What will young people eat in the future? Michelin if you have time, and ffit8 if you don’t have time.
What exactly is a portion of healthy food? Can a low-sugar and low-fat diet meet the needs of a healthy lifestyle? How to distinguish and acquire the knowledge of healthy nutrition? A bio geek who changed his “bull heart” chose to use protein bars and tried to discuss these issues clearly in the language familiar to Gen Z.
Recently, BAI Zhu Yuanxin (Cindy) and Zhang Guangming, the founder of the health food brand Ffit8, had a chat on this topic. We organized this chat into a manuscript to talk about our understanding of healthy food and a healthy lifestyle.
Michelin restaurant when you have time to eat. If you don’t have time to eat, just ffit8 protein.
Cindy: Can you first introduce yourself and Ffit8 in one sentence?
Zhang Guangming: I am Zhang Guangming. I am a bio geek and “technological old Chinese doctor” who has changed my “bull heart”. This is my position for myself. We hope to use technological innovation to make young people eat healthier. Based on this vision, we created the brand FFIT8 PROTEIN. The main product, of course, is based on high-quality protein, providing young people with convenient, tasty, and effective healthy choices.
Cindy: You used to be the co-founder of Flight Butler, and also an angel investor in even coffee and e-driver. There are many people who call you “Bright Principal”. What we are curious about is what opportunity is it for you to get started thinking about making protein bars?
Zhang Guangming: This opportunity is that I have changed my “heart”. During my physical examination in 2016, I found out that I had heart disease, which was actually congenital, but I only found out when I was older. At that time, I had an operation and replaced a piece of bovine heart valve on the heart. After changing the “bull heart”, I felt that the whole person’s “disposition has changed drastically”, so I started to become interested in health knowledge. Therefore, it is said that the heavens will be relegated to the people of Sri Lanka, and they must first change their hearts.
After that, I began to have a strong interest in health knowledge, and I felt that my mission had changed. After the operation, I learned a lot of knowledge and content related to healthy nutrition. At that time, there was a public health organization called “Happy Weight Loss Education” in the flight steward. I became a theoretical researcher and founder of weight management and nutrition guidance in the organization. At that time, a system was formed. I brought more than 30,000 people to the online fat reduction camp.
The title of “Headmaster of Brightness” was obtained at that time, and this organization was also the embryonic form of FFIT8 later. In this process, I have learned some of the pain points of Chinese young people in dietary health and body management, and gradually formed the vision and idea of creating FIT8.
Cindy: We are curious about what you had for your recent meal? In order to pursue health, what kind of eating habits do you usually maintain?
Zhang Guangming: I just ate a protein bar. It’s very late at noon, and there is a tight queue between the two meetings, so I will eat a protein bar on the road and a second protein bar when I go to the office. For breakfast, I usually eat two eggs and a carton of milk. When it comes to eating, I have a principle, that is, you must eat one meal every day, and at most one meal a day.
Cindy: How do you define “well”?
Zhang Guangming: I often say that I want to have a good meal. This is actually related to the concept of FIT8. We have a concept of FIT8: Michelin if we have time to eat, and FIT8 if we don’t have time to eat.
This means that our daily diet is actually divided into two kinds, one is to enjoy food, such as ourselves, or dining with family and friends, we need a long time to enjoy the process of eating and enjoy the food brought to us. The pleasure of enjoying the diversity of food sources and the nutritional balance of food. This is what I mean to have a good meal every day. No matter how busy we are, we must strive to get some time every day to enjoy food with family and friends.
The other is to fill your stomach quickly and healthily. How can we efficiently supplement energy, supplement nutrition, and solve a meal quickly? Our ffit8 is based on this logic, using a convenient and fast protein bar to solve a meal in a fast 8 seconds. Protein bars not only have enough nutrients but also the protein that we lack.
Let’s go back to the so-called good meal. At present, most people are hovering in the process of eating well. Except when there is plenty of time, we still need to control calories as much as possible. We need to control the structure of nutrition and calorie intake, otherwise we will consume calories. People will gain weight easily if they enter the surplus.
