Personalized Meal Replacement Startup Taps Key Nutritional Trends
Unnatural, Original idea of the entrepreneurs of The Protein Works (TPW), Sees customers complete a quick online questionnaire about their diet, health goals, allergies and lifestyle, in order to receive a box of portion-packed meal replacements that promise to contain the ideal amount of protein , fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals for their needs.
Mark Coxhead, CEO and Founder of Abnormal and TPW, explains why he felt there was a gap in the market for such a service.
“Consumer perception of meal replacements has really changed. Previously, they were seen as focused on weight loss, with many brands targeting women, but we’ve seen this offering become more of a lifestyle product and a healthy choice when consumed as a replacement for junk food or skipping meals.
“At the same time, we’ve seen a number of trends, including strong growth in personalization, with people demanding products developed specifically for their needs.
“There was also growing interest in subscription services, with Gusto and HelloFresh increasingly popular during the lockdown, and this model proliferating other categories such as pet food. “
Ecommerce is another trend spurred by COVID as consumers have become more comfortable buying everything online, he says.
“The other big trend in many industries is sustainable packaging. With Abnormal, we tick all of these boxes. “
The brand launched in the UK in February this year, with the team only investing in marketing in recent months. Customers receive a free trial pack of seven sachets, along with a free shaker, before signing up to receive their first bundle of 30 meals for £ 59.99. They can also choose the flavor of each serving, with a choice of: vanilla, strawberry, chocolate and banana.
Thanks to the online questionnaire that all customers fill out, the team is able to continuously obtain information about their customers.
Some interesting information includes the fact that 85-90% of clients aim to lose at least some weight, and 95% of clients do not get the recommended amount of fiber in their daily diet.
The data also shows that about 50% of customers want dairy-free shakes, and the majority of customers don’t go to the gym at all.
“I find it really interesting that Abnormal is targeting this non-gym user market, as TPW’s customer base is dominated by gym enthusiasts.
“This shows that meal replacements are more likely to appeal to people looking for alternative weight management methods.
“We find that the majority of our consumers are busy lifestyles who struggle to find healthy take-out options for breakfast and lunch.
And to tick that sustainability box, each abnormal meal uses individual paper-based pouches and is an end-to-end plastic-free product. The box even uses a design that doesn’t require any adhesives in its construction.
With consumer ethics in mind, the brand also donates to the global anti-hunger charity, Share The Meal, whenever a subscription box is sent.