America, the cultural melting pot of the world, with its food habits deriving its origins from all across the globe, undoubtedly has the most bitter-phobic food culture in the world. As new research pops up about benefits of bitter tasting food in digestive process, a new health beverage startup Bitter Love, founded by four women with decades of marketing experience, wants to fix American palate experience with bitter beverages. Bitter Love was launched by Karen Farrell, 42, in November 2017 along with three other partners to revolutionize how America treats bitter. Farrell has two decades of experience in sales, marketing.
The idea was born out of need to change American palate experience, bitter being a very functional taste, it aids in digestive process. Bitter foods reduce appetite, while stimulating the liver to produce bile which is integral for digestion. The tendency of bitter to reduce appetite can be consciously exploited by eating bitter before meals to control hunger and appetite. A healthy bitter-sweet ratio is important for optimal liver function but as American food choices tilted towards the latter this ratio was abominably disturbed which has made growing number of Americans prone to Type 2 diabetes, obesity and fatty liver disease. Farrell, who is also an herbalist, finds American food missing with an essential bitter taste. In Europe traditionally a bitter beverage was served before meals.
The company has launched three beverages, all bitter and non-alcoholic with fruit juice, digestive herbs, and sparkling water. They are available in three flavors, Toasted Pineapple, Tart Cherry and Peppered Grapefruit. The herbs used are Ashwagandha, ginger, gentian, artichoke and wormwood. While gentian root is described by Farrell as ‘Classic Bitter’, Ashwagandha is an Indian herb known for improving the stress-adapting ability of the body. Artichoke helps reduce cholesterol levels while ginger provides a spicy flavor to the juice. Wormwood is a digestive bitter.
Farrell believes these herbs are all that is lacking in standard American diet, to digest your mac and cheese the beverage is a must. When asked about whether the beverages are only for those with digestive issues, she nods disapprovingly. According to her, it’s for everyone, we can do a lot with a healthy digestion every day. Co-founder Taja Dockendorf sees it as a great mid-day thirst quenching drink which enlivens the taste buds and rejuvenates the palate.
While the startup is entirely self-funded it has only one full time employee who also owns an equity share in the company, Alexandra Noyes. Noyes is a psychology graduate while Leah Gootkind has degree in nutrition. All four of them share the same vision of making people drink these beverages than soda by making healthy alternatives accessible to everyone. It’s already available in 135 retailers in New England and has also launched its products on amazon. Launching the product in New York’s Faraway Market in January is a next big milestone.
The ravishing women with a mission are hoping to break into Whole Foods, where they are waiting for Amazon’s final approval. Having completed only a year in its journey since founding, the company is already cash positive.