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Measuring success by nutritional impact

Mar 26 2014 12:18
Carin Smith
Durban - From humble beginnings, the nutrition company Futurelife has grown since it was founded in 2008.

It provides all-in-one health food products and its customers vary from professional athletes to diabetics.

Operating in the functional food market, Futurelife, has announced their expansion into the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at the recent GulFood Show that took place in February.

Entrepreneur Paul Saad identified a need to develop the most nutritious affordable product. It had to taste great by just adding water.

Saad established a research team comprising doctors and nutritionists, who took two years to develop a product.

Fin24 asked Saad about his journey as entrepreneur.

How did you decide to become an entrepreneur?

Entrepreneurship is a strong characteristic of the Saad family and was always encouraged.

My father was an early example to me. He was a founding partner and managing director of a firm of chartered accountants in Durban.

After achieving my qualifications in accounting at the then University of Natal, Durban campus, and at a London institution, I chose to start a business of my own rather than join my father’s firm.

It was a big decision, but fortunately my father understood my entrepreneurial drive. He had always encouraged his children to pursue their own interests.

Another testimony to this is my brother Steven, who is co-founder and CEO of Aspen Pharmacare Holdings.

What lessons did you learn?

I gained knowledge and understanding of manufacturing and labour. Of particular significance was my realisation that in these industries you cannot create a brand.

Rather, it is consistent efficiency that is the key to maintaining your position in the market place. You are as good as your last order.

Furthermore, success is not only determined by material gain. Your success can also be measured by the impact you have on the lives of others.

What was the gap in the market you saw?

Through the experience I had gained in the food manufacturing business and my exposure to the plight of malnourished and disadvantaged people in sub-Saharan Africa, I identified a need to develop the most nutritious and affordable product.

It had to taste great by just adding water and was to contain the highest quality ingredients.

Since then, Futurelife has become one of the fastest growing and most credible health brands in the Functional Food market in South Africa, offering a variety of products that transcend consumer demographics.

Futurelife is enjoyed by consumers ranging from top Olympians to families, recovering patients and factory workers.  

What is your advice for other entrepreneurs?

Believe, believe, believe, but never lose sight of reality. Everyone has different talents.

Explore your particular passion or interest, whatever it may be. Doing what you enjoy maximises your chance of success.

Any future plans?

Yes. Having established a strong foothold in the South African market, we have plans to expand into other African and international markets, having recently launched into the UAE.

Product innovation is also a key part of our future plan. We have recently launched Futurelife Zero and Futurelife Smartbars.

What are trends in your industry?

GMO is becoming a major concern to a growing number of consumers.

Gluten free is another product feature that people are on the lookout for.

Understanding what you eat and how it impacts your life is of growing importance to South Africans, including low LSM groups.

We all live busy lives and as a consequence, search for healthy and convenient meal solutions to accommodate this lifestyle.

There is also a growing awareness of consuming sugar in excess.

Futurelife’s growth of 107% versus the cereal category growth of 7%, further highlights consumer demand for healthy alternatives such as Futurelife.

We have seen the emergence of copycat products.

Consumers need to make informed decisions about the products they purchase and know what to look out for in a healthy food product.

entrepreneurs  |  health  |  nutrition  |  small business


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