Sunday, 9 February 2014

Interview with Monkey Nutrition

Hey Guys,

Today I have the pleasure of talking with Monkey Nutrition.

Monkey Nutrition has been very active over the last year, winning awards for best protein from Men’s Health and sponsoring many well known athletes. I caught up with their CEO to find out a little bit more about the range and what they are all about.

Unorthodox Nutrition;Tell us a little about where Monkey Nutrition came from?

Monkey Nutrition; Nutrition is something that everyone needs to get on top of and personally, it helped improve other areas of my life massively when I started to learn more about what I was putting in my body. This became an obsession of sorts and I still spend most of my spare time learning and reading to further my knowledge. I’m a big believer that every day is a school day and I’m constantly being surprised by new ideas and findings.

When I started to help other people, particularly athletes I saw a huge gap in the quality of supplements that were available.

The majority seemed to focus on cheap bulk products and even the more expensive companies that were making claims on quality were equally unimpressive. I began searching for a manufacturer/supplier and it became clear that Europe didn’t have the quality and China most certainly didn’t, however, they competed well on price. With the US being so ahead of the game in terms of nutrition and supplements I decided to focus my search there. My learning and knowledge grew exponentially as I started working with the biochemists over there and it became clear that we could bring high quality supplements to the market for those that wanted them.

A lot of companies claim to be the best and it must get tiresome for consumers. That’s why we always try to back up our claims with numbers and facts.

The reason behind the name for the company, Monkey Nutrition, is a closely guarded secret but one day I might let the Monkey out of the bag.

The supplement industry is a very competitive one, what separates Monkey Nutrition from everyone else?

There are three things that I think set us apart. The first as I’ve already mentioned, is quality. That is our sole focus when sourcing a product. This refers to the bio availability of ingredients along with their source and how they are processed. Often getting a better quality ingredient is more expensive but quality is what we’re trying to deliver not budget options.

This transfers into everything we do:

The Primal26 has the highest Biological value possible for a protein powder. We are the first and currently the only company to talk about measures such as biological value and protein efficiency ratio etc.

The Fish Oil has an exemplary EPA and DHA ratio and we use molecular distillation to ensure the heavy metals and PCBs have been removed.  The source of the fish is equally important and we use cold-water fish from the Nordic sea. To help with absorption we’ve enteric coated each capsule.

The Vitamin D3 is sourced from Lanolin rather than plants, as this is far more compatible with the human body.

Secondly, we’re honest! We won’t baffle people with unnecessary information to make ourselves look clever but we do give them the information they need to make an informed choice. There’s a lot of interest in whey from grass fed cows at the moment and grass fed cows are great to eat as an alternative to intensively raised cattle.  Healthy fats such as CLA will be in greater abundance, however, when it comes to whey, the nutrients gained from grass feeding aren’t even involved. So it doesn’t really matter. That said, the majority of our whey comes from grass fed cows but it’s not something we shout about as it’s just marketing noise as opposed to being important to the quality of the product.

Thirdly, customer service is essential! We have all the time in the world for our customers over email and on the phone and will always help them with advice if we have answers for them. Often people phone up asking about four to five products that they want to buy but after talking about their nutrition and training we tell them they only need two or three. That comes back to honesty and giving our customers the correct advice and information. We also pride ourselves on being extremely efficient and quick to react when the delivery company has a problem with getting our products to the customer on time.

What would you say that your best products are and why?

That really depends on what the individual is looking for. Primal26 is our flagship product and has won best Protein with Men’s Health magazine.

X-Blend is another protein that we’re proud of as no-one to our knowledge has been able to blend ten proteins successfully, maintaining great taste and high biological activity. That was one we worked really hard with. The Fish Oil is also another stand out that everyone should use. 

We’ll be expanding a whole foods range next year and recently launched an organic cold pressed coconut oil that is flying off the shelves. We always advocate the use of quality whole foods so it made sense for us to start providing some kitchen cupboard staples.

