Executive Briefing

The business of Whole30

Melissa Urban is turning her elimination diet into a lifestyle brand with an increasingly complex business, from licensing to CPG.

Whole30 co-founder and CEO Melissa Urban
Whole30 co-founder and CEO Melissa Urban / Photo courtesy Whole30

On day two, I started to contemplate my self-worth without cheese. The switch to coconut-based yogurt, though, I actually sort-of liked? And by the third week, I didn’t really miss the rice alongside my Japanese curry.

For the month of September, I was on Whole30, an elimination diet that basically pushes you to cook and eat whole, real food — vegetables, meat and seafood, fruit — while cutting out certain major categories, including dairy, wheat and grains, legumes, alcohol, and sugar.

I’m generally skeptical about diets, especially those popular enough to have household-name recognition and registered trademarks. But in this case, I was genuinely curious about a few things, including how my body would respond to an extended period without dairy.

And for The New Consumer purposes, I wondered: What was propelling an increasing number of food, beverage, and restaurant brands — from LaCroix to Chipotle — to display the Whole30 name and logo on their products?

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Dan Frommer

Hi, I’m Dan Frommer and this is The New Consumer, a publication about how and why people spend their time and money.

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