Wonderbelly is looking to disrupt the antacid aisle with its clean, talc-free formulas, as it launches at 650-plus Target doors.
This announcement marks the first major retail expansion for the brand, which was founded by brothers Lucas and Noah Kraft. Currently the antacid market, expected to reach more than $8 billion globally by 2027, according to The International Market Analysis Research and Consulting Group, is dominated by several heritage brands.
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The genesis for the brand was borne out of necessity. Lucas Kraft had dealt with an eating disorder growing up — while he recovered in his mid-20s, the Wonderbelly chief belly officer was left with lingering digestive issues for which he had to take an antacid daily.
In the midst of COVID-19, with health top of mind, antacid recalls and swirling conversations around the dangers of talc-based products, the Kraft brothers set out to develop a healthier alternative that actually tasted good. The formulas are free of talc, dyes, parabens and artificial sweeteners and provide relief for heartburn, acid indigestion, sour stomach and upset stomach.
“I got sort of outraged because, of all things, medicine is something I’m supposed to trust. Inherently it’s supposed to benefit my health. I shouldn’t have to worry that it’s doing the exact opposite,” said Lucas Kraft. “It came down to, ‘Is this something that we could potentially create?’”
Now, three years later, the brand, formulated with the FDA-approved monograph calcium carbonate, is going mass, which according to the brothers was the goal all along.
“We have always looked at ourselves as a retail brand. Medicine takes a certain level of credibility, and we never thought that someone is going to go to a first party website,” Noah Kraft said, the brand’s chief executive officer. “A lot of what we need to do is be disruptive as a brand but also be trusted and so we’ve always looked at ourselves as a company that’s going to lie on shelf next to the leading brand.”
The brand will launch in-store and online at Target with two of its signature flavors — Strawberry Milkshake and Watermelon Mint — and a brand new one, Fruity Cereal, all $11.99.
For the Kraft siblings, flavors are a key differentiator, along with the clean formulas.
“Historically, it hasn’t really been a very enjoyable experience. Flavors are usually like medicinal flavors,” Lucas Kraft told WWD. “You should really enjoy relief…so flavors are something that we’re really promoting.”
Along with candy-like flavors, Wonderbelly’s vibrant, sustainable packaging is another aspect the brand is harnessing to make the experience more enjoyable. To best introduce the brand, Wonderbelly will be featured on side caps and end caps at Target with marketing materials denoting the ingredient story. The brand did not share expected projections, but industry sources estimate the Target launch could generate $3 million to $5 million in retail sales.
In terms of core customers, the brand is looking at “a 24- to 39-year-old female-leaning, based in the city, looking for better for you products” market, according to Noah Kraft. Lucas Kraft seconded this, as Millennials are experiencing gut issues at higher rates than any other generation, according to data from 3Gem. However, the duo expects older generations to eventually hop on the bandwagon, as well.
“People like trying things that are better for them and especially if they see their kids using it, we definitely believe that that will filter up,” said Noah Kraft.
As far as further retail growth, the brothers noted they plan to expand more with Target this year in an effort to dominate the digestive health market.
“Our goal is to own the digestive OTC aisle. It’s not just heartburn meds and so for us, this is really the start of, hopefully, a much bigger push to modernize how people think about medicine,” said Noah Kraft. “We want to focus on the stomach. It’s a big enough market from a business perspective, but also from a brand perspective. It makes it so it’s very clear what we do. It’s called Wonderbelly for a reason.”