Startup Spotlight

Q&A: Alkaline Labs on prioritizing results over profit in a daily scoop

By Asia Sherman

- Last updated on GMT

© Image courtesy of Alkaline Labs
© Image courtesy of Alkaline Labs

Related tags greens Powder plant-based Startup company

Scarlett Knight, an Australian nutritionist in training and holistic health coach, says that it was the lack of transparency and quality in the supplement industry that motivated her to launch Alkaline Labs.

The idea came to her two years ago as a 21-year-old in her first year studying complementary medicine at Endeavour College of Natural Health in Australia. The next step was to partner with a team of naturopathic and functional medicine advisors before setting up her own manufacturing operation in New Jersey, all self-funded through bootstrapping. ​Her goal: to “shake up” the industry and redefine how people nourish their bodies as part of their morning routine as she continues her nutrition studies.

The startup introduced its flagship product A.M Greens last month, sold direct-to-consumer online with a marketing approach that is primarily influencer and education driven. The blend of greens, herbs, adaptogens and minerals—priced at $60.99 per 30 serving jar—enters a global greens powder market that is expected to grow​ from $279.32 million in 2023 to $477.04 million in 2030 at a CAGR of 7.9%. 

NIU:  What went into bringing your first product to market?

SK: Bringing A.M Greens to market was a journey that required extensive research and development. In total, from ideation to launch, it took two years to perfect every aspect of the formulation. The two biggest foci for me in the formulation process were taste and results. I wanted A.M Greens to taste good, something that was easy and enjoyable to drink without the ambiguity of "natural flavors”. Every ingredient is listed on our label. We also wanted to guarantee that A.M Greens would deliver the results we intended, this meant ensuring the dosage of each ingredient was perfect. 

Finding the right advisory team of doctors was a crucial step in ensuring the quality and effectiveness of our products. It was essential for me to have experts in the field who were actively working with patients and tuned in to the needs of everyday people. We are fortunate to have individuals like Meaghan Datema, ND, and Tim Jackson, PhD, both advisors and team members at Alkaline Labs.

NIU: Why did you decide to launch in the U.S. market instead of Australia?  

I saw a larger need for a transparent and high quality supplement company in the U.S., the same need is prevalent in Australia, however, the U.S. has a higher rate of health issues. The U.S. also provides better access to high-class experts in the field and naturopathic doctors. A.M Greens is also available for shipping to Australia and the UK.

Scarlett Knight, Founder at Alkaline Labs
Scarlett Knight, Founder at Alkaline Labs © Image courtesy of Alkaline Labs

NIU: What ingredients are in the A.M Greens formula and why were these chosen?

SK: A.M Greens is comprised of 19 powerhouse ingredients, each individually selected for their unique benefits. These include L-glutamine, organic spirulina, organic chlorella, organic milk thistle, organic peppermint leaf, organic broccoli sprouts, organic turmeric root, organic aloe vera, organic camu camu fruit, organic Rhodiola Rosea​ extract, organic stevia leaf extract, organic licorice root, organic lemon balm extract, organic American ginseng extract, organic fennel seed, organic parsley leaf, organic Ceylon cinnamon, organic moringa, magnesium (from magnesium glycinate) and organic inulin (derived from chicory root). 

These ingredients work in synergy to provide gut support, immune support, improved cognitive function, stable blood sugar levels, stress regulation, increased energy without caffeine crashes, and optimal cellular function. The dosages are carefully selected based on credible studies to ensure effectiveness. While A.M. Greens isn't intended as a multivitamin, it covers essential elements like magnesium. We believe everyone’s vitamin supplement needs are unique.

NIU: What is needed for optimal cell functioning and how does the formulation work to deliver better absorption?

SK: Optimal cellular functioning requires a delicate balance of essential micronutrients, including those found in A.M Greens. Ensuring that cells have access to the right nutrients in the right amounts is crucial for their proper functioning and, consequently, overall health and vitality. Optimal mitochondrial function, which is essential for cellular energy production, is also supported by the ingredients in A.M Greens and essential for optimal cell function.

Our formulation is meticulously crafted to optimize the absorption of its ingredients by the body. This is achieved through careful selection of ingredients that work in harmony and complement each other. Additionally, we have paid close attention to the dosage of each ingredient to avoid overwhelming the digestive system.

NIU: Could you share a bit more about the “natural flavors” issue?

SK: The issue with “natural flavors” is rooted in a lack of transparency offered to consumers. Many companies in the supplement industry use the term "natural flavors" to describe the ingredients that create the flavor of their products. However, this term is highly misleading. "Natural flavors" can encompass over 200 different ingredients, some of which may undergo extensive processing and chemical alteration. The use of “natural flavors” on product labels can be problematic for consumers with intolerances, specific dietary restrictions, or allergies, as they have no clear insight into what they are actually consuming. At Alkaline Labs, we are committed to full transparency. We list every ingredient on our label, allowing our customers to make informed decisions about their health.

NIU: Why did you choose A.M Greens as your first product and how does it differentiate itself from other traditional greens powders on the market?  

SK: A.M Greens was our first product because we wanted to make a transformational impact on our customers' health and daily routines. We aimed to simplify supplement regimens and budgets. A.M Greens combines multiple supplements into one delicious, easy-to-take drink, designed to be part of your morning routine you look forward to. It provides gut support, immune support, adaptogens, and calming elements in one daily scoop. Unlike many greens powders with ineffective dosages, A.M Greens is formulated for real results you can feel. 

For me, owning a supplement brand is about helping people improve their health and feel their best, first and foremost. This means offering high-quality products with clinically effective dosages. To ensure this, we prioritize third-party testing and source organic, non-GMO, and glyphosate residue-free ingredients. 

NIU: What are the “results you can feel”?

SK: The "results you can feel" refers to the noticeable improvements in your health. By incorporating A.M Greens into your daily routine, you can experience reduced bloating and a lighter feeling, an energy boost without the caffeine crash, improved cognitive function resulting in greater mental clarity, feeling calmer, and having a better stress response. For us it's about providing our customers with products that make a noticeable, positive impact on their daily lives.

NIU: Who are Alkaline Labs’ target consumers? What should they know about what is needed to transform daily healthy routines? 

SK: A.M Greens is designed for both men and women. We believe that improving health should be simple, and sometimes it's not about adding more to your routine but about what needs to be removed. We’re removing unnecessary fillers and unclear "natural flavors" from your routine. A.M Greens aims to bring transparency and replace the need for multiple supplements, making prioritizing health a seamless part of daily routine.

NIU: Could you tell us about your packaging? 

SK: Our choice of sustainable packaging is rooted in concern for the integrity of our product and the health of our consumers. Glass packaging was chosen over plastic to prevent the leaching of toxins into our greens. Our supplements are often stored in the kitchen, which can have higher temperatures, making glass a safer option.

NIU:  What is next for Alkaline Labs? Do you have new products and/or initiatives in the pipeline?  

SK: While we have exciting new products in the works, our main focus for now is A.M Greens, our flagship product.

NIU:  What changes would you like to see in the supplement industry? 

SK: We'd love to see a shift in the industry towards prioritizing quality and results over profit.

NIU:  What advice would you offer other startups in this space? 

SK: Focus on quality and results. Create the best possible product, and the rest will follow.

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