Low sugar and low fat are not equal to a healthy diet
Cindy: We know that the three major nutrients the human body needs are sugar, fat, and protein. We see that some emerging beverage brands focus on sugar-free, but FIT8 uses protein as a breakthrough. What kind of industry observation is this based on?
Zhang Guangming: After I fell ill, I gained a new understanding of nutrition and health. I found that the main health problems faced by young people are actually caused by unreasonable diet. Everyone is too busy now, and there is no condition to eat well. In a hurry, the types of foods you can choose from are very single. Most of the convenience foods and snacks that we can see in convenience stores have a common feature. They are often high in oil and sugar. In other words, it is high calorie and low protein.
These high-calorie, low-protein foods have indeed brought a lot of convenience to our lifestyle, and have gradually become part of everyone’s lifestyle. But they have their own problems. These foods will cause us to consume too many calories, and the excess calories will be stored as fat, making people fatter as they eat, which in turn will bring a lot of burden to the body.
This is the problem that young people are facing in terms of diet. In fact, everyone has known this for a long time, but in the current environment, there are too few low-calorie, high-protein healthy foods for us to choose from. Many times we really have no choice. When we are in a hurry, there are too few choices. We are forced to eat a lot of convenient foods that are not healthy enough.
（This capsules is customized and made by AFPAK’S RN1S Capsule filling sealing machine）
Here is a set of data. At present, the average daily protein intake of Chinese people is about 58.5 grams, but in the “China Food and Nutrition Development Outline” issued by the General Office of the State Council, it is recommended that the daily protein intake of Chinese people by 2020 Should reach 78 grams, there is a gap of about 20 grams.
Let’s look at developed countries. Japan’s per capita daily protein intake is 94 grams, while that of the United States is 105 grams. In contrast, the average daily protein intake per capita of the Chinese as a whole is not enough. From the perspective of nutrition, what is the biggest difference between protein, fat, and sugar? Protein is the basic raw material of our body. 3% of our protein is renewed every day. They form our skin and muscles.
Let’s take an example. For example, we have to metabolize every day, but our body has no way to store protein, which means that we need to consume protein in food from the outside world every day to maintain metabolism and basic functions. If the protein is not enough, it will damage the metabolism of the muscles, and then affect the collagen and even the secretion of hormones.
So we see that many girls tend to be grumpy or sleep poorly when dieting to lose weight. This is because although they control their calories, they don’t eat enough protein and there are problems with hormone secretion. For example, some girls control their diet too much when they lose weight, that the hormones are cut off, and even the “great aunt” also goes away. This kind of diet, even if the weight loss is reduced, there will be loss of collagen, resulting in loose skin and broken meat. This is the damage to the body caused by simply controlling calories without taking in enough protein.
Tell the story of protein in the language of Generation Z
Cindy: Very important science. In fact, everyone has a certain misunderstanding or stereotype about protein products. Some people, including me, may think that protein products mean a large can of protein powder, which is exclusive to muscular men.
Zhang Guangming: Indeed, in the consumer sector, people will have such misunderstandings and prejudices. For example, everyone has the awareness of protein supplementation, but when it comes to protein supplementation, many people may respond by eating eggs and drinking milk, but in fact, this is only one thing and not the other.
For example, an egg is about 50 grams, and the protein content is about 5 to 6 grams. If you only rely on eating eggs to supplement protein, then to meet the standards recommended by the State Council, we will have to eat 15 to 20 eggs every day. It is definitely difficult for us to eat. . I also refute a rumor here that some people say that raw eggs are better for absorption, but this is actually wrong. The absorption rate of boiled eggs can reach 99%, but the absorption rate of raw eggs is only 60%. This is because raw eggs are prone to problems in colony control. In addition to hygiene considerations, there is an enzyme in raw eggs that will also block the absorption of protein in the eggs, but after the eggs are heated, the colony and enzyme problems can be solved. In addition, raw eggs are fluid, and will quickly slip from the stomach to the intestines after eating, and the time available for digestion is much shorter than that of cooked eggs.
