The current top-selling sports drink at all Santa Monica Whole Foods happens to be a product made by Berri Pro, a company based right here in the City.

According to Berri Pro’s president, Jerome Tse, their sports drink is the world’s first USDA certified organic healthy fitness beverage.

“With super-functionality ingredients in manuka honey and electrolytes and energy sourced from herbs and coconut water, health conscious athletes are now equipped with the most premium fitness beverage ever made,” Tse said.

Whole Foods first became interested in the product two years ago, when Alfonzo Deleon, a grocery educator and buyer at their store on Montana Avenue, was approached by Tse in the store one day.

“Jerome told me about his company and I’d never heard of anything like that,” Deleon said. “It was mainly the coconut water [in Berri Pro] that interested me. Coconut water, I said, is a big hit at our store. Kinda caught my attention when I heard about that.”

Berri Pro officially launched in July and Tse believes their immense popularity in the City’s Whole Foods since then is due to their ability to offer such a unique product.

“So we’re the only plant-based organic fitness beverage in the world,” Tse said. “And a lot of people live and breathe, people like myself, plant-based food. A lot of people are passionate about fitness and I saw a lot of people who were like me here. So I think Santa Monica ended up being a great place for us to start our operations.”

Deleon agreed that the high sales of Berri Pro in the Santa Monica Whole Foods stores is do to the culture of fitness and health in the City, but that Tse’s company also puts a lot of effort into marketing in their stores.

“When you look at the products that come and go, it’s because of bad marketing, or bad demos. People don’t come in and demo enough. But Jerome has a demo at least once a week. And I think that’s one of the big reasons too.”

Tse, a former rower in high school and a cancer survivor, came up with the idea for Berri Pro after defeating the disease in 2010.

“I saw an opportunity there,” Tse said. “There was no healthy sports drink on the market that wasn’t made of GMO ingredients. And after I became a cancer survivor, I switched to a plant-based organic diet. And I played sports. So I decided to create the world’s first organic plant-based fitness beverage.”

Tse said the global mission of Berri Pro is to, “unveil the truth about sports drinks whose marketing prowess deceives consumers about their ingredients.” The company’s long-term vision is to make their products, “accessible to as many children and families as possible and to become a leader in the movement towards requiring GMO labeling in the United States.”

Though Berri Pro’s headquarters are in Santa Monica, the drinks are made in Northern California in an organic-certified commercial kitchen in the Bay Area, and shipped to Santa Monica.

Deleon will be moving to a new Whole Foods in Downtown LA, soon and hopes to take Tse’s product with him.

Tse’s looking forward to that opportunity and is currently at work launching some new Berri Pro flavors.

To learn more about Berri Pro go to www.berripro.com.

jennifer@smdp.com

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