As a consumer who is heavily passionate about functional products, licensed pharmacist Jinn Lim never easily trusted any marketing companies. Her profession shaped her into being very evidence-based about these products.
Together with her brother, Ron Lim, they launched Project B in 2015 with a vision to be transparent of the whole food product development process as a bare company.
“Back then we identified this market gap in the functional food category, no other companies are willing to invest their effort in pooling evidence, such as pre-market, data that could be used for the product development process,” said Jinn, founder of Project B.
“Often because, these efforts do come with a relatively heavy development cost, not to mention some projects may have to be discarded halfway and have no chance to be marketed.”
Jinn Lim focuses on the technical aspects of Project B, mainly the product and development and improvement, while Ron Lim contributes his experiences to sales and marketing.
They invested a lot of time and capital for Project B, launching their first product, Project B Hydrolysed Biomarine Collagen Peptide in February 2019. As of last month, they have a total of six stock keeping units.
The team shared that their monthly revenue is growing at a steady rate of 50% since the launch.
Running a “bare and transparent” product development process
Project B endeavours to provide a 100% clean label, honest and high-quality functional food that benefits their customers’ lifestyle.
Jinn pointed out that the clean label movement has been ongoing in more developed countries for many years.
Dictionary Time: Clean label is a consumer-driven movement which demands for a return to “real food” and transparency. Food products are expected to be familiar, simple ingredients that are easy to recognise, understand, and pronounce, with minimal processing. The expectation is also that the food contains no artificial ingredients or synthetic chemicals.
“We are seeing this trend has been picked up throughout Southeast Asia,” she added. “Consumers are constantly on the lookout for clean products with the rise of health awareness.”
Before launching Project B’s products, the team uses a 2-steps bare policy, which every product must undergo.
- Step 1 – Formulation Review: The team seeks professional opinions from dieticians, pharmacists, nutritionists and traditional practitioners through a blinded review. The product brand names are not disclosed to compare the nutritional information and ingredients of Project B’s product formula.
- Step 2 – Product Trial: The team reaches out to a number of volunteers to gather their feedback and reviews on Project B’s products through trials.
Getting results from these two parties helps the team to make improvements and further fine-tuning before delivering their products to the market.
“It doesn’t stop [at] the development process. Every day, our company still likes to be really close to our customer and open to hear and receive feedback from them,” Jinn explained.
“We love this because what they can offer is invaluable—a chance and room to be better, which we are really grateful about.”
From formula confirmation to 2-steps bare policy and further fine-tuning, they have to make sure the final product is balanced in all aspects of nutritional profile, efficacy, cost, and application.
“The aforesaid is a simple illustration but, in reality, hiccups happen in almost every step of the development which explains the many rounds of fine-tuning,” she explained. “It takes two to three years in the development process.”
“We believe these steps are inevitable in business and having said that, we will not compromise this process because this is what we are committed to fine selection and launch quality products.”
Translating “clean” food into “clean” products
Project B’s current products are Hydrolysed Biomarine Collagen Peptide, Bird Nest, Fat Burner and Natural Fruit Booster. These products are 100% clean, unsweetened and unflavoured, packed with functional ingredients only. All the ingredients are imported from overseas.
“B Collagen is sourced from Italy, B Bird Nest is from Indonesia while B Fat Burner is from the US,” Jinn said. “So we do not have a single source for all products. We go to the best source.”
The product line is supposed to be versatile; all products can be mixed together for single consumption.
For those who are on a clean diet, they can also mix their own blend of B products into their morning drinks or any sort of superfood.
“We encourage customers to mix and match to make their personalised daily supplement for any kind of functional boost,” Jinn added.
Project B’s products are packaged with minimal design—solid colours and detailed information printed on the casings—to fit its brand direction.
“We want to be as straightforward as possible in focusing on three elements—Bare (2-steps bare policy), Clean (100% good stuff, unflavoured and unsweetened) and Lifestyle (Mix & Match)”, she explained.
Expanding the product line
Project B has about 20 products under their pipeline that they would like to launch. As its short-term focus, they will aggressively launch and complete the product range.
They are currently preparing to launch their next product, which restores digestive health and gut function.
“With the highly promising premarket data that we have collected, we are really looking forward to and believe this new launch will be able to benefit many,” Jinn anticipated.
Moving forward, besides Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei, they want to continue to introduce the brand across the region in Southeast Asia, giving everyone access to clean functional food.
- Find out more about Project B’s product development process and products at the official website.
Feature Image Credit: Project B