Blendi Smoothies For Time Poor Millennials

18 Oct 2017 | 10.45 am

Blendi Smoothies For Time Poor Millennials

Dublin startup Blendi to sell sliced-and-diced smoothie ingredients packs

18 Oct 2017 | 10.45 am

Go-getting millennials don’t have time to chop ingredients for their power smoothies, so startup Blendi will do that job for them. Founded by Yvonne Dolan and her son, Shane Dolan, Blendi sells packs of freeze-dried ingredients for smoothies that still manage to keep their nutrients intact.

The Blendi range currently has four options for smoothie ingredients, variously focused on detoxing, providing energy, improving gut flora and skin health. Fruit, vegetables and fibres are among the ingredients, which are also vegan and have no added sugar. Blendi is initially planning to sell its produce in bulk packs through its website, with prices of between €15 (for four) to €275 for 96 servings. The products will officially launch in November this year.

Ballymaloe Training

Yvonne is a Ballymaloe-trained chef who has also successfully run and exited several food-oriented startups. The mumtrepreneur says that the idea for Blendi emerged after her son Shane (16) brainstormed ideas for rehydrated food on the go. Yvonne was convinced there had to be a market for a healthier version of Pot Noodles.

The founders got the blender out and added dried beetroot, raspberries, blueberries, goji berries. They were impressed with the resulting mixture and decided to form a business. “All the dried ingredients are sourced organically and where possible from European producers. The mixtures are freeze-dried for us before we receive them,” says Yvonne.

Much thought went into identifying the right target market, Yvonne adds. “Who is looking for healthy plant-based beverages? Who wants new innovation in functional healthy food? It became clear that the overall consumption of Blendi would be dominated by the millennials.”

Yvonne is eyeing Germany and Scandinavia as possible further markets for Blendi, once it’s launched in Ireland. The plan is to sell online and in a B2B capacity, supplying companies that operate employee ‘wellness’ initiatives. “Each employee would have their own cup, to which they add Blendi, water and a 40-second blend. Then they are back to their chair with a Blendi ‘desk’fast. Liquid breakfast scarcely existed 20 years but the market is set to grow by 46% by 2022.”

Blendi’s soon-to-be-launched products will benefit from their strong branding. Yvonne says that she got lucky in finding someone to help with it. Through LinkedIn, she asked UK marketing company Osborne Pike – whose clients include Heineken and Unilever — if it would back a startup.

“They laughed and said they were not in that type of business. But when I explained the Blendi concept, the following week I found myself in the UK, pitching Blendi to a boardroom of marketing gurus. They loved the idea and wanted in for a 5% equity stake,” she explains.

As well as Osborne Pike, other investors on board for the startup include Enterprise Ireland, which is providing €50,000 Competitive Start Funding and a place on its HPSU list. Scaling the business could involve a number of new directions, says Yvonne. “We are working with a UK multinational to develop a pairing product to go with Blendi.”

Based in Dublin BIC premises, Blendi rents kitchen facilities from Teagasc in Ashtown. Yvonne says that she is looking to bring in an experienced executive to help her get the business going on solid footing. “Our biggest challenge now is to move fast. We have our product, brand and enormous potential global market, but we need a distribution channel or partner into Europe and beyond. This can only happen with collaboration.”

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