Ciaran Greenwood is a man on a mission, and he's making waves in the UK with his new protein product.
While he was still in school, Ciaran Greenwood showed that he had a knack for business when he started trading commodities, and after a few years at that, he decided to change path. At just 21-years-old, Greenwood now has a successful product in the UK market: the V12 Protein Shot.
"I'd always been interested in supplements, having taken them when I was training when I was younger, and I saw that there was a real growing market for them, particularly in the UK. What I wanted to do however, was a protein shot, something different, so I contacted a number of manufacturers about how we could do it."
As you might expect, that idea is a pretty unique one, as most protein supplements still come in either larger pre-made shakes, or as powders. For Greenwood and the rest of the team at V12, the idea was to create something that had a unique place in the market as well as being a genuinely good product, but it had to offer something the others didn't.
"We were looking to pack 24g of protein in to a 60ml shot - that's the equivalent of four eggs. First and foremost the shot is about convenience. It’s got just under a year's shelf life, you don’t need to refrigerate it, you don’t need to mix it. It’s fine for those who are lactose intolerant, we are also fat free and sugar free and there's only around 0.13g of carbs in it. On top of all that, it's only 97 calories".
Staying away from dairy was also part of the decision process, which led to them moving away from the tradition whey protein that many of the other leading brands use.
"It’s hydrolysed collagen protein – I chose that because I wanted to avoid whey protein and any protein that was dairy-based, as they generally cause the stomach to bloat. Another thing was that because we wanted such a small bottle, we were limited in the type of protein that we could use."
As far as indicators of success go, things have been going well for V12 in the UK. Reviews have been hugely favourable, and it's being used by elite level athletes from rugby to football. In fact, the company has even struck up a partnership with Wolverhampton Wanderers, after they gave samples to their players, and the head nutritionist there made it their supplement of choice.
"Tony Daly is an ex-footballer who played for Aston Villa and England, and he chose it. I gave samples to plenty of young athletes, and one of the Wolves guys gave it to him, and he decided it would be useful for the club". That partnership has been ongoing for two seasons now, and is definitely part of the reason that so many people in the UK market know about it and use it, but they're not stopping there.
The little red shots are manufactured right here in Ireland and, all going to plan, the product will also launch here within the next 12 months.
"There’s a big market in Ireland at the moment, there are a lot of gyms, a lot of sports clubs. When we launch in Ireland, it will definitely be interesting because of the number of sports. We always say that our product is designed for everyone from the person who just wants to maintain a well-balanced diet to the elite athlete, so we’re really looking forward to trying it out with GAA players, rugby guys over there and seeing what they think about it".
With Greenwood firmly convinced that the market is moving towards the convenience and ease of a pre-made drink rather than the powders that many companies already make, he's confident that he's come in to the market with the right product at the right time, and given the success he's already enjoyed, it would be hard to argue with him.