05.05.2021 from Meggen Taylor
“I founded Vejo in 2015 after going through a personal journey to improve my health and nutrition,” shares Vejo Founder Christoph Bertsch. “After doing my own research, I found that the recommendations from governments, scientific papers, and even doctors had conflicting information about how to be healthy and I grew frustrated. Ultimately, I realized that I could create something completely unique and effective that could provide accessible, personalized, and convenient nutrition to the masses.”
Vejo is the first integrated health and wellness platform to provide access to targeted on-the-go nutrition without compromising nutrients, convenience, or taste. “We are looking to solve major challenges in the food system with a focus on democratizing high-quality nutrition, as healthy food is often expensive, inconvenient, and inaccessible,” explains Bertsch. “Our flagship blenders and pods meet the demands of an on-the-go society by being reusable, easy to throw in a bag or cup holder, activated without a button, and sleek in design.”
Bertsch isn’t new to launching businesses. Prior to creating Vejo he started six different companies in Germany spanning from women’s and children’s fashion, catalog software, and B2B how-to videos. But this was his first foray into nutrition.
“There really isn’t transparency in nutrition,” Bertsch tells me. With being the first-to-market with this concept, there wasn’t a road map. “We went about creating an ecosystem for the brand in a very German way. We reached out to doctors, holistic doctors, nutritionists, and pharmacists. We had to put this together step by step. Then we would reassess to see if we moved the needle. There were so many hiccups in the beginning.”
Vejo is the world’s first biodegradable pod-based blender that’s a rechargeable, zero-button-activated smart device utilizing a camera and blue-tooth technology to connect to the mobile app that allows users to track their pod consumption and manage their membership. Currently, Vejo offers twenty different blends that have been developed by the company’s in-house doctors and tested and validated by professional and elite athletes.
“Our pods contain a mix of fruits, vegetables, superfoods—all of which are freeze dried within hours of being picked to ensure peak nutritional value, taste, while reducing waste and how many times the produce is handled,” says Bertsch. “There are blends to get you through whatever your day throws at you, from your morning routine with a morning coffee or pre-workout pod, to a healthy midday snack, to your pre-bed rituals with a daily recovery or sleep-promoting formula.” In fact, Vejo recently launched their Immunity blend that has become a best seller in the midst of the pandemic.
“We wholeheartedly believe that nutrition has the power to affect all aspects of our body and mind, states Bertsch. “That’s why, in addition to our fruit and vegetable blends, we’ve worked tirelessly to formulate science-backed blends that also support ongoing self-care. These blends tackle issues such as sleep, stress and immunity—all of which are top of mind right now for consumers given the current COVID climate. In fact, since the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S., our Immunity Fuel blend has become our top seller by 3x. As we all want to help our bodies fight their best fight in these unpredictable times, we feel fortunate to be able to provide a product that helps our customers feel better prepared.”
As part of the Vejo Research Center, the brand has Vejo+, a curated wellness program that helps individuals map a customized path to become their healthiest, happiest self and it’s also where many of the blends get tested and created.
Bertsch tells me, “Vejo+ is an in-house dynamic clinic that creates individualized health plans for members and to perfect blends for the larger community. Through individual data from our participants, which includes world class and professional athletes, doctors, and nutritionists we customize recommendations and develop personalized blends based on each member’s goals and comprehensive lab work.” Through the data points, Vejo is better able to formulate their consumer offerings making high-performance nutrition more readily available to the masses.
To ensure the best quality ingredients, Vejo takes the utmost care in choosing their farming partners. “We work with organic and sustainable farms, with each location dependent on the ingredient. For example, all of our berries in the Pacific Northwest Tart Berry Blend come from a sustainable farm in Oregon called Stahlbush Island Farms, which uses automation and is one of the best farms in its class. Automation is the goal because our overall rule and guidelines for our farms to work with us is for them to have a freeze-drying facility on site.”
Another farm Vejo works with that utilizes leading farming and food innovations to source ingredients is Van Drunen Farms. “Our current process is to get the food straight from the farms and right to the customer,” explains Bertsch. “The old system of brokering food is broken. We end up throwing 50% of our food away. That’s not right. We take everything including what is considered ugly produce. We empower farmers. We build a trade relationship directly with the farm and the farm makes money and we make money. This way is much more sustainable.”
The brand also jumped in to help the frontline healthcare workers in their backyard in Los Angeles with their Nourish Our Heroes program. “Nobody needs the essential protection of healthy nutrition more than doctors and nurses who are fighting this pandemic, so we quickly acted and donated blenders and over 4,000 nourishing blends to-date. We, of course, do not want to stop there, so we will be engaging our Vejo+ community and loyal fans to keep giving back to our heroes,” continues Bertsch.
Because Vejo is in the business of improving the lives of both people and the planet, sustainability is paramount to the brand. The blender itself is re-usable, washable, and less than 2% of the pods are made from plastic with 97% are biodegradable. Bertsch tells me, “But, we recognize that’s not good enough. 1% of Vejo Pods are being made from non-toxic biomaterial that dissolves in water, with zero microplastic components and no negative impact on the planet. Our long-term goal is to have all Vejo pods be zero-impact dissolving pods, and we are finalizing that timeline as we speak.”
Vejo’s blender is sleek and the pod blends are as delicious as they are nutritious. While Vejo was designed for our lives on the go and most of us are temporarily on lockdown—we won’t be forever. Until then, Vejo offers blends that provide valuable nutrients to keep us healthy and our immune systems resilient for whatever our day brings. Bertsch adds, “Our goal at Vejo is to make products that improve lives that have no negative impact on the environment.”