Luke Raskino and Jonathan Reevers are Co-Founders of Flyte, a positive energy drink range that’s a healthier alternative from standard energy drinks, made from ingredients sourced entirely from nature and free from added sugar. We chatted to Luke and Jonathan about shaking up the energy drink market, changing people’s perceptions and 2018 plans: 

Tell us a little bit more about Flyte?

Flyte is a “clean energy drink” that looks to revolutionise a large, chemical and unhealthy energy drinks market. What we mean by this is that it’s healthier for our bodies and our planet.

For our bodies, by clean we mean

1. Low sugar – it has just 2g sugar per 100ml

2. Free from added sugar – all our sweetness comes from natural juice and extract from stevia leaf

3. No artificial sweeteners – additional sweetening from extract of natural stevia leaf

4. 100% sourced from nature (including colours and flavours)

5. Powered by organic caffeine from unroasted green coffee beans blended with other powerful natural botanical actives (Maca, Schizandra)

For our planet, by clean we mean

1. The bottle is glass – widely recycled in the UK and thus avoiding the issue of adding to the burden of plastic and able to be recycled into glass again

2. 90% of what is in the bottle is locally sourced

3. And beyond the physical elements we nurture the legacy we wish to leave behind which is actively supporting carbon offsetting at a rate of 1KG (for info this equates to over 3 times our actual carbon foortprint) for every bottle and supporting local tree planting initiatives

What made you start an healthy energy drink company?

We probably echo a large group of people out there who work hard, play hard and naturally get tired every day and have slump moments.  We looked at each other and said that there must be some way to energise ourselves through these moments that does not entail compromising our body at the exepense of either health, taste or even, planet.  The healthier alternatives we found tended to compromise on taste, or functionality (energy) or both and didn’t quite marry health with a view on their social impact (planet).

That moment in April 2017 across our coffees (well coffee and a tea) crystallised the inception of the quest which led to Flyte  – ultimately delivering something that really works, but is a great refreshing alternative to coffee and way healthier than other energy drinks out there

In the past energy drinks have been labelled as sugary and bad for you – how have you changed people’s perceptions?

For us before changing perceptions, we first needed to develop a proposition that stood to scrutiny. We are proud to have done that. We focused our attention on 3 principles that we believed would drive the change in perceptions and hopefully in the long term behaviours as well, which were that any solution we came up with has to signal immediacy, functionality and naturally healthier.

We therefore designed a pack that signaled an energy drink that is not only different but also that works – in order to truly change people’s perceptions. For example, rather than launch in a plastic bottles, we chose a glass bottle that stands for recyclability and purity.

Additionally the design of Flyte was centred about standing out in the crowd of energy drinks and show that healthier can be cool and unapologetic. We know this comes through as we ran 7 weeks of pop-ups from November-December 2017 with over 3,000 conversations endorsing how this design works for Londoners (in exactly the way we wanted).

The product itself is built to signal not only that it works but with recognisable fruitiness and a refreshing non-sticky experience making it not only enjoyable, refreshing, but also authentic and honest.

What’s the response been like so far?

We have been overwhelmed by the reviews that our consumers and stockists alike have taken the time to share on our website. We have had over 300 incredible reviews of Flyte and this is paying its dividends as we now have a growing movement of stockists who are joining the clean energy revolution.

We particularly love to see people’s reactions when they first taste Flyte and realise that this is unlike any other energy drink they have ever tasted. Our stockists who are backing us are now also seeing the pay off as sales are growing month on month and people are asking for Flyte in store.

In parallel the media response has been very positive with Flyte finding its place in the natural movement hitting London this summer – even hitting the picnic scene now we have sunny days as that great non-alcoholic alternative!

How long did it take for your idea to get off the ground?

It took us just over 6 months to go from ‘hey wouldn’t this be a great idea’ to sampling over 10k bottles!

Did you conduct any market research before creating Flyte?

Tons. Jonathan and I are real data and insight nerds. We did extensive research (both qualitative and quantitative extending over 4000 participants in total) to:

  1. Shape the Flyte concept
  2. Develop and perfect our flavours, signature, design and packaging

Pioneering clean energy as a category required us to get really close to our consumers. We tried out really cool methodologies to help us get right in the moment of a slump with our consumers. Research will continue to play a significant role in helping us develop in a manner that truly serves our consumers needs. I think you can say that for us research was very much about real life iteration with consumers bringing us and Flyte closer to Londoners.  We can say Flyte was co-developed with slumping Londoners.

What advice would you give to people looking to start a food/drink product?

Our first bit of advice would be to find a north star; lock on the consumer problem to solve and then single mindedly develop a mix that solves it without question, being clear that the mix goes beyond just the product and that people want experiences over just a product.

Always keep your consumers/people you want to create with at the heart of the  development process and not just to pat you on the back. Bad feedback is as important as good feedback when creating a great drink/food.

No marketing BS! Be authentic in how one tells one story as consumers smell BS a mile away. For us, our motto is ‘No fine print.’ Finally, never take no for an answer.  If you have done the above and you feel that you opportunity can fly then it may only take a couple of more iterations to get it right – don’t give up if you believe the north star truly exist.

What do you think is going to be the next big thing in terms of healthy food/drink products?

We think there is a big gap today between ‘healthy’, ‘delicious’ and ‘sustainable’. There’s too much compromise between these qualities in today’s food and drink industry. Teams who unlock this sweet spot will drive the food revolution forward.

We also need to think that this revolution will need not just to come from new products but also how these products get into people’s hands – we are evolving or even have evolved into a very immediate, personalised society and therefore healthy tasty products will need to get into people’s hands in new ways through new channels.

What’s the 2018 plans for Flyte?

We have a packed agenda; we’re growing our direct channel of outlets to over 500 by the end of 2018 and want to ensure that we are within 5 minutes of people’s slumps from an availability point of view. We are continuing to expand through key discussions with partners who can bring Flyte into our consumers wherever they are so watch this space…..Our website continues to track where you can get Flyte in London and is kept up to date, too.