Beyond vegan shakes, Malaysian brand Metier Food tantalises with new dairy-free protein bars and tempeh chips
SUBANG JAYA, May 4 — It used to be that you had to walk into a sports supplement shop to find that prized fuel for building muscle — a tub of whey protein powder. Not anymore.
These days you can get your quick protein fix from healthy food cafés to the aisles of your neighbourhood supermarket. For the latter, you’re likely to see a row of Heal Nutrition’s protein shake powders.
With their rainbow riot of colours and flavours — from Signature Chocolate and Classic Coffee to Passionfruit Punch and Coconut Shake — these packs of convenient protein from homegrown company Metier Food aren’t targeting bodybuilders solely; everyone is a potential customer.
Protein is now for everyone, and it tastes good too.
Justin Chan and Phoebe Cheong are the co-founders of Metier Food, which includes brands such as Heal Nutrition, Snappea and Thips.
That seems to be the promise of Metier Food, established in 2017 by Justin Chan and Phoebe Cheong. Chan shares, "Our mission is to reimagine the way we create and consume food and beverages based on four core principles: Healthy, Tasty, Convenient and Sustainable.”
They started with Heal Nutrition, a range of protein shakes flavoured naturally with ingredients such as coffee, green tea, chocolate and stevia, a sweetener derived from the leaves of the stevia plant.
In 2020, the duo introduced a new product in the form of Snappea, a vegan and dairy-free pea milk, to capitalise on the increasing demand for plant-based milk alternatives. Today even Heal Nutrition’s offerings include a line of Vegan Protein Shake powders.
Metier Food benefited from various business accelerator programmes and venture capital investments throughout the years. These included being selected as one of the top 28 startups by MaGIC in their Global Accelerator Program (2018), shortlisted as the top 22 businesses in Alliance Bank BizSmart Challenge Season 6 (2020) and funded by Cradle in the CIP Ignite Program (2021).
Metier Food’s Thips offer a healthier snack choice in the form of tempeh chips.
Chan says, "In 2022, we closed our series A funding with OSK Ventures International Berhad to further fuel our growth and expansion plan. In 2023, we were picked as one of the 12 companies by Endeavor Malaysia to be part of their Endeavor ScaleUP Program.”
It wasn’t merely capital injection, however. Chan explains, "The funding that we have received indeed provided us some breathing space to execute on our expansion plans, but it is the guidance and networks from these stakeholders that really fuel the growth of Metier.”
That level of escalation means that beyond their sales and marketing office in Subang Jaya, Metier Food also now has their own factory and warehouse in Puchong as well as a new head office... in Singapore.
Chan observes that setting up a sister company there was necessary as "Singapore is the gateway to international markets, with many established international brands. By having our foot in here, we would be able to adapt ourselves in a more competitive market and get ready to expand Metier regionally.”
To further their reach, Metier Food has launched new products under their flagship Heal Nutrition brand such as their Heal Breakfast Protein Bars. These dairy-free and lactose-free protein bars come in two flavours — Chocolate Crunch and Fruity Raspberry.
The team behind Metier Food.
Snappea, a vegan and dairy-free pea milk (left). Heal Nutrition’s newly launched Breakfast Protein Bar (right).
You might have noticed the attention paid to the fresh and catchy product and flavour names. This isn’t by chance as Metier Food has learned to cater to consumers according to market demands by providing an experiential discovery of their brand presence and vibe, both online and on the ground.
Chan adds, "We also successfully expanded our distribution channels and you can now find many of our products in multiple retail chains such as 7-Eleven, Caring Pharmacy, Guardian, MyNews, Village Grocer, Jaya Grocer and more.”
Last December, Metier Food introduced a third brand called Thips that offers a healthier snacking experience with chips made from tempeh, a local favourite made from fermented soybeans.
Chan shares, "We have always been huge fans of everything protein so when the idea to launch a snack brand came about, we naturally gravitated towards tempeh given it is 100 per cent plant-based with high protein content and excellent nutritional profile. Also as Malaysians, we love tempeh!”
The choice of tempeh is inspired given how it is now considered worldwide as a superfood source of protein for those on a plant based diet. Eagled-eyed customers might also notice the label "Superfood Series” on their bags of Thips.
Heal Nutrition’s line of Vegan Protein Shake powders.
Chan shares, "When we first launched Thips, our goal was to create a range of wholesome snacks with real ingredients for our consumers and tempeh chips is only the starting point of Thips. There are a few more series that are currently being whipped — or in our case Thipped — in our R&D kitchen and we look forward to sharing them soon.”
Looks like Metier Food is really revving up since their early startup days. Chan concludes, "It has been a journey navigating the changes especially in the past two years. With the rise of plant based advocacy and also the increased awareness to take better care of one’s health, we have learned to grow with our consumers.”
Learn more about Metier Food and its brands at metierfood.com
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