How we are launching during a pandemic

A man with PPE holding a tub of Protein Rebel

When we first started developing the idea of ‘Protein Rebel’ 16 months’ ago, we knew the journey to getting our protein powders launched wouldn’t be easy.

One of the first hurdles to overcome was to navigate the regulations of bringing to market a new type of protein – crickets! We needed to source a reputable and quality cricket supplier which operated high welfare and ethical standards. Plus, because of a new law in December 2019, certain countries were excluded from supplying edible insects and so our pool of potential suppliers was reduced overnight. We talked to several specialists from the areas of food production, agriculture and nutrition and even picked the brains of university professors. And we also worked closely with food safety regulators to establish how to best use crickets as food. This helped us to develop a safe and legal process for using this exciting new ingredient in our protein powders.

And then there’s the normal things you need to put in place when starting a business – sourcing quality ingredients, experimenting with recipes, brand building, consumer research. And just as we were making headway and in the position to consider launching, the pandemic struck. It wasn’t something we had planned for!

It’s potentially our toughest challenge yet – How to launch a business when most of the country is in ‘lockdown’. We adjusted our plans from selling via physical retailers and online, to purely online. This meant we needed to reconfigure our pack size to optimise it for postal delivery. In line with our desire for fair pricing we wanted to include free delivery while sticking to the same price for our consumers, so quick work on the calculator was needed. We had to adjust our thinking, and quickly!

And of course, the anxiety set in! Talk about mental health! We’ve been asking ourselves countless questions such as “Are we crazy to launch in the middle of a pandemic?” and “Will people still want protein powders when gyms are closed?”

But if there’s one thing we’ve learnt throughout this process, it’s that you need to have faith! Plus, more people than ever seem to be running and taking to their bikes, and when faced with a life-threatening virus, people are realising that being as healthy as possible is key. And with many people having less time than ever before as they juggle work and new demands such as home schooling, a quick, easy and healthy protein drink is a great alternative to an unhealthy snack or meal. Of course, across the country, the realisation is setting in that climate change is a very real threat and things need to change. So, products with a low impact on the planet will only become more popular.

We are just weeks away from our launch and the virus continues to keep us on our toes and throw us fresh challenges. We have adapted our plans, added a fair amount of craziness and kept going so that we can make Protein Rebel a reality. It’s not about doing the same old stuff but adapting and doing stuff better.

Yes, we are crazy but with madness happening all around us, I’m sure we aren’t alone!

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