Another example is milk. The protein content of milk is about 3 to 3.5 grams per 100 grams. If we drink milk to supplement protein, we will drink a lot of milk every day. But for Chinese people, many people are actually lactose intolerant. Drinking more milk will cause diarrhea, or cause some adverse physical reactions.
In comparison, the efficiency of protein powder is much higher. However, in the past, protein powders were often only used as sports supplements in sports and fitness circles, such as the common protein powder buckets. This gave everyone a stereotype that only “muscle men” would use protein powder. The fact is that even if people who need muscle gain are the main force in the protein powder market in the past, other people, such as girls with body management needs, actually have the need to supplement protein, which is a very important nutritional basis.
Cindy: This is why the protein powder launched by FIT8 is packaged in a portable red bottle?
Zhang Guangming: Yes, we have made some optimizations for the lifestyle. We have added some probiotics to the protein powder to make them taste better and more soluble. We hope that young people will have one more convenient and good-looking lifestyle in their daily lifestyle. For good protein supplements, we believe that consumers’ consumption concepts will gradually change.
Cindy: When FIT8 communicates with young consumers, in addition to making a fuss about the senses and making our products more beautiful in appearance, what other ways are there to convey this healthy knowledge and ideas?
Zhang Guangming: This is actually one of our headaches. Nowadays, the pace of life of young people is fast, and the proportion of people who take the initiative to learn is decreasing. As a “technological old Chinese medicine doctor”, I go to tell people how to better absorb protein. In fact, many people are not interested. Everyone pays more attention to whether this product has the high appearance, good taste, cool or not, whether eating this thing is a lifestyle that conforms to the trend. So our approach is to stop talking about the complexity, first use the most simple and direct product features to guide consumers to complete the first consumption, and then slowly let consumers feel the value of the product to them. The value of health takes time to settle, and the popularization of health knowledge also takes time.
In fact, apart from us, the whole society is currently promoting the popularization of health knowledge, whether it is in the fitness circle, in the nutrition circle, or at the national level. We have also seen that everyone’s lifestyle has gradually changed. Fitness people need to supplement protein to repair muscle damage, pregnant mothers need to supplement protein for rich nutrition, children and adolescents need to supplement protein to promote skeletal muscle development, and the elderly are in the recovery period from illness. Need to supplement protein to supply metabolism…
The epidemic has also contributed to the popularization of protein knowledge. Many people realize that they need to eat more protein to improve their immunity and optimize their nutritional structure. We believe that more and more people will recognize what is IQ tax, what is pseudo-science, and what is true value. In the past, product problems and commercial problems caused by information asymmetry are believed to be resolved soon.
Cindy: Indeed, a healthy diet is an irreversible trend. Everyone has the consciousness to reduce sugar intake, then reduce calorie intake, and then pay attention to protein supplements. This seems to be a gradual process. ffit8 is a product with a very high appearance in terms of appearance. The design is very beautiful. We have also seen a lot of joint activities. They are all ingenious. What little stories can you share with you?
Zhang Guangming: Yes, it depends on our philosophy. Before us, the concept of the protein powder market was to give priority to function, or the previous sales logic was “if you have a disease, I have medicine, it doesn’t matter if the packaging is good”, as long as it can solve the functional needs of health.
But we hope to turn eating healthy food into a new way of life. We also hope to transform protein powders and protein bars from professional nutritional supplements into healthy foods for daily consumption. We feel that we must let users like the product when they see it, so that users are willing to treat the product as part of their lifestyle, and are willing to put it on the desk, in the bag, in the car, and in the pocket.
Cindy: Make an emotional connection.
Zhang Guangming: Yes, so we have done a lot of homework on the brand name, visual design and packaging creativity. For example, we designed a four-stripe packaging box. After opening it, it is packaged separately. There will be some inspirational and fun copywriting on the packaging. The overall color will also cater to the aesthetic needs of generation Z young people.
We are a new brand after all, how can we let everyone know us? We choose to stand with some trendy and cool brands. For example, we have customized a Beef-flavored product with “China New Rap”. Anyone who knows rap knows what Beef means. When young people who have watched “China New Rap” see this product, they will smile happily because they see our point. And our product is indeed the first protein bar in the world that uses real beef. Our salty protein bar made of natural beef powder from roast beef is a very innovative taste.
