When we hear of spirulina, we often associate it with nutraceutical powder or pill supplement. However, one Thai company, Whapow Co. Limited has done something different, by introducing spirulina directly into the mainstream food market to be consumed as healthy snacks.
Whapow was formed in January 2016 with the sole aim of creating nutritious foods for consumers of all age group. Derek Blitz, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Whapow said, “We felt that spirulina could and should be a part of high quality food products and used in its natural state.”
During our interview in June, Whapow Greenergizers range of frozen snacks had just entered the modern trade in Thailand. The response had been positive, although there are still major challenges to overcome like educating the consumers on the benefit of spirulina and getting rid of their negative perception towards its dark green colour.
Whapow Greenergizers are frozen RTE purees made from premium locally grown and sustainably sourced spirulina, tropical fruits and vegetables. It is also a vegan product with no sugar added. It is currently available in 2 flavours namely Passionfruit Mango, which is sour and refreshing; and Banana Cacao which is sweet and creamy. It is a delicious snack yet rich in protein, high in vitamins and amino acids, low-calorie and has strong antioxidant and anti-aging properties.
Whapow Greenergizers was launched in 85ml single serve packaging for Bt 69 (US$2.11), but the company is now planning to introduce it in smaller 50ml packaging by 4th quarter 2018. Initially, its consumers comprised of health-conscious consumers including the strong expatriate community in Thailand as well as English-speaking Thais. Later on, this product has also become very successful with children as a ‘healthy’ alternative to ice cream, popsicles and frozen treats. This is inevitable as Whapow seems to have almost similar packaging to popsicles and ice cream in sticks.
Whapow first started distributing its ‘spirulina’ frozen snack through the traditional trade and 40 retail locations around Bangkok comprising mainly of health food/organic shops, fitness shops or clean eating cafes. Whapow has also extended its distribution to an international school offering its product as an after-school treat and now working on it becoming part of a meal plan. In 2018, Whapow entered into the modern trade with its product now available at all villa markets nationwide and Foodland amongst others. Derek added, “Over the next 6 months, we have an aggressive plan to build these channels and grow our distribution network.”
Whapow has already distributed, on a small-scale, its product overseas in Singapore for more than a year now, and in July 2018, it sent its first sample shipment to Sydney, Australia. In Europe, Whapow has been growing the market starting in Germany and has plans to begin large scale distribution there before Spring 2019. There are also plans to distribute its product to Vietnam.
When asked whether Whapow has plans to launch new products, Derek said, “For 2018, the company will focus on expanding its existing offering in terms of size and packaging variations, followed by a functional product line that caters to well defined use-cases and consumer needs. We also plan to launch an organic certified product line. For F&B channels, we are now finalising Whapow Boost, a bulk packaged product for use as an ingredient in prepared food and beverages.” There are 4 variants identified within the new functional product range, called ‘Functional Whapow’ which is still in the R&D stage, and they contain superfood ingredients.
The future for Whapow seems uncertain, but what is certain is that Whapow Greenergizer caters to the ever growing consumer needs for convenient yet healthy and nutritious products. Not only that, Whapow Greenergizers went a step further by offering a product which has a look, feel and experience consistent with ice cream.