“It will not give you wings, it won't make you more energized nor relaxed; it will simply quench your thirst and make you happy!”
Indeed, this no-nonsense approach could help to explain why his distinctively packaged products have gained momentum - securing listings at Target, Kroger, H.E.B., Whole Foods and Amazon as well as a host of natural chains and independents - while many new ‘functional’ brands gather dust on the shelf.
Almond water - “made for taste and refreshment like lemonade or sweet iced tea” - debuted at the Fancy Food Show in January 2012, and since then “everything just exploded”, says Meniane. “It’s been almost unreal.”
Buyers like the fact that it’s natural - but not functional - and is based on a recipe that’s been in his family for generations, which makes its look “vintage and European looking”, adds Meniane, who grew up in France drinking his grandmother Victoria’s home-made almond water and started making it for friends when he moved to the US in 2000.
I used to make almond water the way my grandmother did
“I used to make almond water the way my grandmother did, which is a long process involving boiling and straining almonds,” adds Meniane, who is a certified public accountant by trade and worked in real estate for the best part of a decade before he decided to find out whether his family recipe might appeal to a wider audience.
“But to make a shelf-stable ready-to-drink product on a commercial scale that wasn’t $4-5 a bottle, I knew I’d have to make changes,” he recalls. “I also wanted something a bit less sweet than the version my grandmother made.”