As a holistic healthcare unit, we were introduced to the concept of OMG!'s disruptive proteins for the new age by our doctors. The acronym for OMG! is shrouded in mystery as to whether it is Organic Medical Group/Organic Muscle Growth/(just plain) Oh My God!
I visited the founder, Kasi Chettiar, when I was in London after he visited our holistic health clinics in Mozambique and Kenya and gave us some solid pointers about how to make Western medicine more accessible in rural areas. He gave me ideas of what they are trying to achieve but nothing too important.
However, when I met him for lunch, he gave me some marketing material and their own definitive survey that they have conducted with 20 000 participants regarding protein deficiency in India. He explained the enormity of the protein deficiency due to the predominantly vegetarian diet and the growing fitness market he can parallelly service with the same products but different packaging. My main question was is this a real problem? Is the protein deficiency so acute that the lack of it will severely affect their lives and health?
His answer was a resounding yes. He brought out soundbites of various doctors and their views on protein as a building block and the consequences of low protein over a lifetime. He gave me more research about how protein-deficiency is correlative with diabetes and other India-centric illnesses and conditions. This was exacerbated by his studies and further substantiated by their survey which proved the already well known symptoms of protein deficiency i.e weak muscles, constant lethargy and hair fall being the chief three.
I enquired about the Soylents and the Optimum Nutritions of the world trying to achieve the same tasks individually and what separates them as the wheat here. He explained in detail their lean freeze drying setup, their unique formulations to retain more protein and their processes which ensure better solubility creating more of a superfood than a supplement. I wondered for a bit about how safe his products are.
He claimed that they batch-test each product and wish to become a preferred protein supplier for pharmaceuticals along with becoming a food and beverage protein brand. They are already approved across Europe and the Indian states. I was wondering why there was not enough press about them if they have achieved all this. He silently muttered that they don't have PR, Sales or a Marketing team. I enquired why since they have created the products to sell.
He said that they have bootstrapped so far and have no external funding at all. Kasi is the head of the three-person team who develop the proteins, partner with farms, arrange licences and approvals and overall, run the company. When I asked him how big the whole team was. He looked at me blankly and said 'three'. He saw that I was shocked and went on to clarify that they contract everything out to keep the structure lean and their costs low. Get packaging done by a friend. Get sales done online. Did the websites himself through learning wordpress/php from scratch. Get BTL (whatever that means) advertising done by a friend's marketing firm. He has got someone to take care of operations in India. He is trying to structure exclusivity agreements and OEM contracts with existing organics manufacturers before reaching the critical capacity required to create his own micro-filtration plant.
I asked him if the brand was available to buy and the answer was not yet but we are working with logistics platforms to ship across the globe with free shipping in India and that he is leaving to India to create a distribution network for Whey Lite which will be sold in small sachets to enhance the protein content of any food it touches.
I had to stop him when he said that they are trying to hack the mythic protein scaleability in order to create proteins that can just become the third condiment (salt, pepper and protein).
When I questioned before he left, how he created this when he was not a biotechnologist or food scientist. He said he went through the whole biotechnology course for IIT and read up all the free resources available in Coursera/Udemy. He leveraged this knowledge to convince his two more traditionally educated bio-technologists to come on board and help him out. It has to be noted that Kasi was a former investment banker, which explains his love for being a shadow and keeping everything under wraps, who was just incredibly into his organic farming and world hunger elimination.
OMG believes will combat world hunger with their meal replacement which has a more equitable distribution of nutrition and is more soluble creating a better meal substitute in low-income countries than his behemoth nemesis, Soylent.
At present, they are a British research company partnering with European organic farms to create consumer proteins for India.