Güdpod came to market in 2016, debuting at The Arnold Fitness Expo, counting on increased consumer demand for sports nutrition products. It also came to market relying heavily on a licensing model, inviting different brands to collaborate and make their own products that fit into Güdpod’s mixing system.
How the machine works: Once the pod is inserted, a cup filled with a liquid of choice in placed into the machine. With the press a button, a blending hub extends out of the bottom of the pod and the contents of the pod spill into and are mixed into the liquid. If the Keurig and similar devices like Nespresso are brewers in a pod, then the Güdpod is a blender in a pod.
Under the leadership of a new CEO, supplements industry veteran Christopher Rohde, the company will shift its positioning and target audience.
“One key area is that we’re focusing on the chronic illness space where people have nutritional needs,” Rohde told NutraIngredients-USA. To meet this target audience, the company hopes to partner with brands already in the space, such as Abbott Nutrition or Nestlé’s medical foods arm. The other area will be office coffee service, where Keurig had its start in its early days.
Rohde joined the Güdpod team when the company launched as chief operations officer, and stepped up to CEO this year. Currently with less than 10 employees, Rohde said recruitment is underway as the shift away from a licensing model to office coffee service and chronic illness populations will boost the company’s growth.
Rohde shared his plans for Güdpod, what led to the company’s shift in target audience, questions about waste generation in the single-serve category, and what role he sees countertop supplement appliances will play in our everyday lives.
The following has been edited for clarity and length.
Tell us about the company’s shift in strategy. Let’s start with the company’s new focused efforts in the chronic illness space.
One key area is that we’re focusing on the chronic illness space where people have nutritional needs that are difficult to meet with typical delivery formats. One such space is the bariatric surgery market. There are currently 200,000 bariatric surgeries performed each year, and the interesting thing is that only 1% of people who are physically eligible for bariatric surgery elect to get it. There’s a tremendous growth opportunity there.
Glanbia is betting on a ‘Keurig’-like device for sports nutrition
Even with a strategy shift, Güdpod CEO Christopher Rohde said that its partnership with Glanbia will continue.
"We have a great relationship with Glanbia. We’re working with them very closely. We continue to work with them closely. We anticipate soon that there will be a further announcement with them," he said.
Read more about Güdpod's partnership with Glanbia in our September 2018 article HERE
The bariatric surgery itself is a great tool to get the patients back in a corrective manner. We see Güdpod as a compliance tool to keep them on the right path. Nutritional deficiencies that develop after bariatric surgery are many. The need for 100 to 120 g of protein a day is minimal to combat muscle wasting.
We feel our delivery format will deliver compliance that will allow those patients to get the nutrition in when frankly they’re not hungry anymore. It’s an easy way. It’s also a way to get in other beneficial things like fiber when they have to for a while avoid some of the fiber alternatives like leafy green vegetables because they can’t digest them.
What’s your plan in meeting this target audience while still avoiding ‘disease’ language in your marketing to comply with current dietary supplement regulations?
We will work with brands that are already competing in that space, already delivering solutions in that space. We would simply be providing a better platform for them to deliver they’re existing solutions, as well as giving them a platform to combine the solutions.
If you look at the bariatric space again, one that we really studied, there’s a multitude of tablets, capsules, and powder [supplements] that they recommend bariatric patients take post-surgery. They could all be combined into one drink taken a couple times a day, make the person’s life easier and get them into a compliant program.
You mentioned that you’re also going to shift more focus on targeting the office coffee services space.
We will be doing a test in the office and coffee distribution space by mid-summer, where we will go through traditional distribution channels of office coffee service as Keurig did in the early days.
We feel confident that there’s a lot of offices that invest in employee health that would certainly embrace this technology
We’ll be doing a test in South Florida into offices where we can provide nutritional products through drinks that we feel are specific to the office experience, to enhance the office experience. We see great need for it.
Businesses now invest in their employee’s health and welfare through gym memberships, those types of things. Knowing that sitting and being sedentary is the new smoking, we feel confident that there’s a lot of offices that invest in employee health that would certainly embrace this technology. Someone could get a healthy drink or healthy shake when they’re feeling the need.
The single-serve category is often criticized for the amount of waste it generates. What is Güdpod doing to address this?
First and foremost, we are 100% recyclable. The whole [pod] is made of the same polymer so it’s 100% recyclable. In the market of office and coffee, and in the chronic illness market, we’ll be offering a recycle return policy, so we’ll ensure the products are going to be recycled.
Ultimately, we are aggressively looking for alternative polymers that get to the biodegradable stage. That technology is developing, and we will go along with that.
There is also an offset. For instance, if you’re buying protein in a 30 serving jar, there’s a certain amount of plastic that come with that jar, cap, and scoop. While it’s not an equivalent, it is not all additional plastic or polymer. There’s an offset against that jar.
With your two new target audiences, will individual consumers and households still be able to buy the Güdpod appliance and its different branded pods?
Because of our platform, we’re able to offer some personalization for our brand partners. But our focus this year is in office coffee service, chronic illness, and continue our partnership with Glanbia.
We want to be the leader in single-serve powders. We are working through our engineering and R&D folks to continue to develop alternative technology for both the pod and the machine. We have some exciting things that, in the right time when it rolls out, is really going to revolutionize personalization and data tracking for people monitoring nutrition.
You’ve been in the dietary supplements and nutrition industry for more than 30 years. What drew you to Güdpod?
Good question. It’s simple, in my mind. It’s the ability to take supplements and deliver them with a food experience.
We have a very large platform where we can combine several different active ingredients much more than we can in a tablet or a capsule. Combine it with other food type ingredients and you can deliver it in a fun and pleasurable way.
It’s great tasting, so that you don’t even know that you’re taking vitamins, and getting a dosage that you don’t have to choke on.