The surging nutritional drink seller MonaVie is launching an energy drink today in Salt Lake City in front of an expected 3,600 distributors to join what it says is a highly profitable product line.
Just 4½ years after the company got its own start, the South Jordan enterprise is adding the energy drink to products that feature juices made with the açai berry found in the Amazon jungle of Brazil that it touts for its nutritional value.
The privately held company, which claims sales approached $1 billion in 2008, is anticipating a big turnout at its regional meeting at the Salt Palace Convention Center, where the MonaVie EMV energy drink will be launched.
"It's 80 percent juice. It goes up against the energy drinks in the market, your Red Bulls, Monster and Rockstar," Chairman and CEO Dallin Larsen said Friday.
The new energy drink joins the company's three other major products, all made around the açai berry with a blend of 18 other juices.
The company touts those products as supplements to a person's regular diet in which one serving delivers the nutritional value of 11 to 13 fruits and vegetables.
The "super regional" conference comes as MonaVie is experiencing rapid growth and is poised to expand internationally.
The company started in 2003 promoting weight-loss products, which wasn't terribly successful, said Larsen. But it was introduced to the açai berry and began selling the fruit drink in 2005.
Since then, MonaVie has accumulated $1.5 billion in sales, with nearly $1 billion of that coming in 2008, he said.
"It's been quite a ride," said Larsen, one of the company's founders, along with brother Randy and Henry Marsh, the former four-time U.S. Olympic track and field athlete.
Because the company is privately held, the figures can't be independently verified. But XanGo, a similar privately held company with a nutritional fruit drink made with the mangosteen fruit of Southeast Asia, started in 2002 and officers recently said its annual sales also were approaching $1 billion.
MonaVie gets about 87 percent of its sales from within the United States. The company also operates in eight other countries, with sales primarily in Canada, Japan and Australia. By the end of the year, MonaVie plans to sell products in 14 countries.
MonaVie is a direct-selling operation, also known as a multilevel marketer in which independent distributors can earn commissions from sales from others they have recruited into the company. Rewards that grow as more and more people join.
Larsen, however, estimated that 90 percent of MonaVie sales come from people who join in order to get the drink for themselves at wholesale prices.
MonaVie also has programs to help preserve the Brazilian forests from which its fruits come and to help children in a slum near Rio de Janeiro.
MonaVie's new energy drink sells wholesale for:
$68 for 1 case (24, 8.4-ounce cans)
$198 for 3 cases (72 cans)
$375 for 6 cases (144 cans)