You know Ryan Tedder as the lead singer of One Republic and for penning hits with the likes of Taylor Swift, Adele and Beyoncé. He also happens to be quite the savvy investor and his most important venture happens to be a brand he founded himself: Mad Tasty. As Mad Tasty expands its reach from hemp-infused beverage to full-fledged lifestyle brand, Tedder opened up all about his recent venture.
First things first: the name. How did you come up with the name “Mad Tasty?”
I wanted every consumer to glance at the can and know that “this beverage tastes amazing,” especially in a category that doesn’t have the best reputation regarding taste profiles.
With that said, we knew we had a feat in front of us when I chose to work with an ingredient that has a bitter taste profile and is delivered in an oil format, and I didn’t want to add sugar or sweeteners to mask the flavor or counterbalance the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD.
As we continued to iterate the CBD sparkling water formulation, what we kept coming back to was that the drink actually tasted good. So many other hemp-based products have that bitter aftertaste, but we use a unique water-soluble technology that allows us to have a great taste, give consumers an equal amount of CBD from first sip to last and still maintain a low-calorie count at 5-15 calories.
And what about the concept itself— Why is Mad Tasty more efficient than the likes of sports beverages, energy drinks, tea, coffee, etc.
One main difference between the beverages mentioned and Mad Tasty is that Mad Tasty isn’t a caffeinated beverage. We are 100% in the good-for-you wellness category. CBD has been proven to aid in muscle and nerve recovery and improve brain function and mood because of its high anti-inflammatory properties.
The concept came from a personal desire to consume a healthy amount of CBD daily without a medicinal experience. Everything in the marketplace in this category fell below my expectations related to taste, and we were determined to remedy that. Also, I wanted to make sure Mad Tasty delivered CBD in the most efficient way, so we partnered with SoRSE Technologies, which converts our premium CBD from broad spectrum hemp oil to a micro particle water-soluble solution that absorbs into the body faster.
In terms of sports and athletics relevance, the biggest enemy of any athlete is inflammation. Because Mad Tasty contains CBD, which has anti-inflammatory properties, the benefits for any athlete or active person in general are baked into the simple and clean formulation.
Can you tell us more about hemp? What makes it the ideal ingredient for keeping up your creative energy?
As I mentioned, CBD is my go-to for leveling me out physically and mentally. I love coffee, I probably drink too much of it, and the calming effects of Mad Tasty help dampen the caffeine-jitters and level my mood.
More scientifically, hemp, which contains hundreds of cannabinoids, feeds our endocannabinoid system, whose main job is to ward off stress and fight inflammation. To say it simply, when I have less stress mentally and physically, I can get into my creative zone a lot faster and stay in that zone for a longer period of time.
Los Angeles was one of your first markets you decided to expand your brand into. Why?
The brand was founded and inspired by Los Angeles. L.A. is unique in that our city is an early adopter of health and wellness trends, attracts all types of creatives, including myself, and brings together all types of cultures and ethnicities. Myself and our core partners, including First Bev Ventures, are all based here, so when it came time to launch it made sense to do so in our own backyard. We debuted at a lot of the peripheral parties and events around Coachella in 2019. And from there we just got a groundswell of interest – people posting about it and asking where they could buy it. And shortly thereafter, a lot of tastemaker cafes and wellness retailers around L.A. began carrying us.
Can you tell us howMad Tasty became a successful brand in just a few years?
When I decided to start Mad Tasty, I wanted to make sure that I had the right team on board. I am an investor and have seen what the right players can do for a brand. I made sure to go to beverage experts (First Bev Ventures, hemp technology experts, SoRSE Technologies) and culture makers (my team and network at Interscope Records) to build a strong foundation for a brand entering a growing category. In addition, I have recently taken on a select group of strategic investors that include high-profile names across music, entertainment and business.
Last but not least, I made sure to incorporate a 1-for-1 mission into the brand DNA. We have a foundational partnership with Drop4Drop, a non-profit organization that believes everyone, everywhere has the right to clean water.
With the right team, I was able to deliver a premium product in a new and confusing category, which goes a long way with consumers. From inception, we have relied on word of mouth, informative content and amazing and supportive retail partners who champion our brand within their own walls. In addition, we are one of the only CBD beverages in America to have nation-wide distribution through Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, which gives us a leg up against our competition.
We have gained traction with consumers by partnering with like-minded brands that are mission-driven, have a fun twist on health and wellness products or are just fashionable. We have been instrumental in joint wellness campaigns featuring #DryJanuary, #SoberOctober and #MentalHealthAwareness.
You recently launched the Wellness Boost. Why was this the logical next step after the sparkling water?
Health & wellness is top of mind for almost everyone these days, and it should be! Especially during the pandemic, people were looking for convenient healthy products to easily incorporate into their daily routines.
We spent over a year developing this product. For me, I wanted the next Mad Tasty extension to be a boost because I simply did not see it whatsoever anywhere in the category. I was actually shocked that there were no CBD wellness shots that were focused on boosting immunity and overall vitamin health. I think the biggest hurdle in this category is inherently the flavor. Vitamins, turmeric, ginger…these types of ingredients are very difficult to combine and achieve anything close to delicious. Most wellness shots that I’ve taken have so much ginger or acidity in them that they cause a physical reaction and give me heartburn. I wanted to remedy that and create something that had all the efficacy & health benefits of CBD and none of the bitter overwhelming flavor or burning experience.
I’m happy to say that our consumers, wellness retailers such as The Vitamin Shoppe, and wellness brands such as alo yoga, have really embraced the full product line.
What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned about health and wellness during your Mad Tasty journey?
Read ingredients and know what they do to your body!
Specifically in the CBD space, there are so many different products and brands on the market with different levels of cannabinoids and different formulations that it creates a lot of confusion for consumers. I really wanted to ensure that people could trust Mad Tasty products by making it as easy as possible to understand our ingredient panel and make sure we were transparent with our cannabinoid level results. There are a lot of different formulations in the market and a lot of brands cut corners. I learned the importance of taking the time and putting in the energy to ensure that my products were created the right way, especially since I was creating them to help my own health and wellness.
What else is essential to know about Mad Tasty?
The thing I’m most passionate about with Mad Tasty is our giveback to charity. For every ounce we sell, we donate the equivalent amount of clean drinking water to people and places in need. We do this through an amazing nonprofit called Drop4Drop that goes around the world and builds clean water wells for communities in need. There are over 600 million people around the world that don’t have access to clean drinking water. Additionally, 1.5 million children die each year because of water related diseases. I’m really proud of the work we’ve done so far, but there is so much more that we aspire to do.
CBD referenced in this article is CBD derived from broad-spectrum hemp.
Photography by: Courtesy Mad Tasty/Ryan Tedder