It has been referred to more than once as an epidemic sweeping across the western world; a biblical-style pestilence threatening the health of the young and not-so-young but two innovative entrepreneurs- Damien Kennedy and Greg Duggan- are seeking to do something about it; to show a better way.
There is no shortage of articles, reports and studies warning about the high sugar content in many modern-day, processed foods. The warnings often bring with them chilling notices about the effect high intakes of sugar can have on the human body- with obesity and diabetes leading those lists.
Kennedy and Dugan have begun to make their mark by coming up with a range of high protein, sugar free ice creams designed to provide a healthy snack alternative. The enterprising pair came up with the name WheyHey to drive a mission of good food for good health. Their first product launched was a 20k of whey protein and zero protein ice cream.
Theirs is the first of what promises to be a wide range of products that aims to shift consumer purchasing away from high sugar and calorie snacks to high protein, low-to-no-sugar, wholesome foods.
"Our background is in human performance, physiology, and biomechanics. We became frustrated with big food companies selling awful ingredients and pushing out confusing messages to consumers. So, we decided to do something about it," explained Kennedy. Three years in, the innovative, health-focused brand is looking to expand into new domains - nutrition, health, and wellbeing-to carry the Wheyhey mission to a wider range of consumers.
We started from our kitchen and spent eight months developing manufacturing processes, accessing food scientists, physiologists, and dieticians to develop a great taste and ideal nutritional profile," Kennedy shared.
An indication of the kind of impacts its products have made shows in the company winning Unilever Foundry's Trailblazer Brand and the High Potential Business Award from the U.K.'s StartUp Award. "It was fantastic to be selected as the winner," Damien explained of the brand's recent StartUp Award, "previous winners have now some of the biggest household names around the world."
"When we started Wheyhey we were clear we wanted to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing the world- obesity and diabetes- in a fun and enjoyable way. Winning this award is another endorsement for the journey we are on."
Another win for the company came in the form of its invitation to join the THRIVE AgTech 8-week accelerator program.
"I was told about the Accelerator program by the CEO of SVG Partners John Hartnett, who heard about our story in Dublin at the Ireland Economic Forum. We didn't expect to get through, so when we were announced as a finalist, we were truly honored," Damien revealed.
"It was the first time we were involved in anything like this. Firstly, we realized it to be a huge opportunity to connect with like minded entrepreneurs from around the world with goals like us" Damien noted.
"Secondly, we were given the opportunity to interact with some of the best minds in the Silicon Valley from a variety of fields- finance, investment, marketing operations, and technology."
CEO and Founder of THRIVE AgTech and SVG Partners John Hartnett pointed to the pair's altruistic mission, "these entrepreneurs bring some incredible energy and innovation to one of the world's most important industries and have been drawn together by the opportunity that arises from the huge challenge in front of us- feeding the world, and in a healthful and sustainable way."
Damien explained that in order to do this, healthier alternatives need to be radically improved. "At Wheyhey, we believe we are developing a business model which delivers truly healthful indulgence across a variety of channels and offerings. Our food scientists and nutritionists are constantly developing new ways to do this."
Looking ahead, Wheyhey will build on its impressive progress in building a distribution platform all across EMEA, with their sights set on the Americas in the months to come.