15. September 2015 Tobias Stöber

[Guestpost] Stephans experience with BERTRAND

My body felt heavy. It was just a normal Monday morning standup, but I felt so hot I immediately started sweating. My mouth became dry, my legs began to start shaking and my vision kept decreasing.

In the end I had to walk to the other site of the circle the co-workers formed during the standup and sat down, as I was concerned to loose consciousness.
What happened? Actually it was just a normal day, maybe with a bit too much hassle to catch the standup on time. The main point to focus on, nevertheless, is the fact, that I used to leave off to work without a breakfast. I don’t know when specifically this habit started, but no matter how early or late I woke up for work I was more motivated to shower & leave to “get things done”, rather than spending another twenty minutes on a proper breakfast.

Now I integrated a shake in my morning routine, and I feel lively as never before. I started getting up earlier, feeling more active, and actually eat a whole lot more than before. (I don’t substitute all my meals) At this particular day at work, I remembered a blog article, written by a fellow software engineer who invented a shake superior to normal food. He called it “Soylent”. Before moving to a new flat I started investigating how to achieve the same in my Country (Germany), but got distracted by too much other stuff like moving, work and side-projects. The financial point to start was just too high. In a year, everything can change. I know this, as I work with the latest techniques each day. And so did it for the field of “nutrition shakes”. I found multiple vendors worth trying out and settled for a company called “Bertrand” for my first

The main reason was, that it was shipped from Germany. Otherwise I could have tried the American version directly, huh? I ordered three packs and immediately convinced my good friend (and also flat-mate) to join me in my journey. His work is very body-intensive, so he can eat a lot and always had too less with him. We ordered another pack of seven, approximately 1-2 weeks after the first three arrived. Then we started thinking: What about the competitors? They had much more variation in flavors, were less expensive and had a more professional look & feel regarding their online presence.

We settled down for trying all of them:
1. Nano Future Food
2. Joylent
3. Jake (Sports)

They arrived in this particular order and we couldn’t wait to try them out. The Nano shaker is in the same Shape, as the new Bertrand shaker, but we both prefer the
minimalistic green tubes. But we have to admit, it really looks like “future” and thus compliments the name. Both Jake & Joylent have the same type of shaker, which is the basic sports-drink shaker, just branded accordingly. Nothing wrong here, but also no big excitement.
From packaging Nano lost against all competitors. It’s packed as single portions, so a lot of plastic waste. It was also just plain white with a black date of minimum durability labeling stamp. Its behavior on opening is ridiculous and if you don’t take care, it will be spilled all over the floor.
Jake Sports did it better and has a easy useable single-meal packaging, which also has a nice minimalistic look.
Champion here is Joylent. Their packaging is a three-meal pack, just as Bertrand, but with such
lovely motives for each flavor, I literally had to show it to my friends!

But a nice look won’t help your product if it’s taste is gross, so how did they behave in this field? Used to Bertrand as my “entry shake” I expected a nice taste. I actually started wondering why everyone else hated against the taste of nutrition shakes. Nano and Jake both have a one-size-fit-all flavor, which tries to mimic vanilla.
While we got used to Nanos taste, we still have 18 out of our 20 Jake Sports portions. On all candidates we had the issue, that the last zips were really hard to comprehend, but it was ok. Not for Jake. After half of it we both stopped and agreed to leave it in a dark corner. To be fair, I have to mention that it was the version with higher nutrition which we wanted to use for workout.
Joylent instead could gain some points by having all kind of flavors and offering a mix pack. We got banana, chocolate, strawberry and vanilla.
All of them tasted way more natural than this “vanilla mimic”, and were really creamy, but still it was more a “down with it” duty than joy.

So after
– 22 meals of Nano
– 15 meals of Joylent
– 2 meals of Jake (+ 18 remaining)
– 30 meals of Bertrand

we had to decide which supplier we wanted to support. As you’re reading this guest article on Bertrand right now, it’s not hard to figure out who won our hearts: Bertrand.
Sure it’s not all perfect on their side: Compared to the others, Bertrand is way more expensive. Maybe that’s a bummer for some, but good food is expensive. So why should it be something else in the shake section? Their flavors are limited to two by the time of writing (natural & vanilla), but they used to have a berry version, which a friend of mine totally loved! That said, they’re working on it and actually improved their product a lot from my initial order to the 30 pack order mid of July.
Which I now have to restock.. Hopefully with a few berries in it!

To close this article with a personal ranking:
1. Bertrand
2. Joylent
3. Nano
4. Jake

Enjoy your shakes!
– Stephan

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