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How Two Ex-GB Athletes Disrupted Sports Nutrition

By Lee Forster, Co-founder at Neat Nutrition. 11th May 2020

Neat nutrition cover photo

Tell us about Neat Nutrition

In 2015, myself and my co-founder, Charlie Turner, launched Neat Nutrition with the goal of making protein powder accessible to anyone pursuing a healthy lifestyle. We wanted to take protein to the next level, to leave behind the ‘big tub’ mentality and offer something different in an intimidating market saturated by complex claims.

Since launching, and with a hugely positive response from both our customers and the media, we’ve evolved our offering into a personalised subscription service - offering both our whey and vegan protein powders in convenient, single-serve sachets.

Thanks to our awesome community of consumers that continue to champion our brand; we’ve now sold over a million protein shakes, won Men’s Health Reader’s Choice Best New Product in 2017, we’ve built key relationships with lululemon, Soho House, Net-a-Porter and Mr Porter and have had incredible features in the press from the likes of Vogue, Women’s Health, Men’s Health, GQ & Esquire.

What were you doing before you founded Neat and how has this helped shape your experience so far?

As former GB swimmers, Charlie and I spent 7 days a week training to race. This experience has undeniably had a huge impact on everything we’ve done with Neat and even inspired its inception! Despite being ex-athletes with years of education from top coaches and nutrition experts, we became increasingly frustrated with the confusing nature of sports supplements. Struggling to find anyone who was offering high-quality, well-sourced protein products with a great provenance chain behind them, we decided to set about doing this ourselves.

But my career as a professional swimmer did more than just inspire Neat’s launch; it has also been a key part of my mindset whilst pushing through the challenges of building a successful business. When transitioning from an athlete to the CEO of Neat Nutrition, that single-mindedness from racing came flooding back, and I think both myself and Charlie walked away from swimming wanting to prove a point that we could do amazing things outside of that arena.

You need to be able to adapt, evolve and utilise the same mental capacity, drive and passion that you had as an athlete. When this is applied in the right way, you’ve got a truly phenomenal weapon to go out there and achieve something amazing.

What makes Neat Nutrition different?

At Neat we’ve always prided ourselves on our innovation and an ability to stay ahead of the curve within a competitive landscape. Back in 2015, we launched our simple, no-nonsense protein powders to offer a lifestyle alternative to the intimidating ‘big tubs’ and confusing products found in the over-saturated sports nutrition market. In January 2019, we evolved again, changing our business model to offer personalised protein subscriptions that better served the needs of our modern, on-the-go consumers.

However, as our products and offerings may continue to grow and develop, I believe that it’s our drive and passion for the simplicity and provenance of what we’re doing that truly makes Neat different. We’re committed to giving our consumers high-quality nutrition products and advice that best serves their individual lifestyles. To us, there’s nothing more important than building an amazing brand that not only has a product but also supports people throughout their health and fitness journeys; no matter who they are and how they might train.

Why have you decided to launch a crowdfunding campaign?

Because community has always been at the core of Neat Nutrition and we want this awesome group of Neat supporters to truly be able to shape our business. They really are the best people to become our newest shareholders, and it’s awesome to give them the opportunity to benefit from our success as we continue to grow.

In return for their backing, we’ll be able to give them the things we know they want from us. We’re committed to using this raise to focus on the development of plant-based blends, delivering delicious and purposeful plant-based products, sourcing our ingredients responsibly and empowering under-served communities of growers. The success of our campaign will also open up new distribution channels and help us to gain B-Corp status, joining many global brands in pledging our desire to do the best by our community, customers, workers and environment.

What’s the biggest learning from your journey with Neat?

That the best plan to have is that nothing will ever go “to plan”. As soon as you start rigidly trying to say that X has to happen at Y point in time to give you Z result, you are almost certainly setting yourself up to fail. One of the things I love most about our team at Neat is the fluidity of how we work; it means we get things done quicker and stay reactive in a constantly challenging and changing environment.

Learn more and invest in Neat Nutrition, here.

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