Hi everyone. Today I have the pleasure of being joined by Karl Schwick of Reflex Nutrition. He has kindly offered to answer a few questions about Reflex and give us a bit more insight into the company and why it is one of the UK’s leading supplement manufacturers today.
Hi Karl, Thank you very much for taking the time to answer our questions. I’ll start with my usual cliché starting question which is, what do you think it is that sets reflex apart and has allowed it to become one of the leading manufacturers of supplements?
Hi Adam, thank you for your time and giving me the chance to address your readers. You have hit the nail on the head in the opening paragraph, they key word being ‘manufacturer’! This is what really sets us apart from the competition, this is now our fifteenth year of trading and from the start, Reflex Nutrition has had a very clear remit to manufacture to the highest quality standards possible. When James Phillips started the company, the route of employing a contract packer to manufacture the products was not even a consideration despite the fact that it would have been a vastly cheaper and easier route to take.
During 2010 we took steps to increase consumer confidence further and purchased and installed a combustion nitrogen analyser (CNA) at our manufacturing facility. This allows us to very quickly and accurately test the protein content within a given product. Since then we have established a rigorous testing program of raw materials and finished product, which we believe helps set us apart from our main competitors
In October 2011 we will be moving to our new purpose built site which is part of our continued investment into quality control and will be something we will be keen to show to as many people as possible.
To sum it up, its the quality we offer that instils consumer confidence and that quality is achieved because we are responsible for the entire process, from formulation to dispatch. Very few brands can claim that.
Fantastic. Reflex nutrition is renowned for its uncompromising quality of products and customer faith in the brand. Has quality always been the priority for you guys?
As I previously mentioned, since the start James has always gone down the route of manufacturing the products in house. It’s an important part of what we do on a daily basis and it starts by the selection of raw material suppliers. An example of this is only using Creapure Creatine Monohydrate. We could easily save large amount of money by using a cheap Indian or Chinese sourced creatine monohydrate and on the face of it, many consumers wouldn’t even be aware, however it wouldn’t be consistent with our philosophy of producing and selling market leading products.
Back in 2001, our commitment to quality manufacturing was recognised when we were ISO 9001 accredited. Continual ISO accreditation involves an annual audit which thoroughly goes through the processes involved in manufacturing the products but more importantly the traceability of each ingredient within a product.
We are continually investing in setting the standard for quality sports nutrition and our new site will again be testament to this.
I’ve noticed that reflex also doesn’t do a massive amount of advertising and the look of the products is very subtle and unassuming. So what is it that you feel makes people choose to buy reflex products when there are so many other “in your face” brands out there that will not doubt get more attention?
That’s an interesting question and something to a certain extent that I will disagree with. I would argue that our branding/packaging is probably the most distinctive on the market. We recently under took a series of focus group and it echoed how strong the black and holographic packaging was, however it might not be as ‘in your face’ as other brands and that’s a reflection of who we are. We let our products do the talking. Much of profits of the company are reinvested into the continual development of the products and the factory to ensure we can keep up with demand and not just putting another 10 adverts in magazines.
As we have touched on already, I believe its the genuine passion about quality control and manufacturing the best quality supplements that is what people buy into.
Reflex Nutrition has a very large product range but few market leading products. However the recent addition of the native instant whey to your product line has been a valuable one and set you in good stead as the leader in the whey protein market. Are there any other products that you will be looking to improve upon to try and top the market in other areas? A pre-workout, fat burner or test booster maybe?
Again, an interesting question and one I would whole heartedly disagree with. When I compare every product within our range against its competition, the products within the Reflex range compare more than favourably. Often its our high profile products such as Instant Whey which get the attention but if you look through the entire range it has market leading products throughout. Growth Matrix, Instant Mass, One Stop Xtreme, Diet Protein, Nexgen are all examples of products which in my opinion and from feedback out perform their market competition and thats just scratching the surface of our product range.
The inclusion of Native Whey is a massive step for us but it felt like the right time and like you say, takes Instant Whey into a league of its own and this provides me with a great chance to explain some important differences between whey protein and native whey.
To understand what Native Whey is, we need to understand more about the manufacturing process that is used to produce it and similarly the process used to produce conventional whey.
In the conventional whey protein process, the milk is pasteurised and afterwards a bacteriological starter is added to ‘sour’ and thicken the milk. A rennet agent is then added to the milk to form the curd. This process acidifies the solution to a pH level of about 4.5 and as a result the casein is separated from the whey but in the process does denature some of the whey protein. The curd is then left to set.
The curds are cut so that the whey is released and then either ‘cooked’ or are piled on top of each other and further cut to expel whey. This whey or sweet dairy whey is the raw material used to make the majority of whey protein products available on the market today. The sweet diary whey is collected from the cheese plant and taken to a whey processor where it is pasteurized once more before being passed through ultra filtration units, a process that takes place at room temperature. These units contain filters that capture the unwanted elements in the form of fat, lactose and denatured protein to leave a concentrated whey protein in liquid suspension. The liquid concentrate is then spray dried resulting in standard whey protein.
With Native Whey, the milk is taken directly from the dairy farms and delivered directly to the dairy where it is pasteurized once and then fed into state of the art micro and ultra filtration processing units. This is undertaken at temperatures of less than 10 degrees celcius to preserve virtually every single whey protein fraction. During this process, fat, lactose and casein proteins are removed to leave only undenatured whey protein perfectly preserved in its native form. This is then spray dried resulting in a product that is the finest whey protein that science and technology has to offer.
As a source of amino acids, you can argue that both standard whey and Native Whey are excellent sources but it is worth noting that in its undenatured state, there are significantly improved health benefits. As a result of the absence of excessive levels of heat or pH changes, the health giving micro fractions are not destroyed. Importantly, there is up to 166% more cystine and 16% more L-leucine in Native Whey.
So now if you don’t mind Karl, a couple of personal questions. What is your favourite reflex product and why?
This is a tough one as I do use quite a few products, however looking back the one that I have never taken out of my supplement regime is Growth Matrix. I train up to 6 days a week and am also quite active outside of the gym so recovery is important. I haven’t seen another product come close to the nutritional breakdown of Growth Matrix and the positive feedback we get from consumers backs this up too!
An hourable mention also goes to a couple of health products that I use all year round too, Nexgen Multi vitamin and Omega 3s. In fact, Omega 3s will be something I will take if I ever get to the point that I have to stop or slow down my training, their health benefits are superb and are something I consistently preach to those around me.
Finally, what do reflex fans have to look forward to over the next year? Any new products that can be revealed or improvements on your current product line?
This is an exciting time at Reflex with the move to the new site coming up, which will provide us with upwards of 500% increase in production and storage. Over the coming months we have an itinery of new products, redevelopments and new flavours. At this stage I don’t want to say too much but there are some new developments just round the corner.
Thank you very much for taking the time to answer the questions Karl. It is very much appreciated.
No problems, thank you for allowing me to answer a few questions and if any of the Fitmg readers have any questions i’ll be happy to answer them.