Austrian Food Startup Saturo Claims It Is Possible To Live Solely On Their Drink

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Entering a highly competitive industry, Austrian startup Saturo is prepared to disrupt the market with their ready to drink meal replacements. CEO Hannes Feistenauer explains how it works:

How would you describe Saturo in a few words?

One bottle, one meal! Saturo is a quick and healthy meal for busy people. It provides all micro and macro nutrients one’s body needs. Every 500ml bottle covers 25% of the daily needs in protein, carbohydrates, lipids, vitamins, and minerals. It is possible to live solely on our drink. We brought the first bottled meal replacement to the European market and will disrupt the existing powdered meal replacement market. It saves a lot of time and enables you to focus on what truly matters to you.

What inspired you to create the food replacement? How did it all start?

Daily life is accelerating and strongly influences our eating habits. Initially, there was fast food. Now you can buy coffee-to-go everywhere and convenience food is available at every gas station. Like many, we were unhappy that convenient eating options were often unhealthy or expensive. Additionally, so much time goes into planning what to eat, buying it, preparing, and cleaning up. Saturo provides a solution for this gap in the marketplace by offering a choice for busy times.

We started experimenting with powdered meal replacements like other startups in our segments such as Soylent, Queal, Jimmy Joy, or Mana. Our powder reached a high quality and we lived on it for weeks during exceptionally busy times. However, the big epiphany was that for a meal to be truly convenient it has to be ready to drink (RTD). Developing an RTD version was our focus for the next months or, almost, a year. On top of the convenience aspect, our drinks have been tested methodically and iteratively improved based on multiple large user group studies to ensure that that not only we but also our customers love it. You can take it out of the fridge at any time and you are good to go. That’s about as convenient as it gets. Nevertheless, we have the next improvements in the pipeline, especially regarding distribution.

You found a team and founding member through StartUs. Tell us a bit about that & the process behind it. How did you find him, what happened next?

That’s actually a quite funny story. I was searching for a Vienna-based expert in marketing. Suddenly, while screening the profiles, I was hearing the voice of god in my headphones speaking to me. Turns out, Kambis Kohansal Vajargah was one of the first people on StartUs to use a video to describe himself and this video activated and played even when not visible on the screen. I knew that I had found my guy.

The food industry is a highly competitive field, with many startups exploring new ways of succeeding within it. Apart from providing Europe’s first meal replacement in a bottle: What makes Saturo stand out of the crowd? What is the key differentiator?

Indeed, it is a fascinating time to work in the food industry. Compared to our immediate competition, our differentiators are rather straightforward: We offer a product that is ready to drink instead of powder. An RTD liquid will always taste better than a powder because a shaker or blender at home just can’t provide the same smooth and uniform texture and viscosity created in a professional filling process. Offering three flavors using high-quality ingredients (such as organic fair trade coffee) makes us stand out of the crowd beside the fact that we are the first to offer it in a convenient bottle in Europe. Producing in Austria, as one of the most renowned producers in Europe, was a logical implication to our aspiration to provide a high quality, healthy meal. Last but not least, our food product development experts made Saturo Original taste great while being vegan, only using natural flavors and being free of sweeteners. As far as we know, no other competitor currently has the know-how to do this.

Compared to food startups in all segments, Saturo Foods and its competitors aim at changing the industry in a wider sense. Our products are more disruptive than “just” another quinoa bar or smoothie. Our drink replaces a full meal, is optimized for the human body and health, and will continue to be developed further in the coming years to achieve optimized nutrition for every individual. Satisfying increasing demand, we offer a plant-based and thus a very sustainable product. The category of optimized foods is currently growing by around a factor 5 each year and will soon represent a standard option when choosing a meal.

Austrian Food Startup Saturo Claims It Is Possible To Live Solely On Their Drink

Saturo’s bottled meals

For millions of people, food is not only a necessity, it’s a passion. How do you think that fact will impact your success?

We absolutely agree that eating is more than just refueling your body. We eat to socialize, or to take a break from work, and obviously also for the sheer pleasure of it. However, many people in our current society are driven by success, always performing at a high level and being under pressure constantly. Our drink is designed to help these people to focus on the things that matter the most to them. It helps them by taking away the burden of thinking about food and, unlike pizza, for example, offering a balanced nutrition by design.

The demand for a healthy diet is continuously increasing and at the same time consumption of fast food is rising. Saturo combines the best of both worlds. Consider how much time and energy people invest to achieve a healthy diet. It is not only the effort of going grocery shopping but also the thinking process about what to eat as well as the preparation and the cleaning afterward.

Are you using Saturo internally? How does that affect the viewpoints of the team?

Of course, how could we champion, explain and sell our drink to our customers if we did not drink it and believe in it ourselves? All team members are potential customers and we expect every one of them to understand the customer journey and experience. This also implies living on Saturo in order to feel what customers feel – to make the product even better. This allows us to fully grasp the benefits of our ready to drink liquid such as the increased focus and clarity it delivers after consumption.

Everybody in our team enjoys it differently. The consumption throughout the week varies depending on the workload and other circumstances. If we have a tight schedule and stay in our office, we tend to squeeze out an additional hour by just drinking it. If we have a bit of time, we go out to eat or prepare something ourselves. This helps us to reflect on our work, take a step aside and look at it from a different angle. It also depends on the type: Coffee gives the extra boost in the morning or before sports, Chocolate taste is loved by many and Original is very subtle and pleasant if you drink your meal several times a day.

What is the most memorable moment throughout the history of Saturo so far?

It is the experience of providing value to customers and being a part of the ecosystem, as corny as that sounds. People who do not work in startups assume, that one works there for money or fame. I doubt that this mindset is successful. Creating a high-quality product is both hard work and art. Seeing customers, such as entrepreneurs, gamers, scientists, and musicians ordering our product to fuel their dreams is truly inspiring! There is no better feeling than knowing that your focus on delivering a great product enables a DJ you love to deliver a better set on stage and have a great night with the crowd, just to name my favorite example with our product.

If there is one thing you could wish for in improving the European startup ecosystem – what would it be?

If there was only one thing we could wish for, it is the reduction of legal hurdles to establish a company. Why not have a single website to enter all legal information at once and the system starts the processes at all the different administrations. This would not only save time and money but also focus founders’ energy on the single important thing: Developing a product or service that delivers value to customers.

However, while founding a business currently has its hurdles, it does not stop companies from being successful. And due to Saturo Foods being based in Vienna, we are very excited about the current commitment from Austria’s chancellor Christian Kern to improving the national startup ecosystem. Looking into the future, we hope that the Brexit does not decrease Continental Europe startups’ access to the important UK market and vice versa.

Lastly, what’s one piece of advice you can give to fellow founders for their startup?

Well, information is already more than plentiful out there. You just have to apply it in your startup which obviously is easier said than done. The most important advice as most founders will tell you: fail forward quickly. Talk to other founders and do not re-invent the wheel outside of your core competencies.

And be sure to start your startup for the right reasons which sometimes seems to get forgotten at glamorous startup events. In Elon Musk’s words: “A startup is like chewing glass and staring into the abyss”. If that does not stop you, you have found your cause, can expect a fair chance of success, and we wish you good luck with your endeavor!




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