Review: Eco-Friendly Instant Fruit Smoothies

Did you know the UK throws out almost 4.5 million tonnes of food waste a year? To put such a large number into context, as that’s probably hard to imagine, according to wrap.org.uk it’s the equivalent to:

  • 8 Wembley Stadiums (London, UK)
  • 90 Royal Albert Halls
  • 38 million wheelie bins (based on a standard 240l)
  • 3,600 Olympic sized swimming pools
  • 490,000 bin lorries

I consider myself to be fairly mindful with food – I always try to use up what’s on its way out, save leftovers to eat or make something new from, and not to buy more than I need, especially fresh food – but still might end up throwing out the occasional unused half bag of salad leaves.

Foga Instant Wholeplant Smoothies were created partly to help people get more natural fruit and veg nutrients into their diet and partly in response to this issue of food waste.

Our food system creates an unforgivable amount of waste – and most of it happens in the home. We created these freeze-dried smoothie blends because a healthy diet doesn’t have to mean wasted brown fruit and veg,’ say Foga founders, Pheobe and Ollie. 

Why Foga Plantshakes appealed me – the eco credentials

Foga knows its sachet packaging needs specialist recycling so the brand provides a system where you can send your empties to them to recycle, meaning there’s zero packaging going to landfill. This is great to see a brand show responsibility over its packaging and waste. Cue applause.

From the founders: ‘our boxes and paperwork are fully recyclable. The pouches are technically recyclable, but it’s hard so unfortunately most authorities won’t. Instead, you can send back your used pouches to us and we’ll turn them into eco-bricks. If you send them back in your box, we’ll continue to re-use it as many times as we can.’ Bravo.

Find out more about Foga’s recycling process here.

How do you make Foga plantshakes?

Fill your bottle with water, add the freeze-dried powder and shake. Stick to that order (water then powder) – it’s the one that works!

You can shake it up with water or your choice of milk and make it like a juice-smoothie or have it thicker like a milkshake.

Each sachet can make a 250ml drink. There are nine plantshake flavours and four protein plantshakes. See all the flavours here.

From the flavours I checked they seem to be all under or around 100 calories each and 22-25g carbohydrates. The protein shakes are not high in protein so if you are training for muscle growth you’ll still need to add protein.

How I used Foga plantshakes

I train in CrossFit and olympic lifting and after training I aim for around 20-24g of protein, about 30g of carb and minimal amounts of fat (so that I replenish energy as fast as possible).

My protein comes from a vegan protein shake + carbs from a scoop of instant oats (I use MyVegan 100% Instant Oats, which is like oat flour) and I keep the fat content down by mixing with half water and half plant milk.

I can also add carbs with half a banana or some other fruit but that would require a blender and because this is what I do every single day, it has to be as quick and as easy as possible, and nothing beats mixing instantly in a shaker.

So Foga was super helpful to add carbohydrates to my protein shake, instantly. I would actually recommend using unflavoured protein so you get to really experience Foga’s awesome flavours.

These plantshakes definitely felt more like a treat so I didn’t use them as my everyday post-workout drink but had one once a week as a little pick-me-up.

What does freeze-dried mean?

Freeze-dried means preserving the nutritional benefits of plants shortly after they’ve been harvested. Foga cites a study by Sheffield Hallum University on fresh vs freeze dried strawberries, showing that freeze drying halts the decline almost completely.

The freeze-drying process that Foga uses is:

➡️ Plants are cryogenically frozen (-30°C) as soon after harvest as possible to lock in the nutrition.

➡️ The plants go into a low pressure vacuum chamber.

➡️ The temperature is raised slowly so the ice transition from solid straight to gas preserving the cell structure.

My verdict of Foga shakes

PROS

  • awesome flavours and ingredient combos
  • can mix it with protein shake really easily, no lumps or bumps
  • totally natural ingredients
  • easy way to enjoy a fruit smoothie, without actually having to make one!
  • can take the sachets out and mix on the go (eg, when we’re finally allowed to go to the gym again!)
  • you can send the empty sachets back to Foga and they will recycle them for you

CONS

  • when I reviewed this, only small sachets were available but Foga has just launched big pouches, which makes the product more economical, ecological and flexible – so now you can use it a sprinkle too
  • price – bought in bundles, it’s the equivalent of £2.70 per sachet shake. The big pouches are £2.03 per portion. Definitely much cheaper than a store-bought fresh smoothie and maybe even cheaper than your flat white but how affordable that is depends on your budget. It will be very affordable to some and maybe less to others.

I will be buying the big pouch (in coffee and peanut) so I can choose how much I add to my shake and make it as economical as possible.

Give them a go and let me know what you think! Share your shake at @yanarfitness

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