FoodTech pioneer Powdies in the best of health
A meeting of Cambridge University doctors and engineers, working to solve food security and sustainability, led to the founding of Powdies in 2019.
Consuming adequate amounts of fruits and vegetables is the key to good health and wellbeing. As recommended by Public Health England, each person should have an intake of at least five portions of fruits and vegetables a day to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer.
However, with busy city lives, many people struggle to find the time to cook and eat as healthily as they wish to. In the UK alone, over 75 per cent of the population do not achieve their 5-a-day. This poor dietary habit not only impacts individuals, but also burdens our healthcare services and is costly to our nation.
In view of this, co-founder Dr Carina Tyrrell and colleagues launched Powdies with a simple mission – to make the world a healthier place with natural convenient nutrition from whole fruits and vegetables, rather than supplements. Incidentally, the enterprise was dubbed Powdies during a brainstorming session at the Judge and reflects the powdered nature of the product.
Dr Tyrrell tells Business Weekly: “At Powdies, we developed a range of drink mix sachets to help the ethically health conscious population get the essential nutrients and fibre from 3.5 portions of whole fruits and vegetables, by simply adding water to form a delicious drink on the go!
“The drinks are 100 per cent natural, organic, and fair-trade with no added sugar. Not only does it nourish our body and mind naturally, our products are also helping to reduce food waste and promote food security.”
Powdies has grown over the years from an idea on paper to a product distributed across the UK. The team has expanded from three co-founders to now a team of seven comprising permanent members and advisers across the globe. This includes manufacturing and R & D engineers, nutritional researchers, a public health physician, as well as marketing leads and business advisors.
Powdies is currently selling its nutritious drink mixes directly to customers online in the UK (www.powdies.com/shop). Dr Tyrrell adds: “With our multinational experience and background, we are working on expanding the distribution globally and are looking forward to sharing our products with the wider world.”
The company has won several awards and funding, including pre-seed money from Downing Enterprise and the Royal Academy of Engineering. The company is growing so remains keen to speak to other potential investors and partners.
Dr Tyrrell said: “We strongly believe eating vegetables and fruits should never be a hassle. Therefore our mission at Powdies is to make a healthy, plant-rich, wholefood diet an easy, enjoyable and ethical experience for everyone. We hope to expand globally and lead the way in healthy and sustainable drink production, helping to overcome the global challenges modern society faces in areas including public health, climate change, and food security.
“The world has seen a continuous growth and increasing trend of green consumerism and health consciousness. There is a large emerging global market for functional drinks, expected to reach over $200 billion by 2024.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has also highlighted the importance of a healthy lifestyle and a strong immune system. We provide a busy population, which is ethical and health conscious, with a solution to this increased demand.”
The team is grateful for its involvement with the Accelerate programme run by Cambridge Judge Business School.
Dr Tyrrell says: “The Cambridge Judge Business School has played an indispensable role in the development of Powdies from the very early stage. We grew from the CJBS Venture Creation Weekend on Food Sustainability, where we were awarded First Prize and the Crowd Favourite Award. This later led us to joining the Accelerate programme. We were so grateful to be part of the Accelerate programme during our venture journey, as it has given us the opportunity to develop a diverse and invaluable skill set, including pitching, business strategy planning, and fund raising.
“The tailored coaching sessions from subject leaders on the programme have helped the company grow into what it is today. The entrepreneurial spirit at the CJBS has helped to bring passionate people together who share similar visions.”