PRO2FIT is also planning to launch new products for bone and joint health in Q2 this year, with co-founder Payal Shah telling NutraIngredients-Asia that existing products usually contain animal-based vitamin D and glucosamine.
The brand was established two years ago during the COVID-19 lockdown in India.
Shah, together with her co-founder Saurabh Shah, has about 15 years of experience working in the health and nutrition industry.
Both previously worked in Virginia-based Vitaspan – the company behind the supplement brand Biotivia. Her co-founder was the former chief scientific officer at the firm, while she was the former head of purchase and operations.
Shah decided to set up PRO2FIT after practising veganism for 1.5 years and noticed that there has been a lack of supplements suitable for vegans.
This is especially so when it comes to products addressing lung and liver health.
“When we look at the products available these days, they are mostly focusing on hair, skin, nails, and your overall external appearance.
“But we forgot that the most important organs in the body – the lungs and livers. They are the primary organs responsible for the entire body’s detoxification process and so, these are the two areas that we want to focus on.
“The overall air quality these days is highly polluted and also, with COVID-19, lung health is an important area which consumers are concerned with,” Shah explained.
The company has launched Lung Detox, a capsule product that claims to support healthy lung function, respiratory health, cleanses, detoxifies and purifies the lungs.
It contains ingredients including echinacea purpurea extract, quercetin, lotus rhizome, inula racemose, liquorice extract, ginger extract, grape seed extract, vitamin C, piperine, and stinging nettle extract.
Its other product, Liver Detox, claims to promote liver function and detoxification. Ingredients used include amla, milk thistle, moringa leaf extract, liquorice, and dandelion.
In total, there are seven SKUs under the brand, including vegan protein powder, multivitamin for men and women, and a product for menopause.
At the moment, Liver Detox, together with protein powder PRO2FIT vanilla flavour, and PRO2FIT Diva coffee mocha are its bestsellers, according to Shah.
On the other hand, the company uses pea protein isolate, brown rice isolate, and mung bean protein concentrate in its vegan protein products.
Shah also outlined the new product development plans that the company has, including supplements for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), bone and joint health.
“We would like to come up with vegan products especially for bone and joint health. This is what we will focus on moving forward,” Shah said, adding that there has been a lack of vegan offerings for these two categories.
“Calcium, vitamin D3, glucosamine, and methyl-sulfonyl-methane (MSM), these are the kinds of formulas that are commonly available for bone and joint health.
“[For our new product development], having vitamin D3 and glucosamine from vegan sources is what’s important for us,” she said, when asked how could existing ingredients be replaced by vegan options.
She said that the company was working on the formulations, adding that it primarily worked with local ingredient suppliers and a handful from China.
One of the suppliers that the company is working with is Mumbai-based UniBourne Food Ingredients.
Veganism – pop culture driven?
Veganism is fast-gaining popularity partly because of popular culture, Shah said.
“People are warming up to the idea of veganism. It is gaining popularity because a lot of celebrities and influential people have started following a vegan lifestyle,” she said.
For herself, she started to turn vegan due to ethical and health reasons.
“I have been a vegetarian all my life. For me, turning vegan is just taking one step forward and moving away from dairy products."