EDITOR'S SPOTLIGHT: STARTUP FOCUS
Hux banks on ‘honest, accessible’ supplements to achieve ‘trusted health partner status’
Founded in 2020, the UK-based start-up was the brainchild of Byrne and two friends, Fadi Shuman and Alistair Hargreaves.
The Co-Founders, with backgrounds in professional sport, marketing, FMCG and e-commerce, have come together to develop a platform of products that focus on categories from Superfood Blends to Hydration, Sleep, Beauty and Nootropics.
“It was a year not short on challenges related to the creation of HUX,” explains Byrne, an ex-Sales Director at Mars Wrigley Confectionery.
“Everything was unusually cumbersome and time consuming due to covid restrictions. For example, sampling the numerous product iterations had to be done via sending out product individually and trying over zoom.
“We couldn’t visit our manufacturing site in a normal way, so had to find new ways to collaborate. Regarding funding, this also couldn't be done face to face, with product in hand. It had to be from my kitchen through a laptop.”
Byrne acknowledges the positives throughout the process, with 2020 encouraging people to think actively about their health causing the surge in interest for these categories.
Superfood blends & Nootropics
Hux’s Superfood Blends combine plant-based organic superfoods, protein and vitamins to form a serving that is mixed with water to create a nutritious beverage.
The Superfood Blends product line also contains ingredients aimed at supporting gut health for example Papain (helps reduce inflammation and swelling) and Kale (a good source of calcium that promotes gut health),
Other ingredients used include Actazin (for bowl regularity) and Bacillus Coagulans (a probiotic that helps the stomach with stand high levels of acid).
Hux’s Nootropics range incorporate Citicoline (Cognizin), proven to raise levels of neurotransmitters, increase mental energy, and protect the brain from damage and ageing.
The range also uses Lions mane, an edible mushroom known to stimulate the growth of brain cells, boost memory, increase focus and mood, whilst also supporting digestion.
“We have sourced the highest quality ingredients to create highly effective, science-backed, clinically proven (for Nootropics and Sleep) products,” says Byrne.
“They are not meal replacements, they are supplements. They colour in the gaps most people have in their daily diet. We don't promise that they are magical. Being healthy shouldn't be a chore.
“Our mission at HUX is to allow everyone to find their daily edge by making complex nutrition simple and enjoyable; a life enabler,” Byrne adds.
“We have designed the range to work in concert, meaning all products can be safely consumed daily without going over RDI for any ingredient to a level that is detrimental.”
With Hux’s offerings that include supplements for Nootropics and Sleep, Byrne sees a market here for e-gamers looking to boost mental agility, concentration and focus in a natural, caffeine-free way
“Gamers were one of the first adopters and largest consumers of nootropics, for exactly that reason. The benefit of being dialled in for Call of Duty is now traversing over to work.
“There is a habitual and emotive benefit that people receive from a morning coffee. However, the benefit is usually short-lived and can cause jitters for many people.
“HUX nootropics delivers a slow release of energy leading to sharpened focus, mental clarity and creativity across the course of the day.
“Many of our consumers note significant increases in work output, without needing to snack through the usual afternoon lull.”
The business looks to be gathering momentum now as Byrne reveals Hux has just closed a funding round of €1.2m (£1m), which count the founders of Bulldog Skincare as one of its backers.
The funds will be used for four main areas, namely brand awareness, building a team, working capital, and preparing for international expansion which will include ANZ, Europe and the US.
“We will be an omnichannel brand,” promises Byrne. “We are deep in retailer listing conversations. Watch our socials for updates on this!”
An ‘innovation forward brand’
Describing itself as an innovation forward brand, Byrne and Hux are open to exploring new services and/or products in personalisation for example amongst other areas.
Whatever direction Hux takes into new markets or sectors the firm’s ethos remains a bedrock that directs its decision-making process and its approach to best serve its customers.
“When we do it, we want to do it in a genuine way,” Byrne says. “Many brands that offer personalisation have only a few options that a brief survey funnels you in to.
“The foundation of nutrition, and associated deficiencies, across the population is remarkably consistent.
“Our range of products addresses this. In time we want to extend this to provide highly specialised products.”
Looking towards the future, Byrne identifies mental health and sleep as the next areas or focus that the industry and certainly Hux will be keeping its eye on.
“Brain nutrition is the foundation of mood stability, mental clarity and a vital marker for mental health.
“There is an enormous and fundamentally important opportunity for the conversation on emotional and psychological well-being to include the significant role nutrition plays.
“We decided to go a few steps further than most nootropics on the market by including citicoline, which is fundamental for long-term brain health,” he adds.
“Sleep is the other one. It is the single most effective thing we can do each day to reset our brain and body health.
“Almost no-one gets enough of it; or if they get the hours, the quality of that sleep is very low. This is a huge topic, where the right supplements can be highly effective.”
One other area ripe for product expansion is healthy ageing, although Byrne acknowledges the essential nutrition contained in Hux’s current range of products, if consumed daily, would go a long way to helping in the ageing process.
“We are constantly looking for new ways to improve people's health,” he says. “However, this is a big topic, and we can do much more. So, you will see innovation from us in this.”