From small beginnings, Bodylab has grown to become a leading sports nutrition and healthy lifestyle brand in the Nordics.
By his own admission Rasmus Thorup Andersen never imagined life as an entrepreneur. “I had actually planned on going into a banking career and was doing a masters in finance when my life took a rather different journey.”
The seeds of what would become Bodylab were planted when one day in 2003 the keen gym-goer was looking for a protein powder. “I started looking online and all these websites came up with a huge range of choice. The problem was that the choices were overwhelming and it was impossible to choose between the range of products which were predominantly coming out of the US. All I was after was a basic high-quality protein powder, but I didn’t particularly want a US brand I had never heard of.”
Motivated by this experience, Andersen began thinking about whether he could produce a powder himself. “I’m not a scientist but a marketer, so I started doing my own research into whey protein and began working with a small family-owned dairy company which manufactured cheese. I worked out what the commercial products were made of, found the raw ingredients myself, and started making my own brand.”
Whey is the liquid that remains after milk has been curdled, and is a by-product of the manufacture of cheese. Whey protein contains a range of essential amino acids which have been proven to help increase strength, gain muscle, and lose body fat.
As he adds: “Once I had worked out how to manufacture some products I began selling them online. Looking back we were all just amateurs. I started with just a few thousands euros, that was it. Today you would never be able to do this. If you wanted to start a business today you need at least €1m from day one.”
As the business grew he began to reassess the online only model. “At the beginning I didn’t want to sell products offline, but then gyms started calling me up wanting the products. As the volumes I produced increased, so the cost price went down and I revised my thinking.”
In the years that followed Bodylab would experience significant growth driven by highly innovative product development and maturing e-commerce market conditions. Today, its products range from traditional sports products such as protein powder and bars, through to healthy lifestyle foods such as protein pancakes and protein chocolate spreads and oils. Its products are marketed online and via fitness chains and gyms, international distributors, and niche retailers.
“Danish consumers found our products very accessible and they became mainstream,” he adds. “I think we were ahead of our time in that we quickly began offering our products to a much wider audience than just the gym-goer. For instance we started developing protein brownies which had a much broader appeal.”