aligned.”
Dominic Messier writes about food trends, entertainment and pop-culture in both English and French. His work has appeared in The Sherbrooke Record, Bell Media and currently on Skipitorloveit.com