Rumbling into the US: ‘Supershake’ maker Rumble looks to start small, grow big

By Hal Conick

- Last updated on GMT

Canadian brand Rumble will bring its "supershake" across the border into the US market.
Canadian brand Rumble will bring its "supershake" across the border into the US market.

Related tags Grocery store

Rumble, a company that produces an all-natural “supershake” drink, is launching its brand in the US after ramping up business across Canada.

After seeing brand growth across the Great White North, Rumble’s founders​ looked at the US market and believed it was time to “establish our footprint across the border,”​ co-founder James McQueen told BeverageDaily.

The inspiration and idea for Rumble came from co-founder Paul Underhill, who produced the first concept in his own kitchen. Underhill was looking for extra nutrition to keep him energized prior to a 2011 double-lung transplant surgery and recovery. He visited a local shop owner to see if there was anything similar on the market, found out there wasn’t, and decided to take the next step into production.

Rumble’s drink features 3,000mg of omega-3s, 20g of protein and 7-8g of fiber per bottle. The shake is gluten-free, soy-free and 99.8% lactose free; and it contains extracts of ingredients such as kale, spinach and cherries. Rumble has also formulated a 2:1 proportion of omega-3 to omega-6.

“When we started Rumble, our initial customers were mostly athletes and health-conscious individuals,” ​Underhill said. “The majority of our customers today are a direct reflection of current lifestyle trends, and such, are always on-the-go. They may not have time for a proper meal or snack, so they look to Rumble when they need a tasty, convenient, nutritious option.”

Starting small with a big plan

Since its inception, Rumble has grown in name recognition and size in Canada, McQueen told BeverageDaily. Its Victoria, BC, office spawned a new location in Toronto and more coverage across the country.

Humble beginnings

Underhill started the Rumble formula in anticipation of his lung surgery. He was helped by fellow co-founder (and McQueen’s sister) Kim McQueen, a naturopathic physician, in fine-tuning the formula. The drink was originally kept in mason jars, but seemed to work well in keeping his nutrition up.

Now, Underhill is one of Canada’s oldest living cystic fibrosis patients. He still uses the drink, only now it is to keep him energized for extreme bicycle riding and running. 

“We thought of Canada as a proof of concept phase,” ​McQueen said. 

“Over the last year, we’ve been able to build our distribution nationally and be able to get it across the country. We’re not in every (Canadian) city, but it’s starting to get there.”

In the US, McQueen said Rumble wants to start slowly and deliberately, then build from there. The company already has relationships with US manufacturers, as its drinks are produced in an American facility. It will also open a Los Angeles office in September. It was simply a natural part of the company’s evolution to move into the US market, McQueen said.

“We just felt this was the time to do it,”​ he said. “Everything we saw [in the US market] was from the, what we would call, low quality kind of products."

Past those so-called “low quality” drinks, Rumble’s main competition in the US is brands like Svelt and Orgain, which specialise in more nutritious, natural shakes.

Rumble’s focus

The plan for the first 12 to 24 months in the US market is to dovetail what the brand has done in Canada by focusing on the fresh, natural channel, McQueen said. This means working with customers such as Whole Foods, Sprouts Farmers Market and other similar grocers. Rumble will also try to make entry into specialty grocery stores and larger stores that are “natural friendly.”

The Rumble team.
The Rumble team.

McQueen said the business will focus on distribution, marketing and promotional aspects to help drive brand awareness, trials, and velocity within the market.

One goal, as an example, is to be in all Whole Foods stores across the country within the next two or three years. This is already a store it is entrenched in, with Rumble in 50 Whole Foods in the southern Pacific region (Hawaii, Arizona, California, et al.), but McQueen sees Whole Foods as a “great customer” for Rumble and certainly one they want to make waves in.

Rumble is primarily focused on the west coast for now, but products are starting to pop up in east coast grocers such as Wegmans and Harris Teeter. 

“We’re making headway,”​ McQueen said cautiously. “It’s one thing to get it in there, but it’s another to get brand awareness up. We have a ton of work ahead of us, but we feel fortunate to have the success we’ve had and are excited to keep growing our brand.”

Related news

1 comment

Cool functional drinks.

Posted by Emilie Shea,

we wish you every success.

Just like us KVELLA pure artesian water of New Zealand ,we struggle being small but after three years we export to five countries in Asia. Be believe in our product. It's natural and pure, an alternate drinks for sugary colas.

Report abuse