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Recess scored a hit with its millennial pastel-hued CBD seltzer. Now its CEO is challenging PepsiCo with a move into magnesium-infused ‘relaxation beverages.’


Ben Witte Recess

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Recess got its start making CBD beverages meant to help its buyers relax. Now it’s betting that its future will rely in part on another calming ingredient.

The beverage brand is launching Recess Mood on Tuesday, a drink that, like the original version, aims to reduce stress and put the drinker at ease. The new beverage, which comes in canned and powdered forms, will use some of the same flavors from the original Recess line.

But there’s a key difference: Recess Mood’s main ingredient is magnesium, not hemp-derived CBD. Unlike CBD, magnesium targets the brain and has the specific effect of improving your mood, CEO and founder Benjamin Witte told Insider.

“All these products are basically delivering the same effect in different ways,” Witte said. “Consumers look at all of these products that are helping them reduce stress and anxiety.”

Magnesium beverages, supplements, and related products are marketed as over-the-counter options for reducing stress.

Witte said the inspiration for a magnesium-based sparkling water came when he learned about the Clorox-owned brand Calm, which sells magnesium in powder, gummies, and other forms.

“I look at magnesium as almost a secret hidden in plain sight,” he said.

That idea, he added, has been validated by launches at the largest beverage makers. PepsiCo, for instance, introduced Driftwell last year, a relaxation beverage that contains magnesium and the amino acid l-theanine. Danone, meanwhile, launched Evian Plus last month, which contains magnesium and zinc.

All three drinks are what industry experts call “functional beverages,” or drinks that offer some benefit to the buyer other than regular hydration. The market was worth about $129 million in 2019, according to the Business Research Co., and includes everything from Recess’ relaxation beverages to Nestlé’s recently purchased Essentia brand, which ionizes its water in a process it says delivers more effective hydration than regular bottled water.

Magnesium isn’t just a popular ingredient; it doesn’t have the same legal and distribution headaches as CBD.

CBD lacks regulation at the federal level, which effectively bans CBD brands from key national retailers. While several states, including Vermont, Colorado, and California, have passed laws allowing the sale of CBD products, the Food and Drug Administration hasn’t made a call about whether or how the compound should be added to food and beverages.

“The only reason Recess is not in Whole Foods, Duane Reade, and everywhere is because the FDA hasn’t yet released the guidelines for how it can be used in certain classes of products,” namely food and beverage, Witte said. That reality “was absolutely a factor” that led to Mood’s creation, he added. Tuesday’s launch puts Mood on Amazon, and Witte said he was in talks to add it to shelves at other retailers this summer. The original CBD-infused version is sold directly to consumers and through online grocery marketplaces like FreshDirect.

The magnesium in Recess Mood, meanwhile, is “generally recognized as safe” by the FDA, a legal distinction for ingredients that can be added to food and drinks. But the connection between magnesium and reduced anxiety is more …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

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