Editor's Spotlight: Startup Focus
Eco-minded vegan protein startup offers nutrition without compromise
Taking on the challenge of creating a range of taste and texture optimised powders, bars and ready-to-drink shakes with 20 grams of protein per serving, is UK-based BodyHero.
The brainchild of four nutrition enthusiasts, including Andy Birch, former Product & Fitness Director of Virgin Active Health clubs, Coldplay’s bass player and secret nutrition enthusiast Guy Berryman, brand creative Graham Dodridge, and technology executive and investor Phil Brown, the company launched just in time to tap into the fast-expanding ‘veganuary’ movement.
Birch, the company's MD, believes the brand fills a huge gap in the market.
“I’ve worked for Virgin for 20 years and one of my roles there was to research the sports nutrition products available on the market, and choose which to include in our health clubs.
“I’ve been plant-based nearly all my life and I always felt we weren’t able to give our members as good quality plant-based products. As far as I could see, there was a clear gap in the market for a high protein, high fibre, low sugar, protein brand which tastes good and is enjoyable to drink or eat.
"We hope that by launching in January we will pick up some of the plant-based momentum that's created by 'veganuary', as lots of consumers will be looking into possible protein alternatives."
Each serving also offers up to 44% of consumers’ daily recommended fibre content (30g per day recommended in the UK), thanks to the inclusion of natural chicory root fibre.
"We wanted to offer high fibre content as we know interest in gut health is really hotting up and people are becoming very aware of the benefits of a high fibre diet," adds Birch.
"We don't expect that our consumers will all be vegans, or completely plant-based, but we are aiming to appeal to the growing number of consumers who want to increased their plant intake, whether it be due to digestive concerns, environmental impact, animal welfare, weight management - there are a number of reasons different people are choosing to do this."
To make the products as accessible as possible, all the products are free from: dairy, lactose, soy, gluten, wheat, carrageenans, palm oil, GMOs, artificial colours and flavours, fillers, binders, and anti-foaming agents.
The team is also hoping to sit head and shoulder above competition with their sustainability credentials.
“The more you get into the plant-based space, the expectation to be eco-minded mounts," says Birch. "So if we are singing about our plant-based ingredients, we know consumers will expect us to be an all-round environmentally friendly brand.”
The company uses ethically sourced ingredients, finances carbon reduction projects worldwide, and promises that every order results in the planting of one tree in its corporate grove in Madagascar.
The full range currently includes a protein powder, bar, and ready-to-drink shake, all in chocolate flavour with additional SKUs in the planning.