This Brooklyn-based company is packing a lot of power into its growing catalog of vegan all-natural products.
Lavva’s yogurt and milk products are made with the Pili nut, a low carb, high fat nut that requires little water to grow, and creates zero waste - the trees’ shells and bark are used for furniture, and the sap is used in cosmetics. Founder and CEO Liz Fisher, who created the company in 2017, discovered Pili nuts while following a strict keto diet during her successful battle with advanced-stage ovarian cancer. “I was looking for high-quality plant fats that weren't macadamia nuts that didn't taste like a nut, and that's what the Pili nut is. It's a beautiful fatty acid profile and it's very neutral,” said Fisher.
Starting with the plant-based yogurt, Lavva expanded its offerings with the first certified Keto vegan yogurt in the category - Molten Lavva. Molten Lavva, according to Fisher, is much higher in fat and Pili nut, and has a different package and cup size. “It’s a different proposition. It's kind of a different eating occasion, that's more of a dessert.” The brand has recently introduced a new plant-based milk and will soon be releasing a plant-based creamer. The Plant Milk’s label will be perforated to make for an easy recycling process.Lavva's functional superfoods are minimally processed and have no added sugar, gums, oils, or natural flavors. The yogurt products are packaged in printed PP-5 cups made by Polytainers, and the new milk products feature “a fresh, beautiful shrink” on the bottle, according to Fisher.
The emerging brand has recently undergone a messaging pivot. The yogurt products were originally marketed as “Dairy Free” but have been re-branded to “Living Cultured Superfoods.” Said Fisher, “Plant-based is starting to become a new descriptor. Non-dairy just sounds so old school. I realized, ‘we're burying the lead here,’ because it's not just not made from cow's milk, it's a heck of a lot more differentiated than that."
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Part of the brand’s mission is to take down the wall between the food industry and food-as-medicine. Fisher said, “I did a recent podcast with Dr. Scott Gundry. He is a beautifully trained medical doctor and is a very articulate spokesman for food as medicine, especially around gut, microbiome, and immunity…I think that the consumer is more aware of gut health and its role in disease, even obesity itself, and they're not necessarily millennials. People over 50, they want to feel good and stay healthy as long as possible, and they are becoming real activists about what they eat and the quality of their food, and it's hard to get all that without eating fresh.”Fresh food, said Fisher, has taken a bit of a hit during COVID as consumers stockpiled shelf-stable items during the early months of the pandemic. Like many other companies who tried to find new ways of reaching their customers during lockdown, Lavva tried direct-to-consumer and “we had a great couple of months, but then we had trouble just combating the shipping options,” said Fisher. “And with a highly perishable product…we wanted to make sure we had a perfect customer experience, and that wasn't happening. So, we've paused it (direct to consumer shipping) but we're hoping to get it back up again soon."
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For now, the best way to find Lavva product is in retail locations such as Whole Foods, Sprouts, Wegmans, The Fresh Market, Fred Meyer, and natural food stores across the country.