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Imagine that you’re in a bookstore. You see two sections: on one side, fancy chef-authored cookbooks full of delicious recipes and Tony Bourdain-approved industry memoirs on one side. On the other, white, floppy, nutrition-protocol diet paperbacks authored by workout bros and doc gurus. 

The chefs don’t know much about nutrition, and the diet gurus don’t have a clue how to make anything taste good.

There isn’t much in between. But Chef Jen is the in-between. There’s a sweet spot between these two worlds, but it requires skill and experience to get to it. And we use it to build our products.

Here’s how.


Tastes That People Love 

People buy foods that taste good. This is incredibly obvious, and you’d think it wouldn’t need to be said. Yet, believe it or not, taste can get lost in the mechanics of making a product affordable, manufacturable, and so on. 

So, what is the enduring challenge of making taste work?

We do it by picking a focus, a comparison flavor profile that directly inspires a recipe. If a product loses this focus - if chocolate walnut no longer tastes like chocolate walnut! - we start again.

A good focus comes from somewhere familiar: 

  • Popular flavors. Usually, these are popular for a reason. Meals, healthy products, and complete junk all take inspiration from classic combinations of flavors and textures. Sometimes, it’s good to do what the market tells you because it makes people happy. 
  • Requests. Our customers have great ideas. Generally, if there’s a practical suggestion that starts with Hey, you know what would be good?? we at least think about it. Often, it would be good!
  • Nostalgic foods. Nostalgia is incredibly powerful in food. Most people grew up with a combination of flavors they appreciate for life. A rich vein of ideas is available there.
  • Comfort foods. These are trickier because many comfort foods involve more starch and fat than we’d like. But that doesn’t make the flavor profile wrong by definition. In fact, it often represents a good challenge to make it healthy.

Flavor Density 

Our products feature quality ingredients with naturally concentrated flavors, delivering pure, true-to-taste experiences without artificial additives. (Think Ceylon cinnamon and pure Madagascar vanilla) 

    Nutrition Density and Ratio Compliance

    (How we do our job so that you can do yours)

    When a product has up to 19 ingredients, its macro-nutrients come from a variety of natural sources in a single flavor: i.e. protein: whey, oats, nuts, seeds; carbs: oats, fruits, dates, and fats: coconut, butter, nuts, seeds… and so on.  Likewise, its micro-nutrients also pull from a wide variety of ingredient sources. There’s no synthetic stuff around here.  Finally, the fiber (we’re big on fiber) also comes from all the non-protein ingredients. Our flavors include macros and micros that actually make a real nutritional impact.

    This is also the point where we cut ingredients. For instance, there are only certain sources of protein that work - there are much cheaper grades of dairy protein than those we use, which have too much lactose to allow the recipe to be in compliance. If you like milky flavors, they actually taste very good! But they will ruin the macros, so they’re out. Many plant proteins have good nutritional profiles, but taste like soil and garbage. They’re out too.

    The Balancing Act - Part 1 (nutrition standardization)

    Generally, balancing happens separately for (1) the nutritional ‘standard’ ingredients (in particular, oats, milk proteins, and fat sources), which establish most of the baseline macros, and (2) the secondary ingredients, which we call flavor bombs. These typically include freeze-dried fruit, spices, nuts, and other plant-based sources of flavor and texture.

    Chef Jen balances the trade-in and switch-out of primary and secondary ingredients for maximum flavor impact and nutrition compliance. For instance, increasing strawberry and date powder portions while lowering the oats portion or lowering the butter powder portion to ‘make room’ for a portion of fat from flavor and texture additions like nuts.

    We optimize flavor impact and nutritional compliance through these careful swaps and adjustments. Each flavor must taste amazing and meet our nutrition standards to stay macro-compliant. This takes time!

    Some ingredients just won’t ‘make room.’ They don’t go on the scrap heap, though - they get reserved for other recipes where they may fit.

    The Balancing Act - Part 2 (mouthfeel)

    A lot of food designed for fit and busy people is unbalanced. Sometimes, that’s a flavor issue (balancing sweet, salty, savory, or sour); sometimes, it’s a texture issue. You often get bored of foods without texture (mouthfeel). Thus, we try to use ingredients that will keep a good ‘harmony’ with their packet companions, i.e. the crunch of sunflower seeds with the chew of strawberries in our strawberry flavor.

    Strawberries are a good example by themselves. Freeze-dried strawberries are dry and a little crunchy - they hold their texture very well but not perfectly. Dried strawberries are wetter (that is, they have more retained water) and are primarily chewy. Too many freeze-dried strawberries taste like astronaut food. Too many dried strawberries taste like bubblegum. But too few of either, and there’s no point including them in a ‘strawberry’ recipe!

    At this point, we have a recipe. You could make it on your kitchen counter from the ratio of grams and milligrams, if you could source all of the ingredients. (Note: this would be both hard and expensive.)

    This, so far, is all Chef Jen’s domain. The rest of us make suggestions, but we also have the good sense not to interfere with Chef Magic.


    The Feedback Loop

    Chef Jen is meticulous in testing.

    Once it gets past her, we taste-test it as a team. 

    Then, It goes out to friends and family. 

    Then, we test it privately with our trusted clients over at BTE. 

    If a recipe passes all of these steps, we decide if it’s good enough to offer to our customers.

    We take this process seriously, and we aren’t going to offer you anything that hasn’t passed these four feedback stages first so that when it gets to you, it’s the best possible expression of its intended flavor. Another reason to make the process completely non-negotiable is that  passing the jumping-off point means much more work for the whole ADE team. The first three ADE meals were chosen out of a roster of 8. Some of these may be improved in the future - but they have to start the process again. 

    The process isn’t infallible because people have very different preferences and food associations. If, by some chance, a flavor isn’t beloved by our customers, we will iterate it until it is (ie. go back to balancing), or put it down for a while (ie. go back to the start), or go and play with other ingredients.


    Committed to High-Quality Ingredients

    We are obsessed with quality and are continually scouring the globe for great additions to our ingredient roster. This means talking to producers, wholesalers, brokers, primary producers, and manufacturers. Sadly, some recipes still die at this stage, even after having done the work here - if we can’t get the ingredients at the price we want, we can’t build the recipe. Some recipes are a real challenge for our cost-effectiveness - they cost more to produce than you’d want to buy them for!

    During this process, we also learn things that affect the upstream recipe development: we would love to make a cloudberry product - but all the reliable sources are from Northern Europe, and they don’t freeze-dry them at the quantity or the price we need. We would love to make a straight chocolate product, but we can’t find chocolate at the right quality, price, and properties necessary to survive manufacturing. We might in the future - but not yet.

    While the lack of a reliable ingredient source can kill a recipe, it’s more likely that we look for alternatives. This knocks the recipe back to the standardization phase. 

    Is that frustrating? Yes. It’s also necessary.


    The above process is quite stringent. We built it, and it still annoys us sometimes. We probably don’t have to do it all. 

    But we do because when it all works, All Day Energy can deliver you true-to-taste flavors we think you’ll love. They’re exclusively made with high-quality ingredients and meticulously balanced nutrition. 

    So, eat them. 

    Then drop us a line or leave us a video review on your favorite product


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