project, and was patient enough to keep trying over and
over again to create the right mix. He was on the East Coast,
Abraham was on the West Coast. So they met in the middle
at a lab in Texas, and after about 40 attempts to formulate
the product, Abraham about gave up. “I looked at the food
scientist and said, ‘If we’re not able to make it taste good,
I’m fine with stopping the project,’” Abraham says.
They persevered, however, and in the next round of formulations, finally found one that was as tasty as it was
Good and Good for You
So what exactly is in Orgain? One of the key ingredients
is whey protein. Orgain is the only drink of its kind to have
organic whey. Organic certified protein was very important,
not only because of the lack of hormones, antibiotics and
pesticides, but also because of the contaminants in conventional proteins. Abraham points to an investigation done by
Consumer Reports released in June 2010 that found worrisome levels of heavy metals like lead, cadmium and arsenic
in several popular conventional protein shakes. According
to the report, protein drinks are considered dietary supplements, so the makers are not required to test the products
before sale to ensure they are safe and effective.
Before deciding on whey, Abraham tried various organic
protein sources. Some were gritty or would sink to the bottom. Others, like soy, were not as easy for the body to assimilate and use, says Abraham. Plus, using soy would turn off
many health-conscious consumers, he adds, pointing out
that several animal and human studies suggest that soy phy-oestrogens can behave like estrogen and potentially increase breast cancer risk.
Whey, on the other hand, contains lactoferrin, a substance found in breast milk that has been shown to improve
immunity. Whey also is a good source of immunoglobulin,
which plays a critical role in scavenging the body to find and
Sourcing organic whey, a byproduct of cheese production, was a challenge, though. No matter where he looked,
there didn’t seem to be enough whey to launch Orgain nationally and provide a secure supply as the company grew.
So he contacted a network of dairy farmers, contracted with
these farmers to buy their whey directly and brought it to
the company’s processing facility, where it is isolated into organic whey protein. In total, Orgain has 16 grams of organic
protein as compared to other nutritional shakes, which
have about 9 to 10 grams of protein.
For healthy fats, Abraham chose organic monounsatu-rated high-oleic sunflower oil. Originally, he wanted something high in omegas, but after he had performed
numerous experiments, none of the options he found re-