An Inside Look Tier 1. Part 3. Getting the Taste Right.
November 28, 2012
With the formulation finished and manufacturing released, it was time to work out details like taste, coloring, and sweeteners.
Taste and Color
Getting the taste and other details right took us a lot longer expected. The entire process ran about 5 months from beginning to end. The way it typically works with manufacturers is they send you pre-formulated taste samples, expect a quick sign off, and then hit production. It was a lot different with Tier 1.
We wanted Tier 1 to taste great, but be as simple as possible. Flavors like Bubblegum or Fruit Punch were not going to cut it. We settled on a Natural Lemonade and then told the manufacturer to formulate the flavor for us. The process took a couple weeks and the first batch of samples were sent to us. Here’s what they looked like:
Our first knee-jerk reaction was we didn’t like the artificial coloring. We told them to remove ALL coloring. The second sample run ended up looking like this.
With the coloring issue taken care of, we still had to go back and forth on the taste for another couple weeks. Once we were happy the taste and signed off on it, our manufacturer sent us the batch sheet with all the ingredients necessary to make the mix.
A kick in the gut.
On the batch sheet were all sorts of extra ingredients that we were not aware of. Here’s an email from around that time that showed some of the back and forth.
Two main issues in particular:
Filler (Sipernat, Calcium Silicate, etc.)
The first batch sheet had Ace-K and Sucralose, two very common sweetening agents used in supplements. According to our manufacturer, they are commonly used together and separating them wasn’t a good idea. Our goal from the beginning was to keep Tier 1 as simple as possible. No compromises.
Here’s what we requested:
(We initially chose “Alpha” as the name of our pre-workout, but decided that was a little cheesy….Tier 1 fits much better)
After going through the taste process yet again and doing copious amounts of research on the safety and efficacy of both sweeteners, we decided to go with:
We also looked pretty exhaustively into the safety and efficacy of sucralose. Here is some literature and information you may find useful. As more research is conducted in this arena we will be monitoring it closely.
The standard list of additional ingredients from our manufacturer came with stuff like Silicon Dioxide and Calcium Silicate. If you guys look at the label of man pre-workouts where it lists “Other Ingredients” you’ll probably see some variation of this.
The rationale we were given was that it would help prevent clumping in the mix and also act as a flow-agent for the manufacturing equipment. Both ingredients are safe and both serve a purpose. In the spirit of keeping Tier 1 free of extraneous ingredients, we were adamant they be taken out. No compromises.
As a side note, we’ve had absolutely no issues with clumping, and making the process easier for our manufacturer wasn’t a priority for us.
Our top priority was making Tier 1 as simple and pure as possible.
We ended up satisfied with our “Other Ingredients” and feel it is among the most filler free and No BS on the market.
The first knee-jerk criticism of some people that are already making their own homemade mix is that they can mix the ingredients significantly cheaper in bulk. That's what we did personally for a long time, and that's what we still tell people to do if Tier 1 isn't right for them.
A big pet peeve of ours is the over the top marketing and supposed benefits of using different “types” of creatine. Many of these special forms of creatine are alsoexpensive and in our opinion take advantage of the consumer.