Say ALOHA to the Best Plant-Based ProteinSeptember 11th, 2020
If you care about what’s inside your food, reading ingredient labels is probably a well-established habit. But when considering a new protein powder, snack bar, or drink, we’re also interested in what’s not on the label, which is why we’re smitten with ALOHA. By nixing soy, gluten, stevia, and non-GMOs, this plant-based protein brand makes it easy to get the nutrition you need without compromise. (Protein, of course, is an essential macronutrient we need to boost our energy and build our body’s tissue.) ALOHA made a splash from the start. “The American food ecosystem is archaic in so many ways, and we believed we could do our part to elevate food and the process of making it from inside the industry. We wanted to be part of the solution,” shares CEO Brad Charron.
Embracing “the Aloha Way”
To learn what this brand is about, just turn over your box of protein bars. “The Aloha Way” is printed on most packages, emphasizing the company’s pillar values and product standards (like using USDA Organic and non-GMO ingredients). These reminders help encourage you to find a little balance in each day—all while noshing on high-quality, naturally sweetened protein to fuel your adventures.
Something else ALOHA believes in? Moderation. “We saw from day one that plant-based was the future—not denying yourself the occasional hamburger, but incorporating delicious, plant-based foods into your diet. Our brand is about maintaining a holistic mindset and offering alternatives that are better for our communities and our bodies, taste buds included,” Charron says. This philosophy also extends to others—ALOHA works with an ongoing collection of nonprofit partners to support wider access to great food and good health. This month they are donating to the West Hawaii Community Health Center.
A Better Way to Sweeten Plant-Based Protein
Inspired by community feedback, ALOHA set out to develop premium, plant-based protein products without artificial sweeteners. Charron explains the brand sought something that “didn’t come with caveats” such as a strange aftertaste or stomach upset, and after testing a dozen options, two alternative sweeteners stood out.
- Organic monk fruit: Also known as lo han guo, monk fruit is a fruit that grows on vines in Southeast Asia. Believed to be named after monks who harvested it from Chinese mountains in the 13th century, this sweetener is typically available in both liquid and granulated options.
- Organic coconut sugar: Made from the sap of coconut palm trees, coconut sugar tastes like a cross between raw sugar and brown sugar. It makes for a lower-glycemic stand-in for refined sugars, especially in baking recipes.
ALOHA’s Sourcing Standards
Now more than ever, where ingredients come from is top of mind for shoppers. When it comes to sourcing, the ALOHA team focuses on what they want to eat themselves, and what they would give their own families.
- Made in the USA: ALOHA sources the majority of its ingredients in the United States “in order to support local communities and economies, and ensure first-hand access to every part of the manufacturing process,” Charron shares.
- High standards: Ingredients are sourced from organic farmers or Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)-certified vendors. “We’re committed to offering the cleanest, tastiest food possible, and always seek out ingredients that offer high-standard certifications,” Charron says. Suppliers are required to provide ALOHA with documentation that those standards are continually being met.
The camaraderie around developing the best possible product helps ALOHA feel like a family business. But like most families, there have been challenges along the way, especially since ALOHA isn’t willing to compromise on an exceptional macronutrient profile, high-quality ingredients, and taste. Charron explains that while the team is “relentlessly focused on details,” this can make it difficult to formulate products that meet everyone’s high expectations. “We believe that great food and great nutrition should be delicious and available for everyone. So we put in the extra effort to make our products right—right taste, right ingredients, and a reasonable price.”
“We believe that great food and great nutrition should be delicious and available for everyone.”
Staying single-minded and focused on creating the best plant-based options has meant a lot of iteration. For example, ALOHA went through 56 varieties of its chocolate sea salt drink to make the version on shelves today. “There’s just no big company that could or would commit to that level of detail,” Charron says. “The benefit of owning your own business is that you can afford the patience and the practice of operating with a mentality that says ‘the right way is the only way.’”
How to Stock Your Pantry With the Best Plant-Based Protein
If you’ve been on the hunt for wholesome options that are both delicious and nutritious, ALOHA has you covered. “One of the pieces of feedback I hear frequently is that new customers feel relieved to have found a brand that fits their functional needs without tasting in any way functional,” Charron says. ALOHA works to create products that not only fill our daily protein needs, but that people can’t wait to add to their routine. “We want you to look forward to enjoying the kind of food that checks off all the functional boxes—protein rich, organic, plant-based, non-GMO, soy-free, stevia-free—without it feeling like a chore” he shares.
As a small operation, ALOHA knows people take a risk to veer from popular, big-name brands but has found a loyal customer base, and the products below are three reasons why. (Note: one ALOHA employee joked she would stage a mutiny if the popular bar Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough or Coconut Protein Drink weren’t mentioned.)
According to Thrive Market members, Aloha makes some of the best-tasting protein bars. Gluten-free and dairy-free, this recipe brings you irresistible cookie-dough flavor with a whopping 14g of plant-based protein. Every bite features organic chocolate chips, cashew and sunflower butter, and only 4g of sugar per bar.
“This bar really does taste like some sort of cookie dough candy bar. It is a delicious treat and I almost forget that I’m getting protein from it.”
No matter what diet you’re following, this tropical beverage likely works. Made with rich coconut milk and a subtle sweetness from organic coconut sugar, ALOHA’s gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and paleo sip features MCT oil, prebiotics, and electrolytes—plus 18g of plant-based protein.
“It’s hard to find a good tasting protein drink that’s good for you, but now my search has ended. After trying numerous drinks, I’ve found my favorite.”
Starting your day with a plant-based protein shake? ALOHA offers some of the healthiest plant-based protein powder to fuel your morning. Made with a trio of organic hemp seed, pumpkin seed, and pea proteins, each scoop of boosts your smoothie with 18g of protein, plus nutrients like magnesium, fiber, and iron.
“The best protein powder around. Adding this stuff to smoothies and açaí bowls makes them taste like ice cream, with stellar ingredients!”