Two Brothers Take On The Multi-Billion Dollar Antacid Market With Their New Startup

Wonderbelly announces three new anti-oxidant products free from dyes or other harmful chemicals.

Lucas Kraft and Noah Kraft, both Austin-based, have the vision to create cleaner and healthier medications for your stomach. They are starting with Tums, also known as Antacids, which is one of the most commonly used over-the-counter medications.

Wonderbelly launched today with its first offering, a non-GMO antiseptic made without talc and dyes. The duo plan to launch a range of over-the counter meds that target digestion.

Lucas Kraft, now 31 years old, has a close personal connection to the company. Over ten years of struggle with an eating disorder led to him developing GERD and Barrett’s Esophagus. Both of these conditions required the use anti-biotic medication. He says he felt alone and unequipped after consulting dozens of gastroenterologists. Some doctors are more compassionate than others. However, they are limited in what they can do to help you other than prescribing antacids. It’s also not clear what information they provide. “I realized that I needed to learn this by myself.”

His diagnosis of Barrett’s Esophagus was five years ago. This condition results in the formation of pre-cancerous cells in the throat. It has been managed by Lucas, who is now showing signs of improvement. It came at one cost: drinking bottles upon bottles of anti-biotics, specifically Tums.

This is what led him to research the multibillion-dollar antacid market. It is outdated and lacks innovation and can also contain harmful ingredients such as talc. Johnson and Johnson were being sued for talc-related cancer claims. Lucas states that he didn’t want to eat talc for the rest of his life.

Wonderbelly was founded by Noah Kraft (left) and Lucas Kraft (right).

He saw that acid reflux and other digestive problems were increasing due to the stress of the pandemic in 2020. Noah, his older brother, suggested that a company be established to eliminate the harmful ingredients found in standard medication for digestive problems.

When you look at it, this industry hasn’t changed much over the years. The idea was great, and I’m glad it would help my brother. It also made business sense. These issues are not something people want to discuss publicly. Noah says, “And we’re here for that to change.”

They visited the same company that makes the top antacids in America and asked for a cleaner product. They were told no. They were also laughed at when they asked for non-GMO. They refused to give up, and the two continued to insist. Noah says, “We were told that it couldn’t be done.” “Yet, we’re here with a non-GMO antacid.”

Packaging is subject to the same scrutiny. They have to comply with FDA regulations and follow several guidelines, so they can’t choose any eco-friendly plastic alternative. Noah jokes that paper was “definitely not going to pass” the humidity test.

They settled on aluminum cans that could be easily recycled. You’ll see everything wrapped in plastic as you walk down the aisle. We didn’t want our part in that. Noah says that there are thousands upon thousands of plastic containers and that this doesn’t include prescription meds.”

They are plastic-free and shipped in recycled paper mailers.

Kraft brought in many experts to help build the new company. They consulted renowned gastroenterologists, former heads of leading herbal supplement brands, and Johanna Hunter, a veteran of the pharmaceutical sector who served as their Vice President of Product and Manufacturing.

Lucas says, “We knew we wanted to make a product that was as effective as the conventional one, and we needed experts to help. I have tried many of the natural options on the market. They don’t work as well, unfortunately. We’re launching with a product that we know works just as well and is equally effective. However, we are open to adding natural ingredients in the future.

This has been a personal journey for Lucas that led him to create Wonderbelly. But for his brother and other siblings, heartburn and reflux are two of the most common ailments among Millennials. “Spicy food is trendy. Then there’s stress. This is enough to inform you. It happens to everyone. This is why many people today are more aware of it than ever.

They want to emphasize that ailments of the stomach are not taboo. Their website has a blog called “Guts and Butts,” which they define as “a community that is not afraid to discuss the hard sh*t.”

Wonderbelly hopes to be for antacids what Casper is for mattresses or Warby Parker for glasses. These are direct-to-consumer brands that Noah believes will transform the image of once static industries. They hope to be able to sell their products in the same stores as OTC brands, but for now, they are focusing on the direct-to-consumer model to build a stronger relationship with customers.

Their product may be more expensive, but the ingredients make it much more costly. Noah says, “When big brands look at costs, they discuss a difference in cents or even a penny. It’s a game of bottoms, and who can make it the cheapest. It’s all about the ingredients and the effect. So, we are looking at an extra dollar instead of just a few cents.

They believe it is worth the extra expense, especially for something used regularly. Wonderbelly is available in three flavors. Lucas says they are better than any other antacids on the market. Noah hopes that these antacids will be more readily available in the future at places like your favorite taco stand or burger joint.

He says, “Again, it’s about normalizing those issues.”

Heartburn and reflux happen. Are we willing to discuss it as a society, though? Wonderbelly hopes to spark that conversation.

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Samatha Vale
Samatha a senior writer for HC's entertainment team. She is an entreprenuer, mother and an excellent writer. She's also an avid reader, music enthusiast and all around inquisitive person - which is just a nice way of saying she's nosy.

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