An Oak Cliff Startup Wants Your Next Healthy Meal to Come From This Tiny Pouch
Nick Borja, left, and Tommy Hall want to make nutrition simpler. The Dallas duo launched Nosha, a whole foods-based meal-replacement shake.
We’re frequently told we’re not getting enough vegetables and fruit, which contain micronutrients our bodies thrive on. But we also seem to have increasingly less time every day to plan meals, buy groceries and cook with whole foods.
Which is why Nick Borja and Tommy Hall have created Nosha, a pouch full of these micronutrients. All you have to do is blend it with water. Because when it’s more effort than that, it’s hard to keep up. Working mostly out of Common Desk, the coworking space in Oak Cliff, they’ve been popping up at events around town, like the Dallas Farmers Market, sampling their product and explaining it to consumers trying to eat healthier.
“It becomes really onerous for people, so it has to be something that is going to yield the most gain for the least imposition,” Borja says.
Nosha currently comes in two flavors: apple cinnamon and banana cacao, both certified organic and containing 60 percent of your daily suggested vitamins and minerals, 23 grams of protein and about 15 grams of fiber. At just over 400 calories per pouch, it can serve as a full meal. At $4.50 a pop, that’s not too bad.
Each Nosha packet costs $4.50 and can replace an entire meal while still yielding a lot of essential nutrients.
And no, it doesn’t taste like dirt. If anything, this green smoothie has a pleasantly nutty, fruity taste. The banana cacao tastes even better with some vanilla almond milk in lieu of water.
“We got used to the flavor,” Hall says, noting that he likes to add apple juice to the apple-cinnamon flavor. Borja drinks his with plain water, but if this is something that interests you, you’re likely more curious about the nutrients than the flavor.
Hall is an entrepreneur and, before Nosha, ran an LSAT prep class in Telluride, Colorado. Borja was just about finished with med school when the two started talking. There are plenty of meal-replacement products on the market right now that claim you’ll get everything you need from a powder; Soylent in particular is credited with bringing the meal-replacement shake into the modern mainstream. But unlike Soylent, with Nosha, customers are getting whole fruits, vegetables and seeds, though they’re in powder form.
“Our fruits and veggies are harvested and then immediately oven-dried at low temperatures to maximize nutrient retention, so for the most part, we compare favorably to ‘fresh’ food that often has a transit time of one month from farm to grocery store,” Borja says. “There are a few vitamins that are sensitive to heat, notably vitamin C, vitamin B1 and beta-carotene (a precursor to vitamin A). So we lose some of these micronutrients with drying, as also occurs with the cooking of these foods.”
Borja and Hall have been sampling Nosha at places like Dallas Farmers Market.
Near mid-February, the team had 76 subscribers, people who regularly receive Nosha. But they also have a number of people regularly drinking Nosha: clients of CitySquare, a Dallas nonprofit group that deals with healthcare, job training and food access for impoverished North Texans.
“It’s just part of our mission,” Borja says. “It’s also great for people who don’t have access to whole food nutrition.”
“There are obvious benefits to having a healthy meal replacement that is easy to use, but our main question I had is, would our neighbors be interested in using it?” says Matt McByrde, food operations manager at CitySquare. “Regardless of the expressed healthy aspects, if someone — myself included initially — is turned off by the weirdness of a green-powder health drink, then it is going to be a hard sell. We have found that the neighbors that have used Nosha have seen significant benefits to their energy levels, digestive system, among other things.
“By just adding water,” McByrde adds, “our neighbors will be able to have a very healthy and relatively inexpensive meal.”
Nosha is available on a subscription basis, with 12 pouches for $54, delivered every week or every five weeks. A sample box gets you just six for $36.
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