In this Q&A, you’ll hear from Marc Washington, founder & CEO of Supergut, a gut health nutrition brand. Marc shares how personal tragedy and the rise of weight loss drugs led him to develop clinically backed prebiotic powders and snack bars for metabolic health.
Tell us about Supergut.
Marc Washington: Supergut is a gut health nutrition brand empowering anybody to take control of their health by offering delicious and convenient functional foods based on the science of the gut microbiome.
At Supergut, we create prebiotic-based superfoods that optimize your gut for health, digestion, weight loss, blood sugar control, and more. Our award-winning shakes, bars, and fiber mix are formulated with a patented blend of gut-healing prebiotic fiber, featuring resistant starch from unripened bananas, potatoes, and oats.
Our science is backed by 200+ clinical trials and overseen by an esteemed scientific advisory board. We’re also one of the only CPG brands to conduct a gold-standard clinical trial, underlining the positive impact Supergut has on overall wellness and other key health indicators.
Since launching Supergut, I’ve been incredibly proud of the significant impact we’ve had on the health and well-being of our customers. I know that with our highly efficacious and enjoyable nutrition products, we can help millions sustain or reclaim control of their bodies, meaningfully improve public health over the long-term, and help close the health disparity gaps that disproportionately impact communities of color.
What led you to pursue this opportunity?
MW: After spending years in leadership roles within the consumer wellness space with Beachbody and others, I wanted to create a company that could have an even greater impact empowering people to improve their health from the inside out — in particular, with *real* functional foods with credible science behind them.
I was inspired to start the company in honor of my late sister, Monica. She struggled with metabolic health issues throughout her adult life before tragically passed away far too young due to complications during a high-risk pregnancy.
Her passing shook me to my core, especially as someone who spent his entire career helping people live healthier lives. I saw first-hand how broken our health system was — including how our incumbent food sector has made it so challenging to live healthier and feel your best.
I realized there had to be a better way and decided to honor Monica’s legacy by helping others regain control of their health through convenient, delicious, gut health-promoting functional foods that actually work. I know she would have loved this mission.
Finally, I consider the latest craze with weight loss drugs like Ozempic to be another clear indicator that the world needs more natural, functional, accessible, and sustainable ways to remain in better control of your health.
In fact, one thing we’re really encouraged by right now is that our proprietary prebiotic blend in Supergut products actually taps into the same weight loss and blood sugar control mechanisms as GLP-1 drugs, but it does so naturally without any of the side effects, costs, or risks.
How did you turn your idea into a company?
MW: One of the biggest things I’ve prioritized since day one at Supergut is focusing on product excellence. Without an exceptional product, it’s impossible to break through the noise, build a loyal customer base that will continue to use your product, and enable you to have a lasting impact on people’s health.
In this case, I knew we needed a product that both tasted delicious and provided meaningful benefits. So, our first major challenge was working closely with our R&D food scientist wizards to create just that.
We started by digging into the evidence-based research around the gut microbiome in formulating our unique prebiotic fiber blend featuring resistant starch. We then spent the next year iterating, testing, and optimizing our products to make sure they had great sensory appeal.
Because of our dedication to making products that actually taste good, we have been able to collect a number of notable accolades, including the 2022 Good Housekeeping Healthy Snack Awards, for the product’s flavor and clinical results.
In terms of the Supergut team, throughout my professional journey, I’ve consistently invested in people and surrounded myself with talented individuals who share similar ambitions. With a deeply experienced, highly talented, and well-aligned team, I have been able to get to where we are with Supergut today.
Integral to our success, I’m incredibly proud of the relationships we’ve forged with our customers. It’s not just about selling tasty nutrition products; it’s also delivering on the promise of actually helping them feel better, all while relating to them on a personal level.
I strive to get inside our customers’ heads and hearts, understanding what motivates them and figuring out how our products can seamlessly fit into their lives.
How big can this get?
