Old Friends Edible Earth: Product Strategy

Old Friends Edible Earth: Product Strategy


Challenge: Develop a wellness product .


Key observation: We’ve gotten cleaner over the last fifty years. We’ve also gotten sicker.


Solution: Create a product to strengthen our microbiome. (Yes, we sold dirt.)


Too clean for ya?

After years of over-cleaning and antibacterial soap, our microbiomes are starting to fight back, causing a spike in childhood allergies and immune disorders. Additionally, we spend about 90% of our time inside, away from dirt that keeps our immune system in shape.

Geophagy (aka eating dirt)

Some cultures practice geophagy and evidence of it has been found dating back millions of years. It is also making its mark in haute cuisine both in Japan and Spain.

Shift from “fringe food” to “superfood”

Bee pollen, charcoal, kombucha, and kefir are among the foods and supplements people seek out for their possible health benefits. There’s a growing interest in alternative medicine and wellness.


To achieve our goal of simplifying the complicated category of probiotics, we created an edible dirt. Not just dirt you can find in the backyard (ew), but finely milled earth meant to be sprinkled in smoothies and mixed in yogurt.

We named the brand Old Friends. Old Friends refers to the theory that humans and the bacteria in their microbiome evolved to coexist. Without that symbiotic relationship, humans cannot thrive in their environment.


Purpose, Values, and Packaging

Purpose: Create a world where our bodies work with us, not against us.


Curiosity- Old Friends seeks out answers in unusual places. Our curiosity about alternative medicine fuels our product development.


Connection- Your body works best when each part is connected to the other. The microbiome lives in the gut, but connects to your overall well being.


Quality- We source the finest earth with a rich probiotic content.

We knew that to get people on board with the idea of eating dirt, we would have to be honest from the start. Our design pillars centered around being clear and honest with what was in the package.

Design pillars: Approachability, Trustworthiness, Simplicity


The Team for this project was Meredith Makhoul (ST) and Hadley Mathews (ST)