We like to be as transparent as possible when it comes to what goes in our shakes, and how they’re made. We’ve laid out critical information on processing, sourcing, production and quality assurance for you below. You can run through this information and make an informed decision of whether our shakes line up with your preferences.

Besides creating honest products, we also want to encourage intelligent and discerning consumers who are conscious about what they’re putting into their body. So, if you have any questions, or want us to explain something to you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Processing

The main reason our product is suitable for sustained, long term consumption, is the way we process our ingredients, or the lack of processing for that matter. One of the first concerns that people have is whether powdered food is good for sustained, long term use as a meal.

‘Is powdered food really good for me?’

‘What exactly is in the powder?’

‘Are there any side effects if I use this for the long run? Will my body react well to it?’

These are some common concerns people have. Before we get to the details and address these concerns, it is important for you to understand the big picture – although it doesn’t look like it, the shake comes very close to a proper, sit-down meal. We get to the powder by milling real food like grains, vegetables and seeds to a fine powder. It is similar to how humans have dried and milled flour, herbs and spices for thousands of years.

‘Why do you dry and powder your food?’, you may ask. ‘Why not just leave it fresh, or blend it into a liquid?’

Powdered food has a couple of significant advantages over hydrated or ready-to-drink alternatives. Firstly, because powdered food is shelf stable and can keep naturally for a long time, we can forego the junk that we would otherwise have to add to hydrated or liquid food to prolong their shelf life. Some examples would be preservatives, binding agents or stabilisers to prevent rotting and clumping.

Another big plus is that, if processed correctly, dried foods keep their nutritional value better than fresh foods that take weeks to travel through supermarket supply chains. I know, very counter-intuitive. Here’s a run through of how and why:

We freeze-dry our nutrient-dense ingredients to retain as much of their nutritional values as possible. Freeze-drying is a process through which fresh fruits and vegetables are subject to low-temperature drying in a vacuum, to minimize nutrient loss from heat or oxidation. If you need more convincing, here are a few peer-reviewed scientific studies that compare nutrient values of fresh food to freeze-dried food[1][2][3]. If you just need the summary, here’s a depiction of how the nutrient composition of freeze-dried produce fares compared to chilled fresh produce:

 

Sustenance fresh vs freeze dried graph

 

 

Sustenance freeze dried vs fresh

What freeze-dried food looks like, if you’re curious. It looks and tastes very different from conventional dried food

 

So unless you’re growing your produce in your own garden, or getting it from regional farm-to-table farmers, it is likely that the ingredients in our shakes are just as nutritious as what you can find in the supermarket.

In summary, while the powder-like appearance may make you think otherwise, our shake is made from minimally processed, plant-based whole foods that have been milled down to a fine texture. They are close to nature, and come very close to a proper meal that your grandma would cook for you at home.

Ingredient sourcing

We might have ticked the ‘minimally processed’ box for you. But minimally processed garbage is, well, still garbage. This is why we pay equal attention to where and who we source our ingredients from. We don’t skimp on ingredient quality to save costs. Here are a couple of specific examples of what I mean:

We get our organic acai berries from a premium supplier based in the US, who charges $165 per kilogram of these freeze-dried berries. While this may seem exorbitant, this supplier grows and harvests acai berries that are far superior to other alternatives in the market – they have higher nutrient content and also taste far better.

Similarly, we get high quality, enzyme-sprouted brown rice protein from a supplier based out of the US. Most other protein producers hydrolyse and extract protein from ingredients (milk, pea etc.) by boiling them in a vat of acid at high temperatures, to separate the protein from the carbohydrates and fats. Our suppliers on the other hand, use a low-temperature, chemical-free enzymatic process to extract protein from brown rice. This process is more time and resource intensive, and the finished product is hence more expensive. But it is worth its weight in gold – it is chemical-free, nutrient dense and a complete protein source with all 9 essential amino acids.

We source for world class produce, and stick to reputable suppliers we can trust. Our suppliers are based out of the US, Canada, UK and Singapore. And although we trust these suppliers, we verify their legitimacy as well. We put our products through comprehensive lab tests, to make sure there are no heavy metals or harmful bacteria in our shakes. There’s more on this later.

Just as important as what we put in, is what we leave out of our shakes. Unlike many mass-market products, we don’t hide fillers, artificial flavours or ‘mystery’ ingredients in our powder. What you see in our ingredient list is what you get. We try to be as explicit and clear as possible with our nutritional labels – there are no ‘proprietary blends’, 'enhancers', ‘agents’, or ‘natural flavours’. Every ingredient, you will be able to recognise.

 

Production

We manufacture all our shakes locally in Singapore, so that we have full control over our production process. Our shakes are produced in a cold room, with fully automated stainless-steel machinery, to minimize the risk of contamination or plastic leaching. Here’s a run-through of the production process:

 

We are licensed by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) to import our ingredients into Singapore (license no. IP20G2152), and we manufacture our shakes through our packers in a SFA approved facility.

Sustenance SFA certification

Our production processes are also ISO22000:2005 certified (cert no. IND18.3461 U).

Sustenance ISO certification

 

Quality control 

Sourcing from trustable suppliers and implementing robust production processes works wonders to produce high-quality products consistently. However, we go the extra mile to confirm that our shakes are completely safe. Although not required by regulatory boards, we put our finished product through comprehensive lab tests periodically to ensure that everything is in order. This is because the buck stops with us – we are ultimately responsible for the quality of our products, and the safety of our customers.

Sustenance microbial lab test

A test done through an accredited lab in Singapore on our low carb shakes, to ensure that they do not contain any harmful bacteria

 

Sustenance heavy metal test
Another test done on our finished product for heavy metals. Heavy metal contamination is common in plant-based produce, because heavy metals found in water and soil can easily accumulate in plants
 

 

Continuous improvement

Since our incorporation in 2017, we’ve made dozens of tweaks and improvements to our formula. We’re constantly experimenting to see how we can improve our shakes, and we’re always on the lookout for better ingredients.

Sustenance FIRC product development

Working on new and improved formulas with Enterpise Singapore’s Food and Innovation Research Centre

We believe that excellence is a process, not a destination. We’re firm believers of continuous, incremental growth – we’re always thinking of how we can do better. So rest assured that we're looking out and trying to the best of our abilities to adjust the product to be in line with the latest health and nutrition science.

 

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3155377/

[2]https://www.researchgate.net/publication/244603417_Drying_of_Fruits_and_Vegetables_Retention_of_NutritionalFunctional_Quality

[3] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0260877499000564