The History of Lifestream

Over 40 years of Plant Based Innovations

Established in 1980, Lifestream has a long history of plant-based innovations. Learn more about the history of Lifestream through our timeline below.

Our beginnings

Like so many great businesses, Lifestream was born in a garage! Founder Michael Henrickson was convinced of the power of Spirulina as a superfood and wanted to be able to buy it for his own use, so he negotiated distribution rights for the leading Spirulina in the world, for both NZ and Australia, in 1980. He purchased a tabletting machine and got to work in his garage in Otara, Auckland. He created our very first Spirulina tablets and powder products there, and to this day they continue to be our best-selling Lifestream products!


Aloe Vera joined our family

Soon after Lifestream Spirulina hit the market, Michael added Aloe Vera to the family. It was bottled by hand out of big drums, using the pure inner leaf gel from the Aloe Vera plant.

mid 1980s

Jason joins the Team

In 1993, Jason Shon Bennett joined the team to sell and promote LIfestream products throughout New Zealand. Jason spent almost 20 years with Lifestream and helped grow and transform the company into the leading superfood brand it remains today. Jason's own story is amazing - throughout his first 25 years, he suffered asthma, constipation, bad skin, allergies, hay fever, and fatigue, alongside regular colds, bugs, cases of the flu, and sickness that would have him in bed for weeks or months every year. After extensive research into the medicinal properties of foods, amongst other things, Jason transformed his health and has been feeling his best for over 30 years. Jason was a passionate promoter of Lifestream products and the power of plant-based superfoods.


A change of ownership

In 1994, Lifestream caught the attention of successful beauty entrepreneurs, Ross Turner and Stephen Cle. They approached Michael (now known as Shakan) at the perfect time, as he was looking for a change in direction. Ross and Stephen purchased the business and were excited to be getting involved in a business that was focused on natural, plant-based products. "These were revolutionary at the time", says Ross. "You could find nothing that was natural in the pharmacies back in the 1990s - we were often told that the pharmacists didn't want to stock 'any of that hippie stuff'!"


Global expansion

In the mid 1990s, Lifestream did what all Kiwis do - and started on a big OE! With many export enquiries from distributors around the world, Lifestream launched into Australia and the United Kingdom initially.

mid 1990s

When in Texas ... grow Aloe

A year or two after Ross and Stephen purchased Lifestream, the Aloe Vera supplier told Ross that she was closing her business. Ross flew to Texas to convince her not to - and ended up buying the business! The first Lifestream international subsidiary was created and Ross stayed in Texas for 18 months, extracting the pure inner leaf gel of the Aloe Vera plant and sending it back to NZ to be manufactured into Lifestream tonics. Towards 1998, Ross found another supplier with the same high standards and decided it was time to end his Texan desert adventures and return to Aotearoa.


Home grown barley + wheat

In the late 1990s, Ross and Stephen wanted to source New Zealand grown barley and wheat grass, which are well known for their detox and digestion support. They encouraged Canterbury farmers to convert their farms to these crops, and we still source our barley and wheat grass from Canterbury today.

Late 1990s

European Superfoods Award winner

mid 2000s

Natural Products NZ Exporter of the Year

We won the major award for Natural Products NZ Exporter of the Year at the Air NZ Cargo Export Awards. After what had been a tough couple of years, we were able to grow our export sales by 18%, expanding in China, Greece, and Mongolia, and beginning the expansion into Norway and Germany.


Auckland Exporter of the Year Award

We won the major award for Auckland Exporter of the year (under $35 million) at the Air NZ Cargo Export Award. We were over the moon to win such a prestigious award against such quality competition. It was a pleasure to be personally congratulated by then-Minister of Immigration, Broadcasting, Tourism and Health Rt. Hon MP Dr Jonathon Coleman.


Time for a change, again

In 2017, after many years of ownership, Ross and Stephen decided it was time to retire. Lifestream found new owners in Pioneer Capital, an investment firm committed to building iconic New Zealand brands into global powerhouses.


A bright future

Since the global pandemic began in 2020, people around the world have seen the benefit of plant-based vitamins and superfoods in supporting a healthy lifestyle. Scientific research and clinical studies are showing how impactful plant-based nutrition can be when using the right supplements with a healthy diet. Join the plant-based living movement with us and enjoy a healthier you.