LOS ANGELES, United States — The founder of multi-million dollar snack brand Hippeas is betting big on personalisation with the launch of a new wellness brand Buddy Nutrition.
The personalised nutrition platform, which will offer customisable functional foods and supplements, is backed by Forerunner Ventures and Strand Equity, placing the startup in company with Birchbox, Glossier, HUM Nutrition, Flywheel, Chopt and Vita Coco.
According to President of Buddy Nutrition, Dan Obegi, the brand will ‘eliminate the need for a daily handful of pills and easily align with a modern fast-paced lifestyle’.
“Today’s customers demand brands and products that provide them with a tailored experience. We provide access to side-by-side product development, led by the expertise of nutrition buddies,” he commented.
Alongside Livio Bisterzo, founder of Buddy Nutrition and CEO of the brand’s holding company, Green Park Brands — best known for bringing some of the world’s fastest-growing natural snack brands to market, including HIPPEAS, Ugly Water and Mavericks Snacks — Obegi has been tasked with growing the startup into the foremost leader in the nutrition segment of the health and wellness industry.
Its first product launch, a customised direct-to-consumer smoothie shot, will be fortified with additional nutritional ingredients to achieve specific goals beyond basic macro nutrition. Customers will have the option to alter formulas by adding vitamins, minerals, and botanicals to fit unique lifestyle and fitness needs, along with the desired level of each added ingredient. They’ll also be given the opportunity to alter the formula as personal goals are reached and interests change. A protein powder will quickly follow, with bars and snacks also said to be in the pipeline.
The aim is for the brand to become a go-to nutrition expert for consumers. “Buddy Nutrition does the research, custom blends products just for you, so you have one less thing to worry about,” said an official statement.
With personalised nutrition touted to be the future of food, a growing number of new and heritage brands are tapping into the space. Just last month Mars signed an agreement to acquire a significant majority stake in German functional food and beverage company Foodspring.
The startup will join Mars Edge, an offshoot of Mars dedicated to human health and wellness through targeted nutrition.
Campbell Soup Company and Nestlé have also set their sights on the category. In 2016, Campbell’s invested $32 million in Habit, a DNA-based personalised nutrition service. Nestle meanwhile has also launched an ambitious health program that uses DNA testing, social media shares and artificial intelligence to create personalised diet plans targeting health-conscious consumers.
The initiative, currently running in Japan already has 100,000 members signed up at a cost of $600 (£463) per year.
Despite growing competition, Bisterzo’s proven track record of starting successful businesses across multiple industries is sure to put him in good stead. Having already succeeded in turning the snacking category on its head with Hippeas, the serial entrepreneur who recently stepped down as the brand’s CEO is ready for his next challenge.