Liquid meal startup Ambro is looking to provide quick nutrition to busy professionals who want real, organic food items in their food substitute.

Led by a group of Finnish health and outdoors enthusiasts, Ambro was inspired by the work of Soylent founder Rob Rhinehart.

"We're looking to create a two-minute meal from organic sources," says co-founder Simo Suihimo. (Soylent uses chemical powders.)

Ambro aims to be a complete nutritional source--one that contains ingredients you might find in Whole Foods.

Ambro contains whey protein, quinoa, whole grain rice, organic almonds, organic pecans, organic hazelnut, raw cocoa, Finnish berries (like sea buckthorn), and more.

2013-12-05

Co.Exist

Soylent Meets Whole Foods: Ambro Is An Organic, High-End Meal Replacement Shake

The buzzy liquid meal substitute market just got more crowded with a crunchy new entry made of natural ingredients instead of chemical powders. Drink up!

If all the hype around food replacement startup Soylent is to be believed, there is a large swath of people (mainly, it seems, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs) who are content to replace their regular meals with a chemical slurry that supposedly contains all the nutritional elements necessary for a healthy diet.

Maybe Soylent will take off among people outside the Silicon Valley bubble. Even if it does, liquid meal startup called Ambro thinks that another market is just waiting to be tapped: busy professionals who want real, organic food items...in their food substitute.

Led by a group of Finnish health and outdoors enthusiasts, Ambro was inspired by the work of Soylent founder Rob Rhinehart. "That's why we contacted Rob early on during product development," says Ambro cofounder Simo Suoheimo. "It's the same pieces of the puzzle from a different viewpoint. We're looking to create a two-minute meal from organic sources." Rhinehart, in comparison, is creating a cheap two-minute meal from chemical powders.

Ambro aims to be a complete nutritional source--one that contains ingredients you might find in Whole Foods. Ambro contains whey protein, quinoa, whole grain rice, organic almonds, organic pecans, organic hazelnut, raw cocoa, Finnish berries (like sea buckthorn), and more. The mixture, says Suoheimo, was developed in partnership with doctors and nutrition specialists.

A small camp of enthusiasts (and journalists) have tried to live on Soylent without eating anything else. Suoheimo stresses that people shouldn't do that with Ambro. While it provides enough nutrients, it's intended to be more of a "meal enhancement" than a meal replacement.

"We love cooking good meals. We want to enjoy the meals, take the time, and enjoy the whole social event," he says. Ambro is a replacement for microwaved mac and cheese, not a gourmet dinner.

Still, that mac and cheese probably tastes better than Ambro, whose creators put nutrition and purity of raw materials--no artificial flavoring, preservatives, or colors--ahead of taste. Suoheimo says that the mixture tastes like raw cacao and nuts. That's not revolting, but it's not a flavor most people crave, either.

Unlike Soylent, Ambro is not cheap, and it never will be. "When you have one of the least densely populated places in northern Europe, and you go and pick berries there, you definitely aren't looking at a discount product, that's for sure," says Suoheimo. But he believes that there are enough busy people searching for a way to eat healthily who don't want to spend time on cooking two or three meals a day. "We want to make healthy eating as easy as breathing," he says.

It's a safe bet that the people willing and able to shell out for Ambro are people who are already looking out for their health, though.

Ambro plans to begin shipping globally in January 2014.

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4 Comments

  • Skip Stein

    It is truly unfortunate that the Ambro folks chose to use whey protein in the protein mix/source. Whey is a dairy product that has been shown to have negative impact on health, not to mention potential impact on lactose intolerant folks. True whey is cheap as it is a waste product of cheese production but since it is from an animal source the company is automatically excluding many vegetarians and ALL vegans (also dominant in California).

    Why they chose to include animal products is beyond me as there are numerous better and more healthy alternatives. Since they are saying the end product is Organic, how do they guarantee that the cows (source of the milk/whey) have only been fed organic grasses and natural foods? Doubt that they can. Since much of the dairy and feed lots use grains and GMO corn, this could ultimately be a major issue for penetration in the organic/health market.

    Skip Stein

    Whole Foods 4 Healthy Living
    http://wholefoods4healthylivin...

  • Thanks for you feedback Skip. It's true that we've used high quality certified organic whey protein in our first beta batch, but we've also been developed vegan version of Ambro, using plant-based protein. The feedback has been positive, and most likely we'll bring this to market. You'll hear about us! :) Br, Mikko / co-founder at Ambro