The Breakfast Life of: Christy Ma, Founder of BEASTFAST
This was originally part of an article written by Eugene Lee and published in the print version of Precious Magazine in May 2019.
BEASTFAST: A start-up looking to boost your mornings with exciting flavours
We all have those mornings when we just don’t want to get out of bed - maybe even every weekday morning. That’s the big struggle that the new and exciting breakfast food brand, BEASTFAST, hopes to ambitiously tackle.
It sounds like a bold mission, but Christy Ma, Founder of BEASTFAST, insists that it’s just the experience of having an exciting morning routine that she’s hoping to somehow share with fellow food-lovers.
UK-based “Healthy & Excitingly Flavourful Granola”
The start-up, BEASTFAST Foods, is UK-based, and sells healthy, 100% natural and flavourful breakfast granola. Their products can be purchased via their online shop (beastfastfoods.com).
They also offer a monthly subscription service, which includes 3 different granola flavours. The best part about the subscription is that a new flavour is introduced every month, ensuring a constant element of surprise and taste discovery for foodies.
How did it all start?
We all have different reasons to get out of bed every morning. It’s often very personal - seeing your partner, hitting new milestones at your job, trying a new workout class, and so on. For Christy, it’s pretty simple and relatable: a good breakfast and coffee.
“Somehow, an exciting and constantly changing breakfast meal (paired with a strong cup of coffee) became the reason I was excited to jump out of bed every morning.
I even started waking up 10-15 minutes earlier each day to make my own coffee and 'decorate' my yogurt pots or chia seed puddings!”
This routine of preparing a healthy breakfast became a necessity to partially offset the fact that she would probably be dining out for lunch and dinner every weekday. We can relate, as that’s pretty common for those of us working in Hong Kong.
“This habit led me to discover a moment of excitement in the morning, as I looked forward to trying out varying combinations of healthy breakfasts. As a result, I also loved scouring large supermarkets for new ideas or products to try.”
But when it came to buying granola, she found that most of the existing granolas in supermarkets were not really healthy. They were often filled with sugar, and other artificial ingredients. So instead, she started making her own healthy granola at home.
Inspiration from an MBA course at INSEAD
But how did this all lead to starting a company? Christy tells us that she’s had a lot of entrepreneurial ideas, the earliest one being when she was about 13 years old to start a socks company for schoolgirls. But she had never managed to execute any of them, always rationalising that this won’t work or it’s already been done before.
The real trigger to start the business came during her MBA (Masters of Business Administration) studies at INSEAD in 2018.
“In one class, we were told to come up with 20 business ideas. We were encouraged to overcome the common thought or reaction to new business ideas that “this has already been done before”” Many extremely successful companies today were not first movers in their industry.
Another inspiration came from marketing and branding. “We did a case study where a company was able to differentiate itself in the toilet paper category. I thought, if someone can make toilet paper stand out, surely it’s possible granola... right?”
“Except, it was all a much larger challenge than I envisioned.”
What’s unique about BEASTFAST’s granola?
Healthy food, and food in general, is a very competitive market, especially in places like London, which is where BEASTFAST primarily sells at the moment. In fact, many of the larger food companies have also introduced granola using lower levels of sugar.
But still, BEASTFAST’s granola stands out by being 100% natural and uses no refined sugar. They lightly sweeten their granola with a bit of raw honey, which is sourced locally from a small ethical beekeeper.
Tastewise, it’s also very different from the typical granola you’d find in supermarkets, because they’re extremely flavourful, in an interesting way. For example, the “Superpower Granola” has a very strong toasted cinnamon and sea salt flavour; customers find the mild savoury taste pleasantly unique. We also love the “Chai-Power Granola” which features strong chai spices and coconut. These two flavours can genuinely spice up any morning over breakfast.
Another thing we love about the granola is that it’s generously filled with nuts, seeds, dried fruits. Therefore, they’re much chunkier, filling and nutritious.
We also found it convenient that BEASTFAST’s granola is packaged individually in 50g portions.
Christy explains that there are two reasons behind this decision. First, the pre-portioned packaging helps control your portions. “Granola (or cereal) is one of those things that’s easy to overeat, and most people don’t adhere to the ‘recommended’ portion size. Plus, people also often overeat certain products just because they’re considered “healthy”, which ends up being a pretty unhealthy habit. Second, the individual packaging means you can easily grab granola with you to take to work on a busy day, instead of grabbing a pastry at a coffee shop.
“I think consumers are just getting busier, as they’re flooded with information and activities everyday. We want to be a breakfast brand which can be trusted to always produce healthy, nutritious and excitingly flavourful food, to help you start your day on a positive note.”