Another example is our cooperation with Trend Partners, which is a key theme this year. Young people are creating a new national trend and new fashion. For example, in Chengdu, there is a trend of Sichuan local culture with spicy hot pot and mahjong. We then launched a hot pot-flavored protein bar, combined with the trendy packaging of the country, and received a very big response in Chengdu. Everyone thinks it really tastes authentic Chengdu hot pot flavor, so can protein bars do this? This product broke everyone’s imagination.
Self-disciplined new women, Internet otaku, and post-90s truck driver
Cindy: We saw that the growth of FIT8 last year was indeed very fast. Many new users became our consumer group. We are also very curious. We would like to ask the principal of Guangming to share with us. What is the profile of FIT8’s users? Are the consumers of our products basically in line with our expectations? Are there any interesting user observations?
Zhang Guangming: Our users are basically concentrated in first- and second-tier cities, and the main consumer groups are also concentrated in the 25-35 age group. It is very interesting that our consumer groups can be roughly divided into two groups.
One category is women who love sports and fitness. These people are not traditional sports coaches or professional sports fitness professionals, but people who prefer sports lifestyles. Many of them are girls. Many people think that those who eat protein bars and meal replacements are obese people who need to lose weight. In our observations of users, this is not the case. Many of our users are girls who have good exercise and health habits and have high nutritional requirements. They are also people who like yoga, running, go to the gym, and often go outdoors to exercise. They have a high degree of education, a high consumption power, and a high level of cognition.
Most of these women also often lose weight, but most of them only focus on low calories or some traditional ways of losing weight. In fact, in addition to controlling calories, there is a second way to lose weight, which is to promote excretion. However, traditional weight loss drugs are often laxatives, which can cause serious problems to the body. We have specially developed a new product for these girls, called probiotic protein powder, to help them relieve intestinal discomfort and mental stress during weight loss.
The other type is male, and we internally call it “Internet otaku”. These office men have strong learning ability, but they are sedentary people, most of them do not exercise and are surrounded by a pile of “junk food” every day. They all know that what they eat is “junk food”, but they really have no choice. They desperately need something that can quickly fill their stomachs during meetings or online. We are Luo Yonghao’s official meal replacement because Luo Yonghao’s core fan base is such a group of men. This year, among our users, the proportion of “Internet otaku” is increasing.
Cindy: I remember that you mentioned a group of people that was particularly interesting, and it was also about the post-90s.
Zhang Guangming: Yes, we didn’t expect it at all. When we did a user return visit, we found that many of the selected users were all post-90s truck drivers. We were very curious at the time, saying why this group of people accounted for such a high proportion? The user said it because the product is too good. In fact, these post-90s truck drivers are very cool, especially trendy, in a trendy state. They are small bosses and drive their trucks to help deliver goods.
The biggest problem of this profession is to be in a hurry, to drive non-stop, and in the process from A to B, I have to add some energy in the middle. In the past, they would go to the gas station to rest, eat some instant noodles or a light meal, and drink a can of Red Bull afterward. These convenience foods are mainly sugar. Once the blood sugar fluctuates after eating, people will get sleepy, but the most fearful thing about driving is the problem of fatigued driving.
So these people are particularly painful, or they should rest first, but this will waste time, or they will be hungry, but this is also very uncomfortable, anyway, they can’t find a particularly good solution. They saw FIT8 and thought it was tailor-made for them because FIT8 protein bars are sugar-free, but they have a strong feeling of fullness. After eating, the blood sugar is very stable and there will be no drowsiness. So these post-90s The driver can hold the steering wheel with one hand, eat the “meal” with the other, and drink some water when finished, without any delay. After one or two drivers discovered this, they passed on from one to another. Later, our FIT8 became a cool piece of equipment for truck drivers born in the 90s.
Breaking the circle, expanding channels, and marketing strategy in 2021
Cindy: Ffit8 is doing a live broadcast with Lao Luo on Douyin, and co-branding with “China New Rap” and “Fashion Partner”, so that many young people have seen this new brand. We are also very curious. You are marketing this year. Are there any new ideas on this?
