Refuel the natural way – B’s at the Red Bull race
On an early autumn day the Baroudeurs meet up with Sanjay Soni to discuss the origins of PURSU – a no-nonsense nutritional selection of bars that naturally fuel active people. We also make time to discuss where he hopes to take the company. We of course, are welcome to the ride.
Tell me about the name PURSU. How did it come about?
Like a lot of people I had been spending long hours behind a desk. I was looking for some balance; an activity and community of some sort and I discovered this through sport. Primarily running and cycling. Getting the right fuel and nutrition to match this balance just didn’t exist. There’s a lot out there, but I couldn’t find a product with the best quality ingredients, no added sugar, cheap syrups or processed ingredients. Not yet anyway. So, I decided to make it myself. I believe I could do better. That’s when I came up with the name, PURSU.
What is PURSU?
The Pursu range of vegan endurance bars are made from natural ingredients with absolutely no added sugar. They’re cold pressed and deliciously moist which makes them easy to eat, even while you’re training or racing.
“The name isn’t just limited to the ingredients in our products, but the whole concept of a life without compromise. I believe in pursuing a complete life. Hence the name, PURSU.”
Launch products include Sour Cherry, Beetroot and Banana & Cacao
What’s your secret ingredient?
Time. It took a lot of time. I spent a year in my kitchen throwing quality ingredients together to find the best nutrition and tasting a combination of flavours. Then getting feedback from people I could trust and doing the whole thing again and again in the kitchen. After a lot of to-ing and fro-ing I decided to give myself a deadline and I think we’re finally there.
“You soon discover cacao is a cow…”
What are your challenges/barriers?
Once I got the ingredients and taste right I approached at least 10 manufacturers. All of them wanted an MOQ (minimum order quantity) of 24,000 per flavour. That was a big wake-up call. I now had to decide how much did I really believe in what I’m doing. And I do. With a bit more persistence I managed to find a great manufacturer that had a smaller MOQ.
The next challenge was replicating from kitchen to manufacturing plant. That wasn’t smooth. You soon discover that cacao is a cow to replicate right. We were using small batches of quality ingredients to make our bars in the kitchen, whereas the manufacturer was using its own bulk ingredients sourced elesewhere, so when I got samples back they tasted very different. I wasn’t going to give up.
When I did find a manufacturer I could work with, I decided to take on their own supply of ingredients to get the taste right.
A breakthrough came in the people I met along the way. People who genuinely wanted to help, not want anything in return and see PURSU succeed. A food technologist gave me their time to work on nutrition and advice on the reactivity of ingredients. We were getting there.
You’re setting high standards. What can we expect from your food standards?
We have BRC standards throughout our entire food supply chain. We want to be meticulous and accountable about who choose as our suppliers and manufacturers and what we do in partnership. This includes everything from hygiene, food wrapping and measurements. For example, they use x-ray machines and metal detectors to ensure the bars are safe.
I was inspired by the transition that Yanto Barker made from Pro Rider to founder of Le Col. He was kind of enough to spend time with me to share his story advise me on many aspects of starting a business.
Where are you and PURSU now?
The samples have now arrived and we’re excited to get them out to a wider audience. I’m fortunate to be working with an amazing design agency to get the branding right. They hadn’t worked with anything like PURSU before and really wanted to work with me on this. I’m very happy with how we’re starting and helping more people get into sport.
It’s not good enough that I’m doing this for me. I ask myself every day, how can I add value to the world.
Very early on I wanted to partner with others who are making a difference. So every bar sold a penny goes to Re-Cycle, a charity that takes your unwanted bike and makes it road-worthy for someone else who needs it. For me working with them is a big incentive.
Packaging designed to return to nature
Has your packaging changed?
Yes and no. Our samples came packaged in foil, but now our complete range is compostable. PURSU packaging is designed to break-down and return to nature, just like the natural ingredients we use. It’s also fully accredited by a third-party, TUV Austria, to guarantee complete compostability within 26 weeks.
We officially launch in March 2019. In the meantime we’re going to events and meetings to inspire people to get active and take the first step towards a sport that can change their lives. We’re supporting running and cycling events and supplying samples for people so they can discover PURSU for themselves.
Eat. Ride. Repeat. PURSU?
How can people get hold of your PURSU bars?
We welcome people who are curious; people who want delicious sports nutrition without compromising quality nor the environment. We’re offering such people a launch discount.
For more information, check out PURSU.
:: The interview is independent and the club does not have any commercial involvement with PURSU nor Sanjay Soni. We simply like their ideas. You can find a range of discussion and reviews here ::