How Sustenance is shaking up the meal shakes industry in S’pore, APAC

Gautam Param and Leon Chen first met a few years ago while working for the same company and went on a business trip to the UK together.

Leon was a senior executive at a listed company in Singapore, before becoming managing director of an e-commerce company.

Meanwhile, Gautam worked as a business analyst before trying his hand at a few businesses, including a delivery-only restaurant.

Then in 2019, two years after the creation of the meal replacement company Sustenance, they joined forces to make it evolve.

“I saw that a lot of people and businesses were preaching about living healthy through ‘revolutionary’ diets and eating strategies, but no one was offering good products to help people execute them,” he said. Gautam said.

“I wanted a simple way to eat healthy without putting my food at the center of my life. I looked at other options on the market but didn’t really like them as they contained a lot of man-made waste and were too far from nature to be considered a real meal.

Create a drinkable meal

Seeing this gap in the market, the duo wanted to offer people minimally processed products that use real food ingredients from high-end suppliers in the US and UK.

sustenance meal shake
What goes into a holding meal shake / Image credit: Sustenance

In fact, their products contain a lot of protein and fiber and minimal bad stuff like saturated fat and man-made waste.

The idea behind Sustenance is simple: we want people to eat healthy in a simple and painless way. We want to empower people to lead healthy, disease-free lives without having to put food at the center of their lives.

– Gautam Param, co-founder of Sustenance

The 30-year-old added that his meal replacement offerings are suitable for people who are short on time, such as busy workers who prefer quick but healthy meals. There are also some who turn to Sustenance to incorporate it into their diet for weight loss.

After all, their shakes contain enough fruits and vegetables, grains, seeds, and vegetable protein.

“They come closer to a healthy homemade meal than any other option on the market,” Gautam said.

Since meal shakes are also high in fiber and protein, this makes them very filling, relative to calories.

sustenance meal shake
Work on new and improved formulas / Image credit: Sustenance

Each batch produced is laboratory tested by a third party in a laboratory accredited by the Singapore Accreditation Council (SAC) in Singapore for safety and purity.

“We’re testing things that don’t show up on labels like heavy metals and harmful bacteria,” Gautam said.

Meal replacements versus a conventional healthy meal

While Sustenance offers many nutritional benefits, Gautam emphasized that it does not precede a healthy, conventional meal.

sustenance meal shake
Suitable for people deprived of time / Image credit: Sustenance

The Sustenance Gaining Factor on such meals is its convenience factor. If you’re short on time, can’t find affordable options or healthy food around you, Sustenance Meal Shakes are a great alternative to resorting to something unhealthy like fast food.

“I think the meal replacement industry is stigmatized by overusing unnatural ingredients and not being satiating. After all, who will believe that a glass will fill them for hours? Gautam said to himself.

“It’s a shame because the benefits of meal shakes are often overshadowed by these stigmas. By going back to basics and using satiating whole food ingredients, we hope to change the way meal shakes are viewed and present our healthy and convenient shakes to everyone. “

sustenance meal shake
Meal Keeping Shake / Image Credit: Sustenance

The main barrier to healthy eating, Sustenance says, is the difficulty of eating a healthy diet, and meal replacements can help fill this gap.

Science has established that healthy and consistent eating is a problem of behavior, not a problem of knowledge. People know what it means to eat healthy, but they struggle to do it consistently in the long run because of how difficult it is.

No one wants to spend their lunch break in line (looking for food), spend a bomb eating cereal bowls every day, or spend an hour cooking and cleaning on weekdays. If we were to reduce the decision friction to eat healthier, a lot of people would eat healthier more consistently.

– Gautam Param, co-founder of Sustenance

This is the unique proposition of meal replacements – they serve as a “fallback option” that is readily available anytime and anywhere, and suffices as a quick, healthy meal.

Dispel the stigma associated with meal replacements

Initially, Gautam said their main fight was to tackle the stigma associated with meal replacement.

Historically, the industry has had so many “bad apples” like tiered marketing programs and companies promoting unhealthy diet products.

It was really hard to get past that and convince people that we are selling honest products. Things finally got better after we got older (as more and more customers tried our shakes).

– Gautam Param, co-founder of Sustenance

He added that most of their customers were initially non-believers who had never tried meal replacements before. However, after signing up for free samples and purchasing their starter kits, they became converts.

sustenance meal shake
Customers sampling hold meal shakes at a pop-up event / Image credit: Sustenance

“These people who were initially on the fence end up being repeat customers and make a lot of repeat purchases. They would then recommend it to their family and friends – it’s our main source of growth.

To date, its customer base has grown to “several thousand” in the past 12 months, and its products are rated 4.9 out of five stars on several hundred reviews on Google, Facebook and Shopee. Many of these reviews talk about the unexpectedly delicious flavor of shakes despite their green appearance and how filling they are.

sustenance meal shake
Freeze drying versus fresh food / Image credit: Sustenance

By using real whole food ingredients as well as using high-end manufacturing methods such as freeze-drying and enzyme processing, they result in very high production costs, but Gautam felt that this helps to retain the nutritional value of the products. ingredients.

Despite the high costs, their shakes are affordable, ranging from S $ 4.50 to S $ 10.50, depending on the packaging and size of the shakes. In addition to selling directly to customers on their own website, they are also stocked online at the FairPrice supermarket, Watsons local pharmacy, as well as the Shopee and Lazada e-commerce platforms.

The company more than six-fold revenue growth in 2020 and began selling in Hong Kong and Australia in March 2021. It plans to enter two more Asia-Pacific markets by the end of this year. year.

The team is also working on the introduction of a new snack bar in the next six months as an alternative to their milkshakes.

“We aim for the snack bars to deliver the same level of goodness that our meal shakes nutritionally and, most importantly, uphold our philosophy of using minimally processed whole foods,” Gautam said.

To explore Sustenance’s range of meal shakes and find out which ones are right for you, you can visit their website here.

This article is written in collaboration with Sustenance.

Featured Image Credit: Sustenance

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