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Satisfy your ‘TasteBudds’ with these vegan protein-based liquid meal replacements

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KLANG, March 19 — If you have been in a hurry at the gym after a strenuous workout, you might not be a stranger to how messy whey protein powders are and how easy it can be to spill your shaker all over innocent pieces of exercise equipment.

Which is where the Liquid Meals by TasteBudds can be a lifesaver, offering a vegan protein-based meal replacement shake inside a 100 per cent recyclable pouch. You only need to add water, shake and drink.

Little wonder these Liquid Meals are positioned as "15 Second Meals” to illustrate convenience and ease of use: no more hauling a grimy protein shaker back home to wash!

TasteBudds is founded by Collin Chang and Joslyn Yip, both 28, who share a passion for maintaining a well-balanced life given their busy work as practising lawyers.

Yip says, "The demanding nature of our legal careers means that we often have to skip meals and exercise in our day-to-day, leaving little time for a healthy routine. This resulted in frequent illnesses and gastric issues, not just for us, but for many of our fellow lawyers in similar corporate environments.”

Recognising this wasn’t a sustainable lifestyle in the long run, the pair decided to take action by launching TasteBudds as a brand committed to efficient and convenient wellness products.

Yip explains, "Our vision is to empower busy individuals, much like ourselves, to have a healthy lifestyle despite the constraints of hectic schedules. We are also steadfast in our commitment to maintaining an affordable price point.”

TasteBudds is founded by Collin Chang and Joslyn Yip, who are both practising lawyers.
TasteBudds is founded by Collin Chang and Joslyn Yip, who are both practising lawyers.

TasteBudds is founded by Collin Chang and Joslyn Yip, who are both practising lawyers.

As such, TasteBudds hopes to break the stigma of healthy foods leaving a hole in your wallet. Yip says, "In the Klang Valley, a basic salad fetches around RM25, while a bowl of noodles, heavy with carbohydrates and fats and low in protein, costs less than half that. This pricing disparity forms an additional hurdle for individuals to embrace a healthier lifestyle.”

The very hands-on TasteBudds team manages every aspect of their Liquid Meal products from the packaging and labelling to arranging for lab tests for safety and nutritional information.

Chang shares, "For our formulation is concerned, we work together with food scientists and nutritionists... making sure each serving has a suitable amount of minerals, vitamins, and macronutrients of a complete meal... and included prebiotics, probiotics and some dietary fibre to further fortify it.”

I observed that their Liquid Meals feature vegan protein as a key ingredient and asked Chang why pea protein is isolated specifically, and not other forms of vegan protein powder, such as soy protein or rice protein.

He replied that the choice came down to dietary inclusivity and sustainability: "Pea protein is highly hypoallergenic, making TasteBudds suitable for individuals with soy or other common protein allergies. Secondly, pea protein is also one of the most sustainable forms of vegan protein sources with the smallest carbon footprint.”

More than just a protein shake, TasteBudds’ Liquid Meals also contain edible bits such as rice crisps.
More than just a protein shake, TasteBudds’ Liquid Meals also contain edible bits such as rice crisps.

More than just a protein shake, TasteBudds’ Liquid Meals also contain edible bits such as rice crisps.

More than just a protein shake, TasteBudds’ Liquid Meals also contain edible bits such as rice crisps. Which means, beyond offering a mess-free and spill-free time at the gym, the Liquid Meals do really act as a meal replacement too.

When TasteBudds first started in January 2022, the pandemic was still very much a concern so the business was run entirely online with participation in pop-ups as the situation eased.

Yip recalls, "During the early days, we personally handled order fulfilment, often working past midnight to ensure every order was meticulously packed and fulfilled timely. However, as the demand grew, we evolved our operations to delegate logistical responsibilities, freeing up valuable time and resources that we can redirect towards refining and expanding our product offerings.”

