A former Johnson & Johnson employee starts a new kind of healthy drink company right here in Hermosa Beach.
In 2013 Dan Morad was in the midst of preparing for his first marathon: the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. “I started researching the various nutrition for the event,” he says.
Morad, now 28, has a background in biomedical engineering (he worked for Johnson & Johnson for roughly six years), and he actively sought a light, healthy beverage that could help him delay muscle fatigue. He wasn’t able to find anything that fit his needs.
“It became apparent to me that th`ere was a void in the marketplace. I took that to heart,” he says.
Morad partnered with a team of nutrition scientists, and after several months of research they developed Invigorade, which he calls an “endurance drink” rather than an “energy drink”—noting that the appeal of Invigorade is that, unlike sports drinks such as Gatorade, it features the amino acid beta-alanine. Studies have shown that the amino acid may help reduce muscle fatigue.
“It delays that burning sensation in your muscles, allowing you to go longer,” Morad says.
He adds that most sports drinks are “reactive,” in that they’re designed to boost your energy via carbohydrates and electrolytes after you’ve worked out. “I wanted to create something that’s proactive, something that could help you to delay muscular fatigue,” he notes.
While his beverage features carbohydrates and electrolytes that are also found in sports drinks, the beta-alanine adds a proactive element that he believes is unique. “As you’re going, it’s buffering—allowing you to go longer,” he says.
Furthermore, Morad says that Invigorade is lighter and healthier than other sports drinks. He notes that when an athlete is working out, their senses are heightened, and overly sugary sports drinks can come across as being too sweet.
“We have half the sugar than they do,” he says, adding that Invigorade only uses natural ingredients. “Nothing artificial—no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners. We use sea salt and cane sugar. It’s a healthier alternative to the high-sugar products on the market,” he says.
A Hermosa Beach resident, Morad believes that his product will prove beneficial to local endurance athletes-from marathoners to cyclists and triathletes. “Our bread-and-butter is Southern California, from Santa Barbara to San Diego,” he says, adding that California is a true mecca for endurance sports. The drink is currently available at Fresh & Easy and Bristol Farms.
Morad adds that while endurance athletes are his target market, parents also tend to buy the drink as well. “They love the functionality of it,” he says. “We get a lot of parents who buy it as a healthier alternative to Gatorade and Powerade.”
Morad is hopeful that Invigorade will continue to grow commercially and that the brand will become more involved in the local sports scenes. And concerning that first marathon, he ended up finishing after a little less than four hours. “I beat my goal,” he says proudly.