Empire Strikes Back
Posted on 26th January 2013, by Tero.

Empire Strikes Back


Recently few unnamed governments were not so pleased with our Instant Beverage product names. Apparently saying things like “Performance” or “Immunity” is wrong. It’s impossible to get them from food. If you say else, you will break the law and maybe get prosecuted.

The wording changes a bit by country, but here’s the basic law jargon regarding mentioning health benefits of any kind of ingredient:
“A food or beverage product packaging, brochure, advertisement, or any kind of marketing is not allowed to mention that food could in any way prevent, treat, or cure diseases of any kind unless said otherwise.”

Really!? Is that correct? No food can help to prevent illnesses or treat them? So for example obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis are not linked with nutrition and that choosing certain products will not help? Geez, I thought differently. And to my knowledge so did the father of Western medicine.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”
– Hippocrates

For your information, we used terms like “maybe” and “might” linked with our health benefit list (e.g. “..may help your body to fight against pathogens”). We also said that for example “In traditional Chinese medicine Cordyceps has been used to…” and so forth. We didn’t promise that it will work for everybody, but we did believe that consumers are intelligent enough to make their own choice. According to some governmental bodies we were slightly wrong. For example chaga doesn’t give immunity even if there’s over 1.600 scientific studies on it, and another several hundreds on the polysaccharides it contains. And clearly Cordyceps doesn’t give any kind of performance and thus you can’t say that. What you can do is synthetically create an artificial version of the same food, patent it, market it as the first cure for multiple sclerosis (MS disease), and you have a drug, which is said to become the TOP 10 best-selling drug of all time! You just need contacts and enough money to get the sales rights. I’m talking here of course about a drug called Gilenya made by the Swiss drug company Novartis.

So the empire has striked back! But like in all good sagas, the story doesn’t end there. We will change all our Instant Beverage names to be compliant with the law:

Instant Longevity is now Instant Reishi
Instant Performance is now Instant Cordyceps
Instant Immunity is now Instant Chaga
Instant Brain Power is now Instant Lion’s Mane

The changes will occur as soon as possible. We will also change all our packaging, which is a-okey as we were about to face-lift them anyway. We changed the packaging material to be more ecological, added the ingredient list into the sachet, made the colors a bit softer, added symbols on how to use the Instants etc. The look-and-feel remains almost the same, so y’all will still recognize them as a Four Sigma Foods Original! It’s just a bit sad as we deliberately chose the old names so that they would be more approachable to new foodists, as using a word like chaga means absolutely nothing to 99.99% of the people.

Now don’t get me wrong. We like to follow the law. There’s a reason why it exist. So now and in the future we will aim to comply. I just think that in this case this is not fair. I don’t want to pick on any specific brand owned by Big Pharma or large food corp, but the whole industry as this is not clearly an even battle. You can say this and that about fibers to boost cereal sales. You can talk about antioxidants even with foods that hardly contain them. I mean, the superfood industry has done their fair share of shady marketing, but the big boys are in a whole nother league. At best McDonald’s and KFC sits down with government to agree on the governmental policy on obesity and diet-related disease. Or that governments literally spend hundreds of million to buy food from Mars, Kellogs, and Unilever to help people eat healthier. Our dream of helping people eat healthier and become more conscious of their diet is not an easy journey.

But like said, things are not grim! There’s no need for fear. You don’t need to buy bigger lock on your door, buy an expensive insurance you can’t afford, or get angry for that matter. Life is just a ride! And that’s how we will treat it.

Latest good news contain for example the following:

  1. We just calculated that already over 360,000 of our medicinal mushroom sachets have found a loving home in 32 different countries
  2. Our new packaging looks so sweet that it hurts my teeth
  3. Our fiscal year 2013 plan is to grow triple digits, and after two months we are already on the way to exceed our objectives
  4. In the last week or so we have gotten over 50 new followers per day to our Facebook page. The word is clearly getting out!
  5. Our Chief Mushroom Officer Mikko just confirmed an operational plan for few freakin’ exciting new products we’ve been working on for months. It’s time to democratize more superfoods <3
  6. I recently bought flights to Australia! I plan to finally fulfill my long lasting dream to see both the Great Barrier Reef and the Uluru National Park. The best part is that I’m doing this with one of my oldest and dearest friends. The freedom to do random things like this is one of the reasons why I keep loving my “work” no matter how much crappy obstacles we might encounter in our daily grind

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Four Sigmatic is a superfood company started by group of Finnish Funguys who got sick of using mushroom supplements that don't work. The company wants to help popularise medicinal mushrooms like chaga, reishi, cordyceps, and lions mane with products like mushroom coffee and hot cocoa. The company was started in 2012 and launched it's products in the United States in 2015.

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