Paul Saad - Know your own mind and you must not let others easily influence your decisions
PAUL SAAD, FutureLife's CEO said, "I am humbled that FutureLife is now recognised as the number one health brand in South Africa."
FutureLife is a proudly KwaZulu-Natal brand, which has been born and developed in the Province.
Saad, a philanthropist and entrepreneur, founded FutureLife in 2007 and the company is celebrating its 10th year of operation in 2017. FutureLife is a smart
food company that has become synonymous with healthy on-the-go lifestyle products.
Considered a nutraceutical, FutureLife is South Africa's first and only scientifically formulated, balanced, nutrient dense food to contain Moducare, a daily immune supplement under license by Aspen Pharmacare. Currently, the FutureLife range consists of functional breakfast products, breads, bars and drinks.
Saad said, "The product is very well accepted and has become recognised for its healthy properties. FutureLife is enjoyed by a diverse consumer group from sports persons, to diabetics to those suffering from immune deficiency."
The company has seen enviable growth since its start in 2007. However, since 2011 this growth has been exponential. In 2015, FutureLife underwent a restructuring process and entered into a joint venture with Pioneer Foods. An important aspect of this collaboration was to ensure the vision of growing and diversifying the company's product range.
Of importance is that FutureLife does not use genetically modified organisms (GMO) in its products. Saad said that company had embraced the use of non-
GMOs at considerable cost but believed that this was necessary to satisfy consumers' needs. FutureLife was the first company in the functional food market in South Africa to make the move to non-GMO products.
Saad would like to increase the provision of non-GMO maize and soya through utilising subsistence farmers as part of the supply chain. He said, "Farmers
would be guaranteed an off-take of their products, which is crucial to their success."
He added, "Of necessity investment in farming infrastructure has been required, notably the construction of non-GMO silos." FutureLife has had to build their own silo to avoid contamination from genetically modified produce, but additional ones are necessary to facilitate logistics as well growth in the supply chain."
Growing the supply chain is close to Saad's heart as this would be in keeping with his original intentions for the product. Saad said that he is an altruist at heart, who is not necessarily motivated by profit but by humanitarian causes. His aim is to make a difference in people's lives by supplying a product that can improve the health and well-being of everyone. He said, "Much of FutureLife's value is in that its success transcends profit." The product was primarily intended as a social project to help improve the lives of malnourished and disadvantaged people in sub-Saharan Africa.
Saad believes that his company's achievements are based on both his desire to succeed and his enjoyment of overcoming challenges. His advice to other entrepreneurs is that you have to know your own mind and that you must not let others easily influence your decisions.
The FutureLife Foundation Trust was established in October 2014. The nonprofit organisation currently distributes about 150 000 meals a month in KwaZulu-Natal, as well as in other parts of South Africa. The majority of the meals are distributed to early childhood development centres and used to feed malnourished children.
DuPont, together with FutureLife, has developed a dual plastic pouch compartment containing powder and water. This packaging, counters the problems of
providing clean water, as well as refrigeration. Breaking the seal between the compartments allows the contents to be mixed and easily consumed as a shake.
The FutureLife brand now has the opportunity to establish itself in new markets. Plans include looking for a new manufacturing site to cope with growth of the product volume and range. "In addition, we intend to grow our distribution into Africa including the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) regions. We are also looking at taking the product into the United Kingdom, Australia and India."
Saad said, "It has been an inspiration of mine to be involved in a project that makes a difference to people's lives. I feel that those in need deserve something that I would feed my children and that I would eat on a daily basis."
He concluded, "It has been my dream that the benefits of FutureLife can be enjoyed by millions around the world for a better future life."
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