Here at The Spoon, we had to ban the headline “X is the Keurig of Y” because for a while, the food tech industry was just using it too much in elevator pitches. It became too much of a lazy go-to. I pulled rank, however, and brought it back out today because honestly, it’s just the easiest, most accurate way to describe what the Swiss startup FuelTechnology does.
FuelTechnology is developing a cartridge-based drinking+supplement dispensing system. You load a disposable cartridge of a powder supplement (think: protein powder) into the base of a special shaker bottle. After a workout, you fill up the shaker bottle with water (or whatever liquid) and push a button to release the powder into the drink.
The advantage to this system, ideally, is less mess and more mobility. Instead of scooping out one serving of powder into a shaker bottle, you can carry multiple cartridges and use them as you like. The cartridges will be made from biodegradable plastic and the company is still determining if they will make their own supplements, or co-brand it with a CPG company for retail. Cartridges are expected so sell for $3.50 a serving, which seems about right.
FuelTechnology Co-Found and CEO, Angelo Giuliano, told me that his company has a number of patents pending for the system, but this fully realized version of FuelTechnology’s vision won’t hit the market for another year as the company continues to develop and manufacture it.
Until FuelTechnology can go full-on with its cartridges, the company is selling the Fuelbaby, a formula+baby bottle system for feeding infants. Fuelbaby sells for $25 directly via its website.
FuelTechnology’s, errr, technology, immediately reminded me of Drinkfinity (but most people wouldn’t understand the headline “X is the Drinkfinity of Y”). Made by Pepsi, Drinkfinity uses a special shaker and disposable cartridges of liquid and powdered flavorings to jazz up your water. But Drinkfinity’s pods are more about adding a splash of mango to help keep you hydrated, rather than adding a supplement like protein or amino acids. But still, Pepsi is a big brand with lots of marketing muscle (pardon the pun) and could easily move into the supplement market if it sees an opportunity.
FuelTechnology has raised $1 million in funding, and fun fact: Giuliano is an investor in a different food pod-based startup, countertop yogurt maker, Yomee. Neither product has hit the market yet, so we’ll have to wait and see if Giuliano’s cartridges will catch on with consumers.