MW: 93% of Americans are metabolically unhealthy and 95% are fiber-deficient; I don’t think that’s a coincidence.
Prebiotics—the microbiome-feeding nutrients primarily found in high-fiber plant foods—are the key nutrients required to build a healthy gut, which we now know is the foundation for your overall health and immune response.
However, almost none of us get enough prebiotics in our daily diets. Inadequate fiber in a diet leads to all sorts of health complications, including disrupted gut microbiome and digestive issues, weight gain, blood sugar imbalance, heart disease, mental health issues, and even cancer. On the other hand, high-fiber diets like the Mediterranean Diet and the Blue Zones framework have been linked with better overall health and longevity.
I believe that by closing this “fiber gap” through convenient, and enjoyable, ways to incorporate more prebiotics into our diets might be the most impactful thing we can do to improve overall public health.
How do you reach your core customer?
MW: We aim to be a brand that is accessible for all people regardless of where they are in their health journey. That said, our primary target customers are “health optimizers” — health-conscious men and women (typically 30–50 years old) who fine-tune their active lifestyles so they can feel and operate their best. They are familiar with the importance of gut health and prioritize it in their daily routines.
We also know that Supergut appeals to audiences who are slightly older, such as busy women and men looking for convenient, reliable nutrition to manage cravings and weight. This cohort has a lot on their plates and appreciate healthier options that taste great, fit into their fast-paced lifestyle, and help them lose a few pounds.
We are raising brand awareness of Supergut to all these users by producing and disseminating engaging educational content related to gut health, metabolic health, and overall wellness.
In fact, more consumers are learning about Supergut organically through our content—including our social media channels, podcasts, earned press, influencers, and word of mouth—than through traditional paid advertising.
We believe that by offering highly credible and entertaining content, we are raising the collective awareness around the importance of gut health and increasing consideration for Supergut as a brand.
In addition, we are considering partnering with brand ambassadors with large audiences who are authentic fans of Supergut in order to amplify our broad public health mission.
What’s next on the roadmap?
MW: We are building our brand and followers quickly and anticipate continuing on this trajectory as we expand as an omnichannel brand.
While we recently launched on Amazon and will grow that business, the most important aspect of our roadmap is to significantly grow distribution through physical retail stores. On that front, we’ve partnered with some popular natural channel retailers, including Bristol Farms, Erewhon, and Sprouts, where Supergut products will begin selling in-store beginning Q4 of 2023.
This is a first step toward the next phase of growth for our company, and we aim to sign on some more national retailers within the next six months.
We also have a few product updates including a new and improved fiber mix, which will be rolling out over the next few months, and we’re constantly brainstorming innovations in our product development pipeline.
Anything else you’d like to share with readers?
MW: We firmly believe in the science and benefits of Supergut, and to underscore our commitment, we published a groundbreaking, peer-reviewed clinical study in the Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism journal that showed that consistent use of Supergut led to better digestive health, reduced blood sugar levels, healthier weight, an improved quality of life, mood, energy levels, sleep quality, and brain fog.
Despite all of the advances in technology, medicine, and nutrition over the years, I think we are battling a code-red public health emergency in our society with chronic metabolic diseases affecting nearly every household in this country.
I believe in the healing power of food-as-medicine and know that the gut is the command center for human health. That’s where I believe Supergut can play a significant role in offering a natural and enjoyable approach to improving health over the long term through nutrition.
We can also provide a natural alternative to the surging weight loss and blood sugar control medications such as Ozempic and Wegovy. Although these medications can be highly effective at reducing appetite and driving weight loss, studies show that people will gain the weight back after stopping the drugs unless they’ve changed their underlying nutrition and lifestyle habits.
Our goal at Supergut is to change those underlying nutrition habits in a way that is sustainable over an entire lifetime.
Related content from Fitt Insider: Issue No. 220: Gut Care
If you’re interested in having your company featured in our Q&A series, send an email to email@example.com.