Afresh Named an Interbrand 2021 Breakthrough Brand

Afresh Named an Interbrand 2021 Breakthrough Brand
Press release
June 15, 2021

New York: Interbrand – The world’s leading brand consultancy – today launched its “2021 Breakthrough Brands” report – searching for the next generation of icons, and unveiling this year’s 30 brands set to revolutionize the US market.

From mobile banking developed specifically for Black and Latinx customers (Greenwood Bank) and mental health treatments (ATAI Life Sciences) to secure messaging services (Signal) and plant derived coatings for produce (Apeel), Interbrand predicts these challenger brands have got what it takes to become household names.

This year’s Breakthrough Brands cohorts follow in the footsteps of A24, Oatly!, Snowflake (2020), Instacart, Slack (2017), Square and Glossier (2016) tipped for success in Interbrand’s previous reports.

The brands also reflect the broader context of a tumultuous year, with businesses required to experiment and be resilient in response to a global pandemic, social justice movements and a highly contentious election cycle. These growth-stage companies have a new set of challenges to contend with as we enter a ‘new reality’ post-pandemic.  

Five themes of innovation emerge from the 2021 Breakthrough Brands:

  • Power in Representation: The impact and momentum of Black Lives Matter has had ripple effects on the corporate world and given momentum behind companies who focus on increasing representation and diversity in different categories. Brands like Greenwood Bank,  Omsom, SpringHill Company and Bread Beauty Supply are changing the conversations  around how these communities are spoken to, represented, and empowered.
  • Flipping the Focus on Preventative Health: Even in spite of Covid, new brands and technologies are democratizing healthcare – making monitoring and diagnostics available to those on lower incomes, with less comprehensive insurance and the time-poor., Butterfly Network and Owlet are key to fixing this critical aspect of the healthcare lifecycle, helping lift the pressure and impact on the entire healthcare system.  
  • Tackling Taboos: A long time in the making (Thinx is a 2016 Breakthrough Brands alumni), we are seeing an explosion of brands in the personal care space bring empowerment and acceptance of our very human issues. With the likes of Starface, Megababe and Frida Mom,  taboos have never been more mainstream.  
  • Easing Parenthood Anxieties: Thanks to Covid, the lack of intergenerational networks providing support and wisdom means millennial parents feel like they are alone in this new phase. Young start-ups including Frida Mom, Owlet and Lovevery are taking on this role, helping navigate this vulnerable transition into parenthood and providing reassurance throughout childhood.
  • Gaming Everything: Gaming is no longer a stereotyped, niche activity – it is bleeding into different industries and impacting the design aesthetic of brands. We are seeing playful characters, 3D illustrations, and immersive brand worlds, from Discord and Dapper Lab’s ‘gamification’ of communication and blockchain respectively, to Zwift’s game-like landscapes and Revolut’s graphics and brand identity.

Zwift CEO and Co-Founder, Eric Min said:

“My idea for Zwift was born out of a problem I faced  personally – the lack of social connection using cycling simulators. Using the power of massively multiplayer gaming technology, we've been able to create a social fitness environment that lets you train, explore, and compete with other 'Zwifters' from all over the world. Thanks to the wonderful community on Zwift, we've managed to create a true social network. I think it’s important for a business to have a positive social impact, so we’re proud to be in Interbrand’s report with the other  brands making big changes.”

Daniel Binns, CEO, Interbrand New York, said:

“We are thrilled to be unveiling Interbrand’s 2021 Breakthrough Brands. Following a tumultuous year for business across most sectors, this year’s brands really are something special. In increasingly difficult circumstances, these brands have launched, pivoted, survived, and even thrived. They are more than ready to follow in the footsteps of the Breakthrough Brands alumni.”

Naeiri Zargarian, Associate Strategy Director at Interbrand New York said:

“This new class of Breakthrough Brands give an indication of the themes that will shape a post-pandemic world. The  past year surfaced cultural tensions that will continue to be opportunities for brands and institutions; the realities of modern parenthood, inclusivity, and representation across categories and a willingness to tackle historically taboo topics.”

Interbrand’s Breakthrough Brands 2021 report is compiled via qualitative and quantitative research tools, including analysis of social listening data (gathered in partnership with Infegy, C Space) and  investment data (gathered by Apollo, with consultation from Blackstone Growth).

Interbrand has selected the 30 companies that best exemplify brand growth from a list of over 400. Brands were selected against three core criteria: understanding human truths (with key indicators  including social post volume and growth), creating exceptional brand experiences (brands that answer unmet consumer needs) and delivering superior brand economics.  

The full report can be downloaded, here:


Interbrand’s Breakthrough Brands 2021:

Afresh - Grocery store management tool for waste reduction

Air Company - Carbon negative distillation

Apeel – New age produce packaging

ATAI Life Sciences - Psychedelics for mental health

Athletic Brewing Co – Cult-favorite non-alcoholic beer

Better – Digitalized, seamless mortgage system

BREAD Beauty Supply - Modern haircare for Black and curly hair

Butterfly Network – Remote access to ultrasounds

Cameo - Personalized celebrity engagement

Dapper Labs – Blockchain-based experiences

Discord - Messaging platform for niche communities

Frida Mom - Post-partum healing and recovery products

Greenwood Bank - Digital bank built for minority communities - At home diagnostics

Kano - Teaching kids coding  

Lovevery - Toys aiding infant development  

Megababe - Unique personal care products

Miro - Real-time online collaboration tool

Nuro - Autonomous delivery vehicle

OffLimits - Category-defying cereal

Omsom - Asian meal kit  

Oura Ring - Frictionless wearable ring

Owlet - Smart wearable for infants

Pipe - Streamlined capital for start-ups  

Revolut - Globalized neobank

Signal – Non-profit encrypted messaging system

Socios – NFT-backed fan engagement tool

SpringHill Company - Media company focused on diverse stories

Starface - Light-hearted acne products

Zwift - At-home fitness for dedicated cyclists

About The Interbrand Group

Interbrand Group is made up of Interbrand, the world’s leading brand consultancy, and C Space, the  global customer agency.  

Interbrand have been a world leading brand consultancy, for over 45 years – having pioneered iconic work and forged many of the brand building tools that are commonplace across the industry today.

We know that in an age of unprecedented abundance of choice and speed of innovation, customers’ expectations are moving faster than business. While incremental change is still essential, it is no longer sufficient. It takes bold moves to leap ahead of customers and competitors. We call these  moves Iconic Moves.

In collaboration with the world’s leading brands, our global team of thinkers and makers are pioneering the future of brand building. By turning customers into active participants, we help our clients strengthen their brands on an ongoing basis – our approach gives them confidence to make Iconic Moves that spark desire and create utility, driving extraordinary results.

Interbrand is a part of the Omnicom Group (NYSE:OMC). For more information, please visit