Energy drinks have always dominated the functional beverage market, but as consumers seek out healthier and safer options, yerba maté has emerged as a major contender. Yerba maté is a caffeinated tea made from the leaves of a plant found in the South American rainforest that provides a natural source of energy and antioxidants.
The drink has been widely consumed across South America for hundreds of years and although it was introduced in 1900 in the US, the drink has only gained popularity in recent years. Now, the North America yerba mate market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 4.8% from 2022 to 2029.
In 2021, the Coca-Cola Company’s Honest Tea launched a line of yerba maté drinks, while Perrier created its “Energize” line featuring yerba maté. The industry has also seen California-based organic beverage company Guayaki Yerba Maté take off. Guayaki brought on former Red Bull CEO Stefan Kozak to lead the company in 2021 and generated over $100 million in sales that same year. The company, which has already garnered over $100 million in previous venture-backed funding rounds, just raised $75 million in a funding round as per a January SEC filing offering $143 million in shares, with about $68 million remaining.
Guayakí is not the only player in the yerba maté space. GURU Organic Energy, which was founded back in 1999, is a Canadian organic energy drink brand that includes yerba maté. GURU just reported its full-year 2022 financial results, ending the year in a strong financial position with over $56 million in cash and cash equivalents, short-term investments and unused credit facilities, reflecting prudent balance sheet management.
Another company that is making waves in the space is Yerbaé Brands Corp. (TSXV:YERB.U). Yerbaé, which was founded in 2017 by former Monster Energy executive Todd Gibson and Karrie Gibson, a Recycling industry pioneer, just entered the public markets on February 13 following a business combination with Kona Bay Technologies. The company has garnered over $23 million in lifetime sales through 6/30/2022. The company just announced that its January 2023 sales grew by 227% compared to January 2022.
Yerbaé Brands has continued to increase its brand presence and is now available at 10,000 locations including major retailers like Costco, Sprouts Farmers Market, Safeway, Acme, Albertsons, Shaws, Jewel, Stop N Shop, Winco, and many more.
The company has also made several significant marketing investments to reach new consumers and retain existing customers, introducing the brand to CrossFit community and signing Annie Thorisdottir, the first woman to win the CrossFit Games twice and retaining NYSE-listed Vistar as its distribution partner and investor. Vistar is an industry leading vending and pantry service provider which has used its relations with major pantry outlets in office retailers, schools, and vending to introduce Yerbaé products to consumers in the workplace.
Yerbaé Brands has been recognized for its commitment to sustainability, which aligns with the values of many consumers, who are increasingly seeking out environmentally friendly products. The company uses 100% recyclable aluminum cans and has donated over 100,000 meals to Feeding America and supports individuals with intellectual & physical disabilities in fitness.