Beverage Startups

Vitaline – Full Meal in a Bottle for an Optimal Nutrition

Vitaline - Full Meal in a Bottle for an Optimal NutritionVitaline – a stimulating drinkable meal with more than 35 natural and complete ingredients. Introduced to France market in december 2015 Vitaline is ready to enter the rest of Europe as well. Today, I have the pleasure of talking with Sébastien Worms – Co Founder of Vitaline and Marketing Manager.

Every brand has an interesting story behind it. How did the whole story of Vitaline start?

Vitaline history started back in 2014 with a casual conversation with Alexis, one of my best friends from Engineering School. I was using complete food from an american brand for their simplicity and because I had always been very active and needed a lot of calories throughout the day. Alexis is the nutritionist of our group of friends and he warned me about the poor nutritional quality of some of the ingredients, and then said “I am sure I could do better”. Well… I took his word for it and here we are today with Vitaline !

What challenges did you face during the development of this beverage line?

As we wanted a really perfect product nutrition-wise, we had to go through a lot of steps to get the taste to be acceptable with such a variety of ingredients (Vitaline contains more than 35 natural ingredients, essential to get an optimal diversity of nutrients). I have to admit that our firsts batches did not taste great !

We had to find the answer to a lot of different questions, common in the startup world : how to build the best team and choose our partners, whether to start a fundraising campaign or to start selling directly and build our customer base (we started selling straight away and now have a strong consumer base with a repeat customer rate of 70%).

As I mentioned before, Vitaline is a drinkable meal with more than 35 ingredients. Which ones are the main ingredients of your beverages?

Since early February, we have two ranges of products.

Vitaline DAILY is a complete mix optimised nutritionally for the long term and adapted to everyone, easy to consume in any circumstance and perfect to swap your quick sandwich with a complete and healthy meal that will keep you full for longer.

Vitaline - Full Meal in a Bottle for an Optimal Nutrition

For these products the main ingredients for carbs are oats for the sweet versions and buckwheat, rice and chestnut for the savory one. They all contain a wide variety of fruits and vegetable as well as superfood such as spirulina, chlorella, maca and a. 50% of the 20g of protein (per 100g) comes from whole ingredients and the rest is milk and pea protein, ideal for muscle reconstruction.

Our latest range is called “CATALYST”, especially created for specific situations and nutritional needs. The first product of this range is Vitaline IGNITE, a pre-sport product. It is still a complete food product and, unlike most of sport nutrition product, does not require any supplement. It contains a few energy ingredients such as creatine, guarana and ginseng for the best energy release during training.

Right now, there are 4 different flavors of Vitaline. Are you planning to release new flavors any time soon? Which one is your favorite?

Of course, why stop now ? 😉  We are planning on launching two new ones this year, probably two savory ones after the success of our Carrot-Turmeric version. We are also working on new formats (ready to drink and bar to eat) along with our Catalysts products (Recovery, Focus and Recharge).

Our consumers’ favorite seems to be the savory version with hot water, which tastes like a soup, and the almond version for the sweet ones. And my favorite one is clearly Cacao !

How would you recommend consuming your drinks to gain the best drinking experience?

In general, the sweet versions are great with very cold water and the savory one with hot water.

But consumption preferences really depend on each person ! I for example really like a porridge-like version, with a smaller amount of water (works well with cacao and almond!). I eat it from a bowl sometimes with fruits. Others would prefer it very liquid and with very cold water. Some of our consumers also like to blend it with fruits such as banana for a smoother texture and add ingredients to their taste like cinnamon, honey etc.

Vitaline - Full Meal in a Bottle for an Optimal NutritionThe beverage industry is quite competitive. What makes Vitaline differ in the beverage market?

Our nutritional values are definitely our main difference from French and European competitors, and the one we try to highlight the most through our communication.

We focus on providing a complete meal that is not only healthy and balanced, it’s optimised nutritionally. That means it contains the exact quantities of nutrients in the best qualities for the body and brain to function at their best, in the short and long term.

The Pilot Program that we have launched in February is something that I think was missing in the industry : the chance for consumers to try products still in the development phase and the ability for companies to adapt very quickly to their feedback.

What would you say is your biggest achievement so far?

To have succeeded in making our company prosper during two years already, especially on the French market which is particularly demanding on food! But this is only the beginning, we still have a long way to go and Europe is reaching out to us.

The biggest challenges are ahead of us despite everything. We will have to continue to develop the best product despite the competition that is emerging daily, to know how to explain our nutritional qualities to our consumers because it is a complicated product. And of course, we will have to build the best team with whom we will be happy to work for a long time.

Where do you see Vitaline in five years from now?

With a full range of CATALYST products, conceived to answer specific needs. Our new formats will be declined in different flavors and we’ll have opened deliveries to international countries.

Vitaline - Full Meal in a Bottle for an Optimal NutritionWe are also working on our distribution, 5 years from now, you’ll probably be able to find our products in specific selling points such as gyms or fitness stores, coworking spaces, transportation areas and every other locations where people need convenient, healthy and specific meals.

What advice can you give to other beverage startups?

Focus on your product ! It’s a lot of small things that lead to success but product is definitely the most important to start with.

For more information visit Vitaline website.

About Ugne Butkute

Ugnė Butkutė is a project manager at DrinkPreneur. Ugnė is responsible for attracting contributors, maintaining quality of content and keeping readers satisfied with DrinkPreneur

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