Irish Times Business New Innovator
After the birth of her first child, Leonie Lynch was feeling like many new mums – exhausted. She was so busy making sure her baby was properly nourished that she forgot about her own well-being and was relying on a diet of toast, coffee and cereal. As a fitness professional who knew a lot about nutrition, Lynch knew she was making poor food choices. However, she was just too tired to care. Recognising this was a common postnatal phenomenon, Lynch has since gone on to create Juspy, a functional foods company that will focus on the nutritional needs of women at different life stages.
Lynch established Juspy in 2015 when she was pregnant with her second child, working on her PhD thesis in visual branding at the Kemmy Business School at UL and tutoring in marketing and entrepreneurship at the university. “Being pregnant was the perfect opportunity to develop a product specifically formulated for women recovering from the biggest workout of their lives,” she says.
“Development work on the product began in October 2016 and having my daughter a few months later provided the perfect opportunity to test it.”
The product was then refined over the next 14 months and following a series of trials at Teagasc Moorepark, Lynch was finally happy with the formulation. The company’s first product, Juspy Natural Nourishment (which comes in a 150ml bottle), was launched earlier this month.
“From personal experience, I understood that people were often too busy to think about their own nutrition and just reached for whatever was there,” Lynch says. “The aim with Juspy is to produce a range of products that support healthier choices, especially when snacking. Our first product is an on-the-go liquid food full of natural nourishment. It does not compromise on taste, in fact that’s where it excels, and it’s designed to fill in some of the nutrient deficiencies for women who are too busy or too tired to be ‘good’ all of the time. The product contains a mix of 11 active ingredients including raw cacao and coconut and tastes a bit like a Terry’s Chocolate Orange,” Lynch says.
What really focused Lynch’s attention on the need for what she calls a “mommy formula” was feeling unwell after her daughter’s birth. “I was recovering from a C-section and having had the accompanying antibiotics, my gut health suffered a lot,” she says. “I also had postnatal thyroiditis six months postpartum. The idea for the product came to me when I was looking at the label on baby food. Just as an infant formula claims to contain everything a baby needs to stay healthy, I wanted a similar solution for mothers – a magic bullet so to speak – that was quick and easy to consume, would fill the hunger gap and be functional for recovery.”
While Juspy products will be aimed mainly at women (of all ages), Lynch says the product is already attracting attention from health-conscious men, especially those with demanding fitness routines. “Our competition is the food people pick up when they are tired and crave sugar. For new mothers, that may be confectionary or baked goods or chocolate and we hope that having Juspy as an alternative will help them choose the better nutritional option.”
Juspy now employs three people and investment to date has been just under €100,000 through personal funding and support from Enterprise Ireland. The company’s products are currently being made at Teagasc Moorepark and Lynch is in the process of looking for a contract manufacturer and appointing a distributor. The product will be rolled out online and to retail outlets in Ireland by the end of the summer followed by the UK. From the off, however, Lynch designed her product to scale and her ultimate aim is to grow Juspy into a global lifestyle brand.
Olive Keogh, Irish Times
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