Saturday, August 20, 2022

Work harder than you ever did before

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Sabine Elsässer
Sabine Elsässer is founder and chief editor of the StartupValleyNews Magazine. She started her career at several international direct sale companys. Since 2007 she works main time as a journalist. While that time she learned more about the Startup Scene, what made her start her own Startup Magazine the StartupValleyNews.

YFood Labs, developed a drink which replaces a complete meal in a convenient, healthy and affordable way

Please introduce yourself and your Startup YFood Labs to our readers!
Gladly. We, the team behind YFood Labs, developed a drink which replaces a complete meal in a convenient, healthy and affordable way. YFood was made for stressful days when there is no time for proper food and when you don’t want to gorge on unhealthy fast food. YFood satisfies your hunger without being hard on the stomach and gives you constant energy over the day by supplying you with over 33g Proteins, 27 Vitamins & Minerals, essential Omega 3 fatty acids and important fiber. In brief: A delicious ready-to-drink meal when it has to be quick. Starting from EUR 2.69/bottle we currently sell all over Europe through our online store, free shipping included.

How did you get the idea for YFood?
We (Noel and Benjamin) came up with the idea for YFood while working in Investment Banking. Constantly encountering busy days and long hours at some point we just had enough of skipping breakfast and eating unhealthy fast-food at our office desks. During his university studies in the US, Noel met a few “techies” who were drinking self-prepared (from powder) meal replacement shakes instead of eating proper food. They had been replacing food like this for months and said they felt better than ever before. While we found it much too extreme to completely replace food, we saw value in replacing specific meals, like breakfast or unhealthy junk food during the day.

One thing we however disliked about the US meal replacement shakes was their taste. While Noel’s techies were willing to sacrifice taste over functionality we thought that the health aspect of a drink should not need to compensate for its taste. Back then we formed the goal to develop a well tasting ready-to-drink meal while still offering great nutritional value. The idea of YFood was born.

How difficult was the start and what challenges did you have to overcome?
The most difficult part was to realize the vision we had of our product and take it to serial production. As we didn’t have an educational background in food engineering we needed to source the respective know-how externally. Many people in the industry told us that our idea (a premixed shake) was not realizable, as they saw a major problem in giving the product a long shelf-life without destroying its vitamins and minerals through pasteurization. After a long and exhausting search, a lucky shot brought us to Dr. Martin Haug, one of the leading German food engineers, who developed the prototype in coordination with us.

After having developed the prototype we were however facing the same problem again when looking for a manufacturer. The development of our product requires a high-tech ultra-heat treatment technology, which most manufacturers couldn’t offer. After having talked to over 100 potential producers from all over Europe, we partnered up with one of the leading European manufactures of enriched beverages. Their long-standing experience enabled us to perfect our prototype and bring it to serial production.

Who is your target audience?
YFood is food for Generation Y. Typically aged between 18 and 35 its members are more mobile- and attribute a greater value to self-improvement/self-fulfillment than any other generation before. We developed YFood to give this generation the opportunity to replace the kind of meals, which they usually cannot enjoy anyways. Instead of a hasty breakfast on the way to work or unhealthy junk food during the day we enable them to save valuable time for reaching their goals while still keeping a healthy diet. Our main target audience includes amongst others: Young Professionals, Students/Pupils, Salesmen, Athletes and Travelers.

What is the USP of your Startup?
YFood is one of the very few food products solving the triangle problem of Time, Money and Health which is increasingly encountered by Generation Y due to rising job demands, stagnating wages and increasing health awareness.
Additionally, we are the first ready-to-drink meal from Germany and probably the best tasting one in all of Europe. This is due to our lactose-free low-fat milk base instead of the soy base most of our competitors use.

Can you describe a typical workday of yours?
No day is like another, which we consider as one of the great things in Entrepreneurship.
We usually try to reach out to our development team and manufacturer each day to check on the status of new product development and discuss the general aspects of production. We also dedicate a lot of time to planning new marketing campaigns (online and offline) and closely monitor the effectiveness of in-place campaigns based on specific KPIs. Of course, there are also less interesting admin tasks, like tax topics or cash flow management.

Where do you see yourself and YFood in five years?
Being the first Ready-to-Drink Meal from Germany, we aim at becoming the European market leader for meal replacement lifestyle products. We are working extremely hard to improve ourselves constantly and are confident that we will have achieved this goal in 5 years’ time. Until then we will have extended our product portfolio accordingly to cover the full range of meal replacement products. In addition to the new flavors we will release in October, we specifically will soon introduce a powder based self-prep solution for more price sensitive customers like students. We also plan to soon introduce power bars for mobile customers who don’t want to abstain from chewing but still strive for a quick and healthy way to replace a full meal.

What 3 tips would you give other Start-up founders on the way?
1. Don’t listen to the naysayers.
Stick to your visions and plans even if most people will tell you that what you try is impossible. We received at least 100 rejections while searching for a suitable production partner.

2. Be persistent and always have a plan B.
There will be a lot of setbacks on the way and many things won’t go the way planned. Always have a plan B to which you can quickly switch if necessary.

3. Work harder than you ever did before.
We thought there are no longer hours than in investment banking. Well guess what, there are. If you’re not willing to perform to the maximum there is a good chance that one of your competitors will be and will simply outperform you.

More information you will find here

Thank you Noel Bollmann und Benjamin Kremer for the Interview

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.

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