Startup Watch

Startup Fulfil 'expanding very fast' with protein-enriched candy alternative

By Oliver Nieburg

- Last updated on GMT

Functional confectionery brand Fulfil expects to sell around 30m bars in 2017. Photo: Fulfil
Functional confectionery brand Fulfil expects to sell around 30m bars in 2017. Photo: Fulfil

Related tags Middle east Nutrition Tesco

Irish startup Fulfil Nutrtion has entered the Middle East after securing mainstream listings in the UK and expanding across Europe.

Fulfil - producers of a low sugar, protein and vitamin-enriched confectionery alternative - sold its first bar in January 2016 in Ireland.

The company was established by Tom Gannon and Niall McGrath, both formerly of Richmond Marketing, which promotes Red Bull in the Irish market.

uae launch
Fulfil entered the UAE last month and is looking to increase GCC listings after exhibiting at yummex Middle East two weeks ago. Source: Fulfil

European expansion

Eoghan Webb, head of export for Fulfil Nutrtion, told ConfectioneryNews: "Our business case for the first year was to sell 1m bars in Ireland and we sold 15m. We'll sell anything from 27m to 30m bars this year across 15 countries. We are expanding very fast," 

Fulfil has mainstream UK listings at WHSmith, BP, Tesco and Sainsbury's. It will also be in Walmart-owned Asda by October.

The brand is already in Germany, Iceland and Belgium and launched in Norway and Denmark last month. Fulfil also recently secured checkout distribution at 600 stores of Dutch supermarket leader Albert Heijn.

The company was exhibiting at trade fair yummex Middle East last month, marking its entry in the UAE and Kuwait at major retail chains.

Next, the owners will take Fulfil to Australia in January 2018.

fulfil main pic
Fulfil bars are fortified with Vitamin C, folic acid, niacin and 20 g of milk protein among other functional ingredients. Source: Fulfil

Confectionery alternative: Not a classic power bar

Webb said: "It's primarily a protein bar - but it's a bar with benefits. It is less than 3 g of sugar [per 55 g bar], it has nine vitamins. It also has 20 g of [milk] protein."

The export chief said the key to success has been taste.

"It's very close-tasting to confectionery products, so not only are we growing the healthy category, but we are also bringing in people who have abstained from the confectionery category because of high sugar and health."

He alleged many power bars were tailored to scientifically-savvy athletes, contained lots of writing and were often high in sugar.

"They ​[the Fulfill founders] have mainstreamed the product in their branding and taken more of a lifestyle approach as opposed to a classic protein bar approach. So we are effectively an alternative to confectionery,”​ he said.

fulfil cafe
Fulfil opened an own brand café in Dublin last month, which sells customized smoothies and crepes as well as the company’s bars. Source: Fulfil

Coming to America?

The brand retails for around €2.50 ($2.93) per 55 g bar in the EU and for 12 dirham ($3.27) in the UAE.

Fulfil is produced at two factories in mainland Europe by a contract manufacturer.

The company is currently not in the US.

"The US market will take time,"​ said Webb. "We know people are buying our products on Amazon and importing. The same opportunity exists, but maybe sometime in 2018."

The company plans to exhibit at Chicago trade fair Sweets & Snacks Expo in May 2018 to gauge interest.

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