The Proper Food Project: Protein powders and superfood powers from an honest company

Protein powders have undergone somewhat of an image change over recent years. Once associated with the sports industry and most typically, bodybuilders and athletes wanting to build muscle or aid recovery after a workout, today however, protein powders are witnessing a shift in consumer to accommodate the more wider health conscious individuals.

Making protein powders as well as superfood powders more accessible to everyday people who want to take charge of their health and wellbeing is The Proper Food Project. The Proper Food Project sets out to “create affordable products that are conscious of the environment, society and the consumer”.

The London-based business, which was formed in January 2017, delivers on its ethos by using only the highest quality organic ingredients, ethically sourcing from sustainable farms, and donating £1 of every purchase towards supporting education in Africa.

I came across the brand while looking for a green superfoods powder to supplement my own nutrition. Having taken a green superfood supplement on-and-off for years, I was intuitively guided to hunt down a supergreens supplement that specifically contained moringa – a natural leaf powder high in protein, calcium, iron and antioxidants; wheatgrass – an excellent source of many different vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, C and E, as well as iron, magnesium, calcium and amino acids; and spirulina – also high in nutrients, as well as protein. I “lucked out” when I discovered The Proper Food Company. The Proper Food Company’s Greens Superboost supplement ticked all the boxes as far as ingredients were concerned, and with the added bonus of hemp and chlorella too.

The Proper Food Company’s Greens Superboost is a good quality product, packing a punch nutritionally as well as being really versatile – as a daily supplement goes, you can add it to smoothies, porridge, energy balls or if you are used to the taste of supergreens, it can be taken simply in a glass of water. At £29.99 or £24.99 on a subscription for a 498g packet, The Proper Food Company’s Greens Superboost powder is an affordable nutritional supplement.

Having products that are affordable is key to the wellness brand, as The Proper Food Project director, James Riggs explained. “It’s always been our intention to create the best products that we can, the cleanest, and the products that we would want,” he said. “But if we possibly could, not to price them out of the range of everyone.

“I want the product to be affordable rather than it just being mad about profit. Because we are a very small business, we don’t sell huge volumes. We are growing every month and as we grow we want to pass on the savings that we make in the future to our consumers – not to our pockets. So as we grow, we would expect the price to come down even further.”

The Proper Food Project started out with a focus on everyday health nutritional consumers. It was important that the products be organic, as James Riggs said: “We could spot a gap in the organic protein nutrition supplements market that wasn’t quite being fulfilled by the likes of Maximuscle and others.

Protein is essential for growth and repair of the body and maintenance of good health. Proteins make up the body structure including muscle, skin, organ tissues, hair and nails. It helps create enzymes that regulate metabolism, hormone production, antibodies, neurotransmitters, and the growth and repair of cells. Protein provides the body with approximately 10 to 15% of its dietary energy and it is the second most abundant compound in the body, after water. Different foods contain different amounts and different combinations of amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins.

Protein from animal sources (e.g. meat, fish, eggs and dairy products) contains the full range of essential amino acids needed by the body. Vegans and vegetarians can get all the amino acids they need by combining different plant sources of protein, such as pulses and plants.

The Proper Food Project, which sells direct to customers through its own website as well as Amazon, started off by selling organic whey proteins and organic vegan proteins before extending its health nutrition supplement product range to include superfoods and multivitamins. The Proper Food Project’s Whey Protein comes from Germany using grass fed cow’s milk, and comes in three different flavours – plain, chocolate and vanilla chai latte. While The Proper Food Project’s Vegan Protein is made from rice and pea isolate proteins.

The Proper Food Project source their ingredients mainly from sustainable farms in Europe, while sometimes the rice and pea proteins may come from Africa and China. The brand do not source ingredients for their whey proteins closer to home in the UK, as James Riggs explained: “The whey protein comes from northern Germany. There aren’t currently as far as we know any organic whey producers in the UK. The way it works is you need whey liquid from organic cheese milk and the organic cheese milk producers in Britain are spread all over the place – so you would need a huge network to get them to one production site. The reason why it works in Germany is because in the northern part of the country, these organic cheese makers are everywhere so the production of it is much more cost-effective.”

The Proper Food Project will be launching new products in the coming months, including probiotics, and a more advanced range of whey and vegan proteins. An aid worker by trade, one of James Rigg’s visions is to grow produce on a 25-acre organic farm that he currently manages in the Ashanti region in Ghana. The organic farm is attached to the Wioso Senior High School – a school that James Riggs set up as part of the charity he founded, Alma Mater Education, to “provide high quality secondary education to those living in rural Africa who otherwise slip through the net of educational provision”. Currently, £1 of every product sold by The Proper Food Project is donated to the charity.

Being able to source The Proper Food Project’s ingredients from their certified-organic farm in Ghana too would certainly close the loop, as it were, creating a fully resourceful business. “We are looking to grow produce on the farm there that we can send back here [to the UK],” James Riggs explained. “That would be the ultimate aim. It’s very labour intensive and needs a lot of investment – but longer-term, if we can grow it there, that would be ideal.”

The Proper Food Project

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com

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