Mana is a collection of alternative foods that have been produced by European research and manufacturing startup Heaven Labs since 2014. In Europe, Mana products are a synonym for quick, healthy, plant-based food, and are available both online and at over 1,500 supermarkets and retail points. In December of 2019, the company entered the American market and has already sold a quarter of a million meals. It expects its latest line of drinks and powders to solidify its position in the US as a producer of complete-nutrition meal replacements.
Mana’s drinks and powders deliver all the protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, and vitamins and minerals that the body needs to live, in ideal proportions. They are made with premium plant ingredients that the company tests in state-certified laboratories, and are manufactured using patented technology at the company headquarters.
“We were the first producer of complete-nutrition powders in the European Union, so we’ve had a stable customer base there for years. But entering the US market in 2019 was a big question mark. Nevertheless, Americans showed so much interest in our products that we sold a year’s worth of stock in just over 6 months. Historically, only our bestselling Origin powder has been available in the US. Now, we are honored to be offering our entire drink and powder portfolio,” says Mana founder and CEO Jakub Krejcik.
Latest Mark 6 Recipe: 42 Essential Micronutrients, Balanced Ratio of Macronutrients
All the drinks and powders in Mana’s new line are made with their latest recipe, Mark 6, which delivers 42 essential nutrients that your body cannot produce on its own. They are: 14 vitamins and 17 minerals, 9 essential amino acids, and omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.
Mark 6 also contains high-quality plant protein from 6 different sources: isolated soy protein, isolated pea protein, oat protein, hemp protein, rice protein, and algae protein. Together, these proteins deliver all essential amino acids in balanced proportions.
The fat comes primarily from a mixture of 6 healthy plant oils: canola oil, algae oil (rich in DHA and EPA omega-3s), coconut oil, sunflower oil, flaxseed oil, and oat oil, plus phospholipids from soy lecithin. This mixture provides important fat-soluble vitamins and valuable phytonutrients such as vitamin E, phytosterols, and lutein.
The fiber in each serving of powder is provided by hemp, peas, soy, algae, carrots, oat beta-glucans, inulin from chicory, and acacia gum. The list is the same for the drink, only it contains cellulose instead of acacia gum.
ManaPowder vs. ManaDrink
ManaPowder is a functional food powder that mixes with water to produce a nutritionally balanced, 400-Calorie meal in just a few seconds. This is 20% of the average daily nutritional requirement for adults. It is sold in 35-meal boxes, which contain 7 resealable pouches that need no refrigeration and can keep fresh for at least a month once opened. It is also sold in bulk, 140-meal Family Packs, which offer the most sustainable packaging and a lower price per meal. For easy portioning of the powder, Heaven Labs sells a Starter Kit, which consists of an original Mana Nalgene bottle and a stainless steel measuring scoop.
ManaDrink is brand new to the American market and takes the convenience of the powder to a new level. Per calorie, it has nearly the same nutritional profile as its powder counterpart. It is sold in boxes of 12 pre-mixed 11-oz bottles, each containing 330 calories. It is light, compact, and also needs no refrigeration, so it can be taken literally anywhere. The drink accounts for nearly half of sales in Europe and the company expects that the same will be true for the US.
The powder and the drink are now available in two flavor varieties: neutral, oaty Origin and chocolatey Choco. The latter is new in the US and gets its flavor from top-class cocoa powder. The company’s new Taster Pack allows customers to sample all four products.
As Little as $1.61 per Meal
When ordering through Mana’s American eshop, drinkmana.com, customers have the option of making single purchases or subscribing to receive products automatically at regular intervals for a discounted price. Prices for standard, 35-meal boxes of ManaPowder range from $1.77 to $2.03 per meal, while prices for 12-meal boxes of ManaDrink range from $3.15 to $3.75 per meal. The most economical option, however, is the 140-meal Family Pack; a subscription brings the price of the company’s flagship product, Origin powder, down to $1.61 per meal. If the average home-cooked meal costs $4 to make, then this option saves customers $335 on food costs.
Krejcik continues, “Mana is more than just a food. It is a road sign to the future of food, a culmination of cutting-edge technology and research that allows people to eat healthier, for less.”
From Europe to USA
The startup has two locations in Europe: its main headquarters in Prague, Czech Republic, and a branch in Hannover, Germany, opened in 2018. After success on the European market, Heaven Labs, Inc. opened a headquarters in New York in 2019.
It will continue to manufacture its products in Europe for the time being, while its several partner warehouses in the US handle distribution. “In the future we plan to localize the entire production process in order to reduce as much as possible the carbon emissions caused by transportation, and cut down on packing material,” says the Mana CEO.
For this reason exactly, the company has invested millions of dollars into developing new production technologies. In 2018, for example, it introduced a new production line with patented technology, thanks to which it now spends 50% less paper and 20% less plastic on packaging.
Since agriculture today may cease to accommodate the growing world population within the next few decades, Mana endeavors to produce foods that will promote sustainability. This is why all Mana products are purely plant-based, and why the composition of all Mana products is based on hard data. Every ingredient is thoroughly tested in company labs and the certified labs of other global institutions, which ensures selection of only those ingredients that have high nutritional content relative to their ecological footprint.
Backed by Science and Clinical Studies
The growth of Heaven Labs has been driven among other things by its open publishing of chemical analyses and in-depth testing of ingredients in certified laboratories. Mana’s composition is based on over 40 clinical studies by the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) and WHO (World Health Organization), as well as two proprietary clinical studies conducted in cooperation with Charles University and the Kralovske Vinohrady Hospital in Prague, which demonstrated the glycemic index of Mana to be only 29, making it suitable for diabetics.
Mana is currently produced as a ready-made drink and powder mixable with water that, like the biblical manna, contains all nutrients necessary for proper functioning of the human body. Both the powder and drink have two flavor varieties. Each can be used as a complete substitute for traditional food, or as a healthful alternative to fast food or unhealthy snacks.
The main sales channel of the company, which is headquartered near Prague, Czech Republic, is its e-shop – mojemana.cz in the Czech Republic, mojemana.sk in Slovakia, drink-mana.de in Germany, drink-mana.com in other European countries, and drinkmana.com in the USA. In Europe, Mana is already available at over 1,500 retail locations, such as supermarkets, drugstores, newsagents, and gas stations and convenience stores.
Mana is developed in a laboratory by a team of scientists, biochemists, and food processing experts. It is free of preservatives, lactose, and is 100% plant-based. Its composition is based on 44 clinical studies conducted by the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) and the WHO (World Health Organization), 2 proprietary clinical studies, and experience in clinical medicine. Heaven Labs, the manufacturer of Mana, continually adapts Mana’s ingredients to current scientific knowledge, which is why it releases a new and improved version (or “Mark”) of the food nearly every year. It is currently serving Mark 6.
The company’s evolution has also been driven by its open publishing of chemical analyses and in-depth testing of its ingredients on the Mana website. Since its establishment, Mana has subjected its raw materials to regular chemical analyses in certified laboratories. What is more, it is one of the few food production companies to invest in analyses of an entire, ready-made product.
In cooperation with Charles University and the Kralovske Vinohrady University Hospital in Prague, the company conducted 2 clinical studies on the glycemic and insulin indices of Mana Drink. The studies found that ManaDrink has a relatively low glycemic index of 29 and an adequate insulin index of 41. The results are published at drinkmana.com. Mana is in line with the concept of “rational” nutrition and may be used as a substitute for ordinary food.
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