Meet the ‘smart gaming nutrition’ start-up feeding newbies and eSports pros
Gaming means big business. Around 50% of Europeans play video games, according to DataProt, with Germany alone thought to be home to more than 49m video gamers – whether online, on smartphones and tablets, or via home consoles.
Gamers, from ‘newbies’ to eSports professionals, have unique nutritional needs that are underserved in the current market, according to Ole Schaumberg. In 2020, the Berlin-based entrepreneur took matters into his own hands, launching a food and nutrition company with this target market in mind.
“Everyone understands there are a lot of gamers out there, but many people still believe it’s a niche,” Schaumberg told FoodNavigator. “But if you look at younger target groups, or everyone from 14 to 25 years, gaming is a mainstream trend…”
A shift towards holistic nutrition
Before founding Just Legends, Schaumberg was active in the sports nutrition space. Over the last decade or so, he has observed a shift in nutrition – from an earlier focus on fat content and weight loss to what now most closely aligns with ‘holistic nutrition’.
“If we look back at nutrition over the years, we always looked at the body first…but for me, ‘holistic nutrition’ stands for the connection between body, mind and soul. I think physical health and mental health are deeply connected and we are learning more and more about that. We are developing products that [fit] into all three of those areas,” he told this publication.
For the body, Just Legends’ products are healthy, low in sugar, and contain essential minerals and vitamins, explained the founder. For the mind, Just Legends’ products incorporate functional ingredients and B vitamins, and for the soul, the start-up provides a ‘great taste and overall experience’.
The product range includes performance boosters and milkshakes, hydration drinks, supplements to support sleep and recovery, and energy ‘bites’ containing natural caffeine, guarana, vitamins B9 and B12, and protein sourced through dates, cashew nuts and almonds.
Gaming nutrition vs sports nutrition
Moving from sports nutrition into gaming nutrition, Schaumberg observed several key differences. A big one is that in sports nutrition, education ‘comes first’. Whereas in the gaming world, nutrition education may be less understood by consumers.
“Many gamers have never used any supplements before, whereas in sports nutrition [many more] understand what a whey protein is, an amino acid probably as well, and why magnesium is good for recovery. So you can launch products that people understand immediately.”
In gaming nutrition, education needs to be an important element of the brand, suggested the Just Legends CEO. Helping gamers understand why they should choose a Just Legends product compared to a ‘big-brand’ energy drink that might be full of sugar and artificial flavours is part of the mission.
Consumer needs also differ. A typical gamer might start playing after work, and continue to do so non-stop for many hours. “That means they have to concentrate for a long period, but it also means they don’t usually take a break in between to cook. I think the typical three-meals-a-day is quite disrupted with many gamers, so they take small breaks in between for convenience snacks and drinks.
“Most of them are looking at unhealthy options, and we want to provide an alternative there.”
Improving sleep and recovery
Another major difference in target market needs is that gamers, who may play deep into the night, can present with disrupted sleeping patterns. Some may play until as late as 2am, but others may end up switching off at 6am in cases where the game was ‘so fascinating’, we were told. Combining late nights with blue light exposure from screens ‘obviously disrupts’ sleeping rhythms.
Improving sleep and recovery with food and nutrition has proven a ‘fascinating’ topic for the Just Legends team since it was founded three years ago. “There was no benchmark out there. Nowadays, when you launch a product there is always someone who has done it before you, but we were the first gaming nutrition brand to tackle the topic of sleep.”
As a result, Just Legends started with an empty slate. The start-up asked its existing customer base what they were looking for in a product, which helped inform development of a Just Legends’ ‘Sleep & Recovery’ drinkable supplement – designed to help gamers fall asleep faster, sleep deeper, and support eye health.
“We combined all sorts of different products, from the classic magnesium, different vitamins, melatonin…and research-based patented ingredients,” we were told. This includes AffronEye, designed to product eyes from blue light, and extracts from valerian, passion flower, lemon balm and pepper.
“We wanted to combine vitamins and research-based ingredients…with ‘superfoods’ like…passion flower which is a bit more alternative, but we believe can also bring a benefit to our target group.”
Gamers really are a ‘massive’ target market not only underserved by nutrition companies, but by ‘big FMCGs companies’ as well, the CEO reiterated. “I think [we] can have a big impact on society.”
You can listen to FoodNavigator's full interview with Ole Schaumberg, founder of Just Legends, on The FoodNavigator Podcast here, or wherever you access your podcasts.