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How to Supercharge Superfoods, Sustainably


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By Lily Niu on 29th November 2022

Superfood supplements aren’t new to the world of wellness wonders but not always have they been created sustainably.

Michael Isted, co-founder of Phyto Nectars - a new breed of superfood drinks made from functional blends of plant and mushroom powders - speaks to The Sybarite about what practises the business has embraced to ensure that consumers, the community, and our environment all come out on top.

The drinks company has invested in small, community-based cooperatives and farmers, where it sources the plants and mushrooms used in its blends. These cooperatives support the farmers and the wellbeing of their families by providing them with food, clothes, medicine, and transport.

They also support the biodiversity and regeneration of the land by encouraging and working with the farmers to ensure that different plant species are planted.

Additionally, all of the Phyto Necars packaging is entirely recyclable and the business has every intention of upgrading and evolving into more sustainable solutions alongside technological advancements in this area.

How have you experienced the power of plants and mushrooms? 

Everyday. We work very closely with nature so we see and feel the many personalities of the plants and mushrooms all the time. 

Through my work as a herbalist, I recommend, prescribe, and dispense herbs and remedies for my clients. As part of that process, I always recommend for people to go out and be in nature; sit with a plant or mushroom, slow your breathing down, and touch, feel, and communicate with nature, allowing yourself to truly become a part of it. It's amazing what comes back and how simply profound that is. 

The cooperatives you work with support the biodiversity and regeneration of the land by encouraging farmers to plant different species. Why is that important and what’s the impact of this on Phyto’s product range?

If you dynamise the land - with diversity, complexity, good farming practices, and love  - it is reflected in the final product. 

Plants and mushrooms thrive in diversified and dynamic land, worked upon by dynamic people. It is an essential part of the cycle of life and the constituents - plant and mushroom chemicals - are more varied, so they have a more profound potential to interact and heal. 

The result of this is a more flavoursome and more dynamic product which has greater healing potential. Ultimately, biodiversity brings diversity to a community, along with financial benefits as well.

What ancient plant traditions have influenced the product ranges and ways of working at Phyto the most?

Combining complex mixtures of plant or phyto chemicals and turning them into a delicious brew is not new- It’s an ancestral process and practice in all cultures. 

Phyto Nectars is a contemporary expression of these very ancestral practices. For example, the whisking of ceremonial cacao or matcha tea and the preparation of a herbal infusion for medicine have influenced how Phyto Nectars is intended for enjoyment and nourishment.

What modern scientific approaches to harnessing the power of plants has Phyto Nectars embraced? 

Phyto is a combination of ancestral and very modern practices. We use state of the art extraction techniques to extract particular components of a plant or mushroom and make them water soluble. 

We use fermentation techniques to extract particular phyto-chemicals and to increase absorbability of these phyto-chemicals, so they have greater healing potential. 

We are constantly monitoring scientific research on all of our ingredients - as soon as a good research paper is released we share it through our journal and website. 

Phyto is a business with sustainability at its heart. Have you encountered any challenges in building and scaling the business to stay aligned with its core values? 

 Absolutely, it's a balancing act. Scaling up, packaging, and shipping have been a challenge; we are striving to be as sustainable as possible but at the same time, ensure our community gets its Phyto Nectars in as vibrant and dynamic form as possible. 

We are continually looking at ways to improve our practices, to be as aligned with nature as possible. 

What does your hope for the future of Phyto Nectars look like?

Closer aligned to nature - continued and growing support for the people, plants, mushrooms and the land on which we work. 

We are working towards our own farming; continued R&D with some super cool new formulas and the release of new products soon.

To stay up-to-date with and learn more about Phyto Nectars, visit its online store

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