The clinical nutrition firm enhances its shakes with kitchen ingredients.
With extra virgin olive oil, flavored with berries, rice pudding, biscuit, etc. At first glance, it may seem like an advertisement for ice cream, but it is about clinical nutrition products (shakes, food supplements, etc.) for patients and grandparents from Adventia Pharma, a company that has even been the cause of the change of a royal decree of dietary nutrition in 2014.
This Canarian company landed in this market in the midst of a real estate slump, in 2010, because in the midst of the crisis and rebounded from the world of construction, they decided to take a business turn. "Since they were not drugs, which were more difficult to access, they had a greater possibility of bank financing," says Alfonso Almeida, general director and architect of this project, together with the founder, José Javier Díaz Ortega, now enthusiastic because they already protect the most large.
This was "a wealthy market and static in innovation", dominated by four multinationals, Nestlé, Nutricia (Danone), Abott and Fresenius, which had 80% of the market. But why do cancer patients or the elderly always have to drink shakes with the same flavors? These two kamikazes wondered, among many other things. They wanted to do something different and achieve a reasonable market share, today 4% but in two years 7%.
"We simply wanted to make products with higher quality, and we did not move by price because they are set by the State, since they all go to the National Health System", clarifies Almeida, "and although our production costs are higher, we do not sell more expensively" .
He acknowledges that it has not been easy for them to be taken seriously, not even the competition, because they had no experience. In fact, the company took five years to develop and it was not until 2016 that it reached a relevant commercial activity.
Today, they allocate 10% of income to research and produce their own formulations, thanks to the fact that they have become a pharmaceutical laboratory. Their work is closely followed by the competition, "we receive attacks, they tempt our staff," he adds. They have 65 employees, 45 commercial and the rest biologists, pharmacists, doctors and technicians. One of the first things that Adventia was clear about was to improve the raw material, and it achieved this by incorporating extra virgin olive oil into the liquid part of the shakes. It was widely accepted because, he says, "they went to ask the medical community directly about the real needs of the patients."
Just as it came from another reality, Adventia also did not understand that the 36-unit shake packs were of the same flavor. "We spoke with the Ministry of Health and launched a mixed flavor that not only caused the regulatory change in nutrition, but also caused complaints from well-off multinationals", which today already have mixed flavor packages. In addition, it has included some scent ampoules that allow patients to modulate flavor to berries, biscuits, rice pudding, orange or caramel, especially for cancer patients, who have altered taste with chemotherapy (everything tastes like metal), and for the elderly.
Packaging was also revolutionary, opting for cardboard (instead of plastic) thanks to the collaboration of the Tetra Pack company, an initiative that even Abott has already implemented. Now she's focused on launching fully digitized, personalized nutrition.
Since its inception, Adventia's DNA has been innovation; in fact, during 2015 and 2016, more than 10% of its income was used to research new products and technology. A rate that has remained above 5% until today. Currently, it has two R&D projects that exceed 1.2 million euros.
In 2017 started Alisenoc, his first project, with the support of the CDTI (Center for Industrial Technological Development), which is accompanying him on his research journey. Alisenoc's goal is developing a new medical food for cancer patients and conducting clinical trials. The idea was to make a diet with new nutritional supplements, sensorially suitable for these patients, so far "non-existent in the international market," says Alfonso Almeida, its CEO. This project has been complemented with Sunespro, also supported by the CDTI. A program that includes the development of sspecific nutritional supplements with probiotics for the dietary treatment of chronic conditions, such as chronic kidney disease in hemodialysis and Crohn's disease.
But the most ambitious initiative is the upcoming launch of Supranut, which relies on personalization and digitization. Although they still cannot reveal much about the new project, "the objective is to achieve a la carte nutrition, so that the doctor and the patient can request the necessary nutrients to include in the shakes according to each case on a digital platform." There is already an ingredients company and a packaging company interested in participating in this project, which the company plans to put in the hands of the competition.
Surgery. In June, Adventia launched a multivitamin and mineral food supplement for bariatric surgery (Barimix). Its roadmap includes the production of nutritional supplements for athletes, but not in the short term.
Export. In 2018 it entered the Portuguese market and this year it plans to enter Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica and Greece through distributors.
Production. Enteral nutrition, tube, modules and food supplements (Bi1) are its main products. And it has products for weight control and for cancer patients (Bi1 Preload), and also for the care of the skin and mucous membranes for chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments (Tectum Skincare).
[Entrevista Cinco Días. El País: https://cincodias.elpais.com/cincodias/2019/09/02/companias/1567447363_556807.html]