SINGAPORE – Brian Chia was one of those guys who continually ate chicken and broccoli in an effort to achieve the necessary nutrition for tough workouts and recovery. As he grew tired of the chicken and broccoli regimen, he began experimenting with adding lean chicken breast meat to smoothies he made at home. Having always wanted to start a business in the fitness industry, the idea struck Chia that the chicken smoothie was it, and BE Protein Smoothies was born.
“They offer convenience to busy consumers that don't have time to meal prep, but want their daily intake of macronutrients,” Chia said.
Early in its evolution, Chia operated BE Protein Smoothies out of his kitchen and sold to just friends and family. In the beginning, he used savory ingredients like kale, spinach and brown rice, but found friends and family didn’t quite like the taste. He switched to a sweeter recipe and began adding banana, mango, berries and yogurt. At that point, the popularity of his smoothies began to escalate. Once he locked in the recipe, he faced a new challenge.
Because the smoothie recipe included 100% real ingredients, no preservatives or additives, Chia needed to address shelf life, which was about a week. To scale the business, he would need to extend the shelf life significantly.
Chia’s research to lengthen his smoothies’ shelf life led him to the Food Research Innovation Center in Singapore. The Food Research Innovation Center recommended he consider using high-pressure processing (HPP). Chia decided to use a new Burgos, Spain-based Hiperbaric tolling station in Singapore for his HPP needs. Hiperbaric had recently opened the new facility to meet the growing demand for HPP in the Asia Pacific Region.
HPP uses pressurized cold-water, between roughly 43,500 psi and 87,000 psi, to inactivate microorganisms and consequently increase shelf life while enabling foods and beverages to maintain fresh ingredients with no preservatives. HPP gave Chia the ability to extend the shelf life of his product from one week to more than 30 days.
“HPP does not change the nutritional profile and texture of my smoothies,” Chia said. “It’s allowed me to expand shelf life and scale my business.”
After one year of business, Chia was able to create his BE Protein Smoothies brand and expand his production to gyms throughout Singapore and via e-commerce.
Current flavors include Yuzu Banana Chicken Protein Blend and Mango Coconut Chicken Protein Blend for $6.50 each or via a monthly subscription in 500-mL bottles with 65 grams of protein and 250-mL bottles with 32.5 grams of protein. BE Protein Smoothies are only available to Singapore residents currently, but Chia hopes to expand operations to the United States and other countries soon.