Editor's Spotlight: Startup Focus
Parents launch pre- and probiotic snack bar startup
Guka Tavberidze and Tatia Loladze, became the co-founders of the 'So Perf' health food and drink brand after struggling to find gut health friendly snack bars for their youngest son.
The father-of-two explains: “Our son Daniel was born four years ago and soon after birth he had severe immune issues and he was getting ill all the time. When he started going to nursery we then started to notice some behavioural issues as well as regular constipation.
“When we spoke to nutritionists and doctors we were informed he was showing symptoms of ‘leaky gut’ which meant that he wasn’t absorbing enough nutrients from the foods he was eating.
“We discovered poor gut health develops from a build up of negative bacteria often caused by consumption of processed foods and sugar.”
The parents were advised to ensure Daniel was consuming 30 different plant foods a week as well as pro and prebiotic supplements, and told to cut sugar and gluten from his diet.
“Converting to a gluten-free diet is difficult because you end up cutting out a lot of fibre in the process which is the opposite of what we wanted to do to improve Daniel’s gut health. The other difficulty is that many of the gluten free foods on the market are very high in sugar," adds Tavberidze.
“We realised it was going to be particularly hard to find any snacks that weren’t highly processed or high in sugar or gluten, so we started making our own cold pressed bars loaded with plants and superfoods.”
It wasn’t long after they had started making the bars for their sons, that word got out and they began making more for friends, family, neighbours and others, and they realised they had a popular product.
They launched the bars commercially under the 'So Perf' brand in May this year with a range of two bars for adults and two for kids.
The bars claim to support the gut microbiome, immune system and skin health, stabilise blood sugar levels, and provide a plant based source of protein, vitamin C, fibre, and omega-3.
The ingredients include: cashews, oats, flaxseeds, cacao, chicory root fibre, coconut, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, inulin, and the probiotic Bacillus coagulans GBI-30 6086. The kids bars contain no nuts.
The adult snack bars contain up to 15g of fibre, 5.8g protein, and less than 4.7g of sugar, while the kids range provide less than 8.6g of sugar, and up to 7.2g of fibre.
Tavberidze points out the dietary fibre content is substantial considering recommended total dietary fibre intake is 25-30g for adults and 20-25g for children.
“A lot of ‘healthy’ snack bars on the market are still full of sugar due to their high content of dates or due to using ingredients which have been injected with sugar.
“We choose the highest quality, purest ingredients we can find, which creates naturally delicious and healthy bars.”
The bars are currently sold online only but the founders hope to bring them into supermarkets soon across the UK as well as expand the range of bars to tap into other popular functional ingredients, such as collagen.
The So Perf brand also includes a range of cold pressed fruit juices offering pure ingredients without any added ‘nasties’.