Shaper: Andrew Marten

Show aired on 7th March 2015

Andrew Marten is the Co-Founder of award-winning probiotic chocolate brand Ohso.

He is experienced in bringing innovative products to market and before launching Ohso he helped develop brands for world famous names including Estée Lauder, Yves Saint Laurent, Revlon, Wonderbra, Dewars Whiskey and Champagne Mercier.

Andrew was looking for a product that tasted delicious while delivering probiotics for better gut health, as he had previously suffered from IBS. In 2011, Andrew launched Ohso with Richard Thompson and it