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6 mins read

Black Owned Health products brand receives investment from Magic Johnson

Naturade partners Kareem Cook and Claude Tellis, want to bring the plant-based revolution to those who need these products the most—the urban communities and food deserts that are underserved by the natural products industry. Now, Naturade is announcing the next big step in making that a reality: They have partnered with Earvin “Magic” Johnson Jr. and Grant Hill—NBA superstars and businessmen who will help amplify Naturade’s message and mission.

black owned natural products

“Magic Johnson has been tracking us and watching what we’ve been doing for a few years and he decided to become a significant equity owner,” says Cook.

Explaining how this fits with the company’s goals—above and beyond the bottom line—Cook says, “There are 86 million prediabetics in the country according to the American Diabetes Association. The health supplement industry is a $13 billion industry and growing. Prediabetic numbers are growing as well. How can those two things exist at the same time—how can that paradox exist?”

The problem, Cook notes, is that companies in the natural space aren’t targeting the consumers who need the products the most. “It’s because they don’t think that people who are less mindful of health will buy their products. The goal for most companies is to make money; they want to sell to the Whole Foods of the world—they want to sell to the premium stores where they can sell a product for a high price and people will buy it. And that’s a great business model but it doesn’t solve the problem.”

Cooks shares, “I grew up in the Bronx. Why should people in my family have to get on a bus and a train to get to a Whole Foods to buy these products when they should be able to go downstairs to a local store and have the same access? We’re talking about access. Magic understands that from his own business dealings. He proved people wrong so many times before, and this is an opportunity to prove people wrong again, and to make a successful business doing it.”

Speaking about the partnership, Magic Johnson said, “I’ve followed Kareem and Claude’s journey for some time and their mission aligns well with my own passion to live a healthy lifestyle. I strongly believe in exercise and being intentional about what I eat and drink. Therefore joining Naturade was an easy decision. Together we are proving that if you offer people healthy products that taste good and can positively impact their well-being, they will make the changes necessary to improve their lives.”

Also pointing to the big picture, Cook says, “You’re spreading health and education. For instance the silent killer in our community is diabetes and that’s because it’s cultural to eat a lot of products that have sugar in them. But people don’t realize there’s sugar in things like rice and bread. So the educational component is part of this business—not only just selling products that help people get healthy and lose weight…but also educating people on why they should make changes.”

On the education front, Naturade, which has been in business since 1926 and was purchased by Cook and Tellis in 2012, has a lot happening. “We go to Expo West and all the same places everyone else goes to, but we also go to the Essence Festival, where there’s 500,000 women of color, who fit right in the middle of the community that need the products and education the most. But out of the 30 to 40 companies similar to us that are at Expo West, we’re the only ones at the Essence Festival. And it’s critical that we do that—that we not only let people see us and know that we exist, but that we also educate people on what’s happening.”

Then there’s the star power: “Magic Johnson and Grant Hill and other people will be coming on board who are able to amplify the message because they have such strong followings, and they have people look up to them and respect their decisions in the way they’re living their lives.”

These educational efforts, Cook adds, show more people that they can make a positive change by cutting sugar and adding more plants into their diet. “People are aspirational…and there are some things that they feel are too far out of reach, but this is not one of them. It’s aspirational but achievable. And we’re showing that there are people that you relate to that are doing this already.”

Source: Whole Foods Magazine


Related: Black Owned Nutritional Supplements Company Vows To Help Black Communities Live Healthier

3 mins read

Black Owned Nutritional Supplements Company Vows To Help Black Communities Live Healthier

Naturade is a manufacturer and marketer of nutritional supplements.  The company was originally founded in 1926, and was acquired by Kareem Cook and Claude Tellis in 2012.

nutritional supplements
Kareem Cook and Claude Tellis

The duo first meet in college at Duke University and later reconnected after attending business school. They made the move to California together and began spreading healthy ideas across the area.

Growing up on the east coast both Kareem and Claude believed that everyone on the west coast, and California in particular were extremely healthy and fit.

They were shocked to see first hand the rate of childhood obesity in the Los Angeles area. They decided to help reduce that number. This is where their journey to spread health and wellness began.

They started a healthy vending company in LA. and were responsible for getting junk food banned in LA schools. They even convinced the whole the state of California to ban junk foods.

nutritional supplements

The pair put the first healthy vending machine in LA and acquired the contract for all of the public schools in Los Angeles.

While banning junk foods in schools across LA is a large accomplishment the men were unsatisfied. They wanted a larger platform to help African Americans prevent common illnesses that plague the community.Both Kareem and Claude’s families and many African Americans across the country suffer from hypertension and diabetes, illnesses that can be prevented or managed largely based on diet.

This passion lead them to develop a business plan to prevent illnesses like diabetes. Their plan involved the purchase of Naturade.

Once Kareem and Claude purchased Naturade, their efforts to educate the African American community on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle began in earnest.

They were introduced to people who shared similar viewpoints, including John Lewis. Kareem and Claude paired up with John Lewis to create VeganSmart, a plant based protein powder.

John Lewis, Vegan Smart

The pair has made strides to spread health and wellness among the African American community, as well as americans across the country.

Kareem Cook and Claude Tellis plan to continue sharing their passion for living healthy plant-based lifestyles with the African American community.


Learn more about Naturade on their website.