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When we started spending long hours in the mountains, it didn’t take many trips to realize we needed to pack food and hydration to keep feeling good and strong.
So we headed to our local running shops, supermarkets, and specialty grocers for sport nutrition products to experiment with. Maybe you can relate.
From the shelves and the web stores we selected bars, gels, waffles, snack mixes, chews, drinks, and shakes. Even gummies and shots, powders and pills. We gave all the strange packets and bars and bottles a chance to prove themselves to us.
To our dismay, we found the content of each product was essentially the same: a shiny hyper-masculine package of unpronounceable ingredients promising to ‘take our game to the next level,’ to be slurped down one after the other as soon as the energy surge wears off.
After consuming enough of these, our stomachs would turn and the quality of the run, hike, or bike would turn with them. We learned our experiences were very common after consulting with fellow outdoor enthusiasts and athletes. For all the promise on the package, we were left severely underwhelmed.
Besides, it was clear to us that the marketing departments of those companies believed only one type of active person is interested in high performing sport nutrition: hyper-masculine, results-driven super athletes.
The reality is that only a few people can relate to that extremely narrow persona. So where does that leave the hikers? The mountain ridge traversers? The wildflower pickers? The sailors and the climbers? They deserve a company that understands them, too.
As we worked our way through the different shapes and colors of birthday party flavored sport nutrition products, we wondered why they all seemed to entirely remiss any responsibility to the environment. We take care to live conscious, environmentally responsible lives, and it matters to us that the companies we support with our dollars do, too.
We also took note that these companies failed over and over to understand that health was important to us in every part of our lives. Our dinners don’t include sodium benzoate or locust bean gum, so why did they ask us to forfeit our lifestyle choices when it comes to sport nutrition? Part of the reason we are active is to stay healthy, and by the looks, tastes, and feels, these products didn’t seem healthy to us. At all.
Our trust in the sport nutrition industry as a whole deteriorated as we unmasked the industry for what it is:
We questioned, is it really too much to ask for sport nutrition to be high-performing, nourishing, inclusive, and produced in an environmentally conscious way?
Turns out it’s not. So we decided to be the change.