Historically the supplement industry has been full of products that do very little and a few that do a lot. What do you think the future of supplements will look like?

Couldn’t agree more, there are some real poor quality supplements out there. The only complaint we ever receive about our supplements is the price and the fact that we don’t do discounts. We sometimes get accused of ‘ripping people off’. We can’t give huge discounts and do big offers because our products are that expensive and our margins are so tight. When you see companies offering huge discounts on already cheap products, I would seriously question the quality of that product.  By inference you can see that the cost of that whey must be extremely cheap.

On the outset it appears they’re being good to their customers, in reality they’re selling them really cheap rubbish for a tidy profit. ‘Protein is protein’ a common phrase banded around by people that really don’t understand protein.

We aim to educate people on the reality of the situation and I think that will be the biggest change in the industry over the next year. People are now very hot on ensuring their meat is grass fed, veggies organic etc. Then they go and buy a useless protein powder. It doesn’t make sense and as people realise this is the area letting them down, they will see the light.

The biochemists and scientists in the states that we work with have also been working on something for a couple of years now and it’s almost ready for launch. That really will change things!

With supplements being a very broad industry, are you hoping to provide something for everyone or focus on a certain area?

 The main core of our range will always be for everyone. Whether you are an athlete or an office worker (or both) there are fundamentals that cover everyone, such as protein, fish oil, Pri-multi and vitamin D3.

For heavy trainers and gym users we have products like Dynamite, Matrix Pak, GRO and Super Nitro. There are also a few specialist health products like COQ10 and Tri-Flex.  An athlete with a heavy schedule would really benefit from these but we’ve had quite a few silver surfers that find them very useful.

Types of protein is something that is often misunderstood by the public. Do they want fast acting or slow acting? What does this even mean? Is it better to use an 'all in one' product or have specific proteins for specifics times i.e. after a workout etc

We feel people get lost in this a bit rather than focusing on the quality and therefore effectiveness of any given protein. We mostly recommend a clean/lean protein source such as our whey protein isolate, Primal26. As a single source isolate it has the highest biological activity possible for a protein source.  If you want to slow the release of the isolate slightly it's easy to do, just mix it with whole milk. It's fast acting so it's ideal post workout. 

X-blend can also be used effectively post-workout as it contains slow and fast acting proteins. It's ideal to take before bed to keep the body in an anabolic state for longer. The Primal23 is a medium release protein but is a different type of protein with a different amino acid profile, it's an option for people that don't do dairy and Ovo-vegetarians. It has a higher level of nitrogen retention, which creates an ideal environment for faster recovery and muscle growth, making it a favourite among bodybuilders who use it in conjunction with Primal26.

As supplements become more tailored to produce certain responses (insulin and other hormone production, better bioavailability as you have mentioned) do you think the supplement industry will continue to become more specialized with dedicated companies out shining the cheap, nasty ones or are we stuck with milk protein and green tea mixed with caffeine forever?

The rate at which information is shared and our understanding of the human body is accelerating all the time. We're learning so much more about health and what the body needs, which will of course lead to new and improved products. We have a new product out in 2014 that is based on years of research and could be a game changer in the industry. I also think that more traditional foods that have been used by tribes for centuries will continue to come into the spotlight.

You will always have companies that cash in on a trend or fad in the fitness industry, it's the nature of the beast as everyone is looking for a magic pill. A great example for this is raspberry ketone as a magical fat burner. There is no magic pill, certainly not yet or for the foreseeable future. I can't see anything trumping correct nutrition, sleep and exercise. Supplementation for me is a supporting role to those things, not the star of the show. 

The cheap nasty ones will disappear in time, there are only so many times a customer will go back if they're not seeing results. Education is the key thing for us and we'll be driving that hard in 2014 to ensure people can make informed decisions about what they're buying and see through marketing BS. It's not about how cheap the product is - price x quality = value!

Some really fantastic info here! Thanks again!

You can see all of the Monkey Nutrition Supplements HERE

Or follow them on Twitter @monkeynutrition

Thanks for reading and stay healthy,


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