According to Global Market Insights Inc., the worldwide bone broth market will be worth more than $2.8 billion by 2024. Riding on the coattails of this growing food trend, one local company has figured out a way to offer on-the-go dehydrated bone broth options that it claims are both nutritious and conveniently portable.
Founded by Lawrence Holland, CEO, LonoLife Inc. was established in 2015 and is headquartered in Oceanside. It creates dry, high-protein bone broth, and other healthy and convenient offerings like collagen, available in single-use stick packs or multi-use tubes. With eight employees, the company’s revenue reached $4 million in 2018 and is expected to be around $10 million this year, according to Holland.
“LonoLife was founded on the belief that a good tasting, high protein product can be convenient, which is why we developed powdered bone broth,” said Holland, adding that the bootstrapped company was started with loans from family and friends. The company later also got a loan from Amazon Lending which helped the company scale. “The market demand for functional foods, and bone broth, specifically, has been huge. It continues to expand today.”
Lan Thai, chef and owner of Enclave Adventurous Superfood LLC, in Scripps Ranch, agrees. “The bone broth industry is booming because an astounding growing amount of nutritionists and doctors are highly recommending it for nutrient density, anti-inflammatory properties, joint-health and overall gut health, she said. Also, the people themselves are feeling a direct nutritional benefit of it which creates higher demand.”
The idea for LonoLife’s powdered bone broth came from the company’s head of research and development department, who has over 40 years of experience in the food and beverage industry and had been tinkering with a dry broth recipe for years, said Holland.
After perfecting that recipe, LonoLife began making the product in its Oceanside facility, and then transferred production over to a location in the Midwest when it began to scale which also made for easier distribution, he said.
In January 2016, LonoLife launched on Amazon, Holland said. But it was while presenting at the “Fancy Food Show” in San Francisco in 2016 that LonoLife got its big break, he said. Despite having a very simplistic booth space, with just a product on a card table, Holland said a VP from Albertsons supermarkets told him it was “one of the most innovative products he’d ever seen,” and helped the product launch in Albertsons stores nationwide a few months later. The company has seen double-digit growth every year since, according to Holland. Today, LonoLife’s bone broth is distributed in major retail stores nationally.
Holland said LonoLife manufactures about “a full truck load” of dry broth per month, and “sells nearly a million servings” per month. “Our herbs and spices come from over a dozen countries on five continents,” he said. “Our animal-based ingredients are sourced primarily (from) the United States and South America.”
Holland credits LonoLife’s success to its commitment to sourcing only the highest quality ingredients in order to produce the best-tasting bone broth on the market, supplemented by the product’s portability, he said. Yet, despite scaling since launching, he admits he’s hit some roadblocks in growing the brand.
“The hardest part about bootstrapping is knowing that everything takes twice as long as you think, costs three times as much as you estimate, and there’s no one there to bail you out if you overcommit,” he said. “It’s hard to balance your excitement for growth with the needs and constraints of the business.”
Difficulties aside, Holland keeps pushing LonoLife along. The company recently launched its on-the-go Keto Chicken Broth product and he said he’s got dozens of new items that he is working to bring to market in the near future. Looking ahead, Holland plans to focus on expanding LonoLife’s distribution channels and double the number of stores it that carry the product.