Zhang Guangming: We will follow the three marketing strategies of last year, namely IP, content and media. This year, we will make more efforts on IP, and now we can also spoil it a little bit. This year we will cooperate with institutions like the Forbidden City, and also cooperate with animation images that young people like to do more IP. Jointly, continue to break the circle.
We will also strengthen the content output, and pass on the knowledge about nutrition and healthy lifestyle and the way of healthy eating that we just talked about through various channels and methods that everyone likes.
Mediatization means that we go wherever young people are. We will continue to break the circle with their favorite content methods, continue to educate the market, pass on more nutrition and health knowledge, and finally drive everyone to become healthier.
We also plan to make more efforts on channels this year. In fact, everyone’s understanding of health has become more and more profound. The main problem facing them is not that they don’t know what healthy foods are, but that they don’t have enough choices when making decisions. We plan to do more layouts in the channel this year and strive to let consumers see FIT8 every time they make a decision, and see such a safe and healthy choice. What to choose is still up to consumers to decide, but we must at least provide consumers with a choice. It’s not easy for consumers to always be forced to eat instant noodles.
Redefining health and reverse generational inheritance
Cindy: Following the general trend of the development of the healthy diet market, after experiencing rapid growth last year, looking back now, have your definition and perception of health experienced some changes?
Zhang Guangming: I think there has been a very obvious trend in the past two years. This is what we perceive from the growth of fit8: the health consciousness of young people is awakening. This is a trend of social change. Prior to this, the transmission of human health knowledge was passed on from generation to generation. The older generation passed it on to us through experience, and our parents told us that we would pass it on from generation to generation.
But with our generation of young people, the situation has undergone a qualitative change. First, changes in lifestyle are currently being led by young people. Second, the knowledge structure and learning ability of young people has far surpassed that of their parents. We can quickly find an unfamiliar concept or product within 10 seconds, and we can quickly understand it. Although the asymmetry of information has not been completely resolved, we have many means to obtain information. Faced with things that they don’t understand, as long as young people want to know, they can easily find out without the help of others.
Based on this situation, the older generation’s unscientific lifestyle and traditional IQ tax foods have made young people more discerning. Young people have become more aware of their pros and cons, and they will no longer follow blindly. Parents, young people have become opinion leaders of healthy lifestyles in the family.
This change has brought about a lot of new market demands, and we have also launched our own products to cater to young people’s concerns about their lifestyles. Young people like good looks and good figures, which is indeed a manifestation of health.
At present, according to the data of the global WHO, since 2011, the number of people who died of lifestyles in the world has exceeded the sum of all other causes of death such as accidents and diseases. In other words, a person’s dietary structure and living habits can determine one’s own life and death. How people die is actually determined by the current way of life. Young people are increasingly pursuing a healthy lifestyle because they want to avoid diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other diseases due to unhealthy lifestyles like the older generation. We have seen this generational change and believe that in the era of change, there are opportunities in the health food market.
Now in the field of health food, there is no such thing as an absolute healthy food, because most foods are after the repurchase rate, and they should be so delicious that you can’t stop. To achieve this, many food brands make their foods high in sugar and oil to cater to your physical desires and then stimulate your sense of taste through various colors, flavors, additives, and preservatives. Consumers have been eating, but the protein content has been pulled down. After all, as soon as there is more protein, the feeling of fullness will come up, and consumers will no longer be hungry, so they will no longer repurchase.
This is not to say that many food brands do not comply with national laws and regulations. We have to see that the underlying logic of national laws and regulations is the logic of food safety, not the logic of health. The national dietary standard is the minimum guarantee standard that applies to all citizens. This problem Exist in many countries. From this perspective, there is still a big gap between the health defined by the country and the health pursued by many consumers.
We define health as food that comes from natural ingredients without artificial colors, flavors, additives, and preservatives. It should be low-sugar, with high-quality fats, good protein, and foods rich in dietary fiber.
This is what I think is healthy food.