The Story Behind The Energy Gel - Lecka Germany

The Story Behind The Energy Gel

From Our Founder Markus:

 

The story behind the Lecka Nutrition Energy Gel product.
In 2023, we were facing a point where we could either focus on the healthy snack industry or we would double down on the endurance nutrition market. Our first product line, the Energy Bar, is a strange one. It fits into snacks and it fits into sports. Where do we go from there?
Creating more snack products would give us a bigger market, especially in Southeast Asia, right now. It would be more competitive. It would require more investment into marketing. Low margin, high volume kind of play.
It didn't sit right with us. We felt we belong into the endurance world. Trail running, ultra running, triathlon, you name it. It meant we will not be able to have a big market in our home markets in Southeast Asia. In the premium sport market in Vietnam for example, we had already reached a ceiling with our Energy Bars (unless we want to go mass, cheap, volume).
So, we decided to take two steps:
1) Create more endurance focused products.
2) Launch in more endurance markets world wide.
I will cover 2) in another post.
I love developing new products. For me, this is the most fun part of my job. It gets me to interact with many amazing athletes.
When asking our community of retail partners, athletes and clubs, it was quite clear that the most commonly used items are energy gels and hydration powders.
Let's do a gel! Hold on, there are already 50+ other big brands out there...
However, once you start digging into it, it turns out that pretty much 99% of those gels are made with the same recipe concept. Some kind of mixture of dextrin/glucose, potassium and (natural/artificial) flavoring (crazy margins I can tell you...).
Many of those gels are not easy to digest and cause gastrointestinal (GI) distress (aka have a high vomit rate).
There are only a few other brands out there who have tried to do something different, especially Spring Energy and Huma. Kudos to them.
Pretty fast it got clear that we have a major advantage in Vietnam: there is an abundance of fruits we can use for our gels!
We can produce the gel where the ingredients are harvested. We can cut down the time from the farm to factory to less than 18 hours.
A banana comes from the farm, and is processed into a gel within 18 hours. Picture that. Beat that.
After trying a variety of ingredients and fruit combos, we received the best feedback on our banana and passion fruit flavours. We added brown rice syrup, basil seeds, electrolytes (sodium, magnesium, potassium) and citric acid.
We had to ensure > 12 months shelf life and introduced the retort sterilisation process.
It took us 7 months to test the packaging material, the different fruits, the right consistency. And the products are still not perfect yet.
But we are excited to release this version to the market and get going. Feedback is for me the best way to get better.
Also, we are working on some new flavours, made from tropical fruits too!
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