While their primary sales channel remains online, TasteBudds has since expanded its physical presence. Yip shares, "You can now find our products not only on our website but also in selected gyms and pharmacies across Malaysia, such as Health Lane Pharmacy.”

To help differentiate their Liquid Meals from other protein-based products or meal replacements out there, TasteBudds has redesigned their product from its early bottle shape to a more portable pouch for ease of consumption.

The Liquid Meals offer a mess-free and spill-free time at the gym.
The Liquid Meals offer a mess-free and spill-free time at the gym.

The Liquid Meals offer a mess-free and spill-free time at the gym.

Chang says, "Unlike many on-the-go meals which require refrigeration, microwave heating, hot water or milk to consume, our Liquid Meals can simply be enjoyed anytime, anywhere, simply by adding water.”

Malaysians are notoriously fussy about taste, so the team has tried to go beyond the typical flavours. Chang says, "We have previously introduced exciting inclusions like our Musang King flavour, pushing the boundaries of what a liquid meal replacement can be.”

Currently, flavours available include Black Sesame, Chocolate Sea Salt, Mango Coconut and Matcha (made with Niko Neko Yuri Matcha).

Chang adds, "All TasteBudds products are produced in 100 per cent Halal certified facilities. Our formulas often boast higher protein content which is 26.3 grams to 27.3 grams, offering a more filling and satiating experience.”

Previous flavours such as Musang King were packaged in bottles (left); these were later redesigned as more convenient and portable pouches (right).
Previous flavours such as Musang King were packaged in bottles (left); these were later redesigned as more convenient and portable pouches (right).

Previous flavours such as Musang King were packaged in bottles (left); these were later redesigned as more convenient and portable pouches (right).

The latter point is key as protein has been proven to help one feel full with less food by reducing levels of ghrelin (also known as the "hunger hormone”).

Hunger might be a running theme here for it takes a certain ambition to launch a business while simultaneously juggling gruelling day jobs.

Yip admits that it has been quite a journey for both of them, with personal and professional growth. She says, "One characteristic that has undergone remarkable development is our patience - and let’s be real, as Millennials edging into Gen Z individuals, waiting around isn't exactly our strong suit.”

Learning that all good results require time and fortitude has opened the eyes of these young entrepreneurs to the age-old lesson of being able to adapt and pivot at will.

To this end, TasteBudds also offers a range of complementary products in addition to their signature Liquid Meals: from Bentong Ginger Honey and Pure Malaysian Rainforest Honey in sachet form to Effortless Tea Sticks.

Other TasteBudds products run the gamut from Pure Malaysian Rainforest Honey (left) to Effortless Tea Sticks (right).
Other TasteBudds products run the gamut from Pure Malaysian Rainforest Honey (left) to Effortless Tea Sticks (right).

Other TasteBudds products run the gamut from Pure Malaysian Rainforest Honey (left) to Effortless Tea Sticks (right).

Ultimately, TasteBudds hopes to expand into new foreign markets to reach a global audience of health-conscious consumers. Chang shares, "We’re looking to further expand our existing flavour range to further include the feedback we’ve received from our customers.”

While their initial online presence was instrumental in connecting them with early adopters, the duo recognize the importance of physical retail locations. Chang says, "We're eager to expand our footprint in brick-and-mortar stores, allowing customers to experience our products first-hand and fostering deeper brand engagement.”

From meal replacement shakes to pure natural honey, TasteBudds as a brand is clearly focused on creating products that are as convenient as possible for the busy, modern-day individual.

Perhaps their "15 Second Meal” tagline sums it up best: With the right product, you can get more done in less time... and satisfy your "TasteBudds” too.

TasteBudds

Lot 2718, Jalan Gendang/KS02, Taman Klang Ria, Klang, Selangor

Open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, Sat-Sun closed

Phone: 010-271 8971

Web: https://tastebudds.shop/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/TasteBudds.my/

IG: https://www.instagram.com/tastebudds_my/