Co-founder of three-year-young startup Form Nutrition, Damian Soong has created a B-Corp certified business selling vegan protein and nootropic supplements which do good for their consumers and for others in need.
The idea for this business, which directly supports the Bansang Hospital Appeal, came to Soong during the time when interest in plant-based diets was just starting to take off.
"It was all driven because I had always been interested in nutrition and wellness and in 2014/15 I became very interested in the plant-based movement – this was around the time of the 'Cowspiracy' documentary and the book 'The China Study' when people were becoming more aware of the impact of plant-based diets on both human and environmental health.
“It struck me that veganism would be, not just a trend, but a big movement driven by big drivers - the health of people and the planet.
“Yet, I found that all the vegan protein shakes available on the market were pretty disgusting! Also, all the protein shakes on the market at that time came in big tubs, with big body building focused graphics.
"I could see a huge gap in the market for a lifestyle-led premium brand focused on overall health and well-being that would appeal to a wider audience.
“I also wanted to create a brand that didn’t make nutrition all about the self, but one that could help make people aware that it's a luxury to be concerned about whether your protein shake has 20 or 30 grams of protein in it when there are people in the world struggling to feed themselves.”
He partnered with Natalia Bojanic, a qualified meditation teacher with a history in luxury brand PR, Pete O’Donoghue, who has experience in bringing a nutrition startup to launch and has co-founded a social enterprise working with young people in London schools, as well as Dr Adam Collins, a nutritionist of 20 years.
The four minds came together to create products with excellent nutritional profiles and launched the brand with a range of vegan protein powders and nootropics capsules in March 2017.
It began as a direct to consumer offering but it soon gained listings in high-end retailers such as Plant Organic, Net-a-Porter and Soho House.
The company quickly gained a lot of attention thanks to its strong ethos and premium styling - it was even featured in Vogue, Men’s Health (who named him a Nutrition Maverick and Protein Pioneer), Esquire, Women’s Health, Tatler and GQ.
Serious social responsibility
Soong launched the startup to be a partnership with the charity The Bansang Hospital Appeal - an award winning charity dedicated to improving healthcare delivery in a remote region of The Gambia, since 1992.
The partnership ensures that for every Form product sold, the company pays for one hospital meal. Form has also successfully funded a year of education for 12 girls through the sales of its Nootropics.
And donations to the charity are clearly paying off. In 2019, Bansang Hospital was awarded Best Patient Care in the country, by both the Government and Ministry of Health and held up as a model of healthcare delivery in Africa.
The company sells three protein powders all made with organic pea, brown rice and hemp protein to deliver complete amino acid profile protein.
The 'Performance' protein provides Curcumin C3 and 5g BCAA’s, plus digestive enzymes, while 'Superblend' includes maca, flaxseed, greens and fruit powders, to offer fibre, prebiotics; and 'Pureblend' is just the pure protein blend.
It also sells three nootropics products in capsule format for three different need states: ‘Boost’ acts as a pre-workout supplement offering caffeine and L-Theanine to give the boost of a strong coffee but without the jitters, alongside CDP-Choline and Dimocarpus Longan (Euphoria Fruit) to contribute to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue; 'ZZZZs' is to aid sleep, with calming Amino Acids, L-Glycine, L-Theanine and essential dietary minerals Magnesium and Zinc; and finally 'Edge' has been created for daily cognitive enhancement with Bacopa Monnieri, Alpha GPC, Ginkgo Biloba, and B-vitamins.
Nourishing the mind
Soong also dedicates much of his attention to educating consumers about nutrition science through the Form platform. The company offers free email education courses to customers on a range of topics, from keto diets, to intermittent fasting. Dr Collins and the brand’s in-house Editor work together alongside athletes and friends of the brand to provide a series of in-depth articles to help their consumers develop their understanding of health and nutrition.
The team also hosts its own 'inForm' website offering a wealth of nutrition and exercise educational content.