A Lancashire entrepreneur and keen sportsman who noticed a gap in the market for a low calorie health drink when he was just 17 is preparing to launch the UK’s first Omega-3 health water.
Marcus Mollinga, now 21, from Preston, had the idea of creating a drink for athletes and after overcoming various hurdles he now has an exclusive patent for Omegawater in UK. In the coming months he’s aiming to get it on shelves in well-known health stores.
He has been supported by the UCLan Innovation Clinic, a part of Boost; Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub, and as a result he hopes to create 10 jobs in the city over the next three years.
He explained: “I have always played a lot of sport and used to take olive oil as a supplement mixed with water but it was never quite right, I worked with a company in Lithuania to develop it, but eventually decided on using Omega-3 instead of olive oil. Still unable to get it right I knocked it on the head until I discovered a company in America trying to do something similar – I had been ready to import it and distribute it to the UK but then found out that some of the ingredients breached UK regulations.
“After that I really got the buzz for developing and launching this kind of range and I teamed up with some scientists in California to formulate the product.
“It’s the first drink with Omega-3 and vitamins A, D and E in and comes in three flavours. I’ve currently got samples which I’m sending to retailers and the uniqueness of the range is helping to open doors.”
The drink makes 32 health claims and has a one-year shelf life. It was created using technology which resulted in the taste and scent usually associated with omega-3 products being masked.
The Innovation Clinic supported Marcus to understand his market and develop a product strategy to deliver a range which was relevant, accessible and experiential for the customer.
This was supported by a positioning strategy which added aspiration to a broad end-user audience and brand names which reflected the target market effectively ensuring it would stand out in saturated market.
The Innovation Clinic also provided advice and guidance on food standards and product claims which led to changes in the product formula to meet omega and vitamin levels which allows the company to claim the relevant product/health benefits.
Iain Martin, project manager at the UCLan Innovation Clinic, said: “Critically, we supported Marcus in ensuring the product was engineered to deliver a positive experience from picking it of the shelf through to opening and tasting, while ensuring the business was informed about the array of legislative and operational challenges.”
Marcus added: “Over the years I have done various buying and selling but this is my first proper businesses and the Innovation Clinic has been a helping hand along the way, they advised me on the design, research and target audience and have advised me on a number of elements to enable me to get the product ready for the market.”
The UCLan Innovation Clinic has received £1.4 million of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.
The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for ERDF. Established by the European Union ERDF funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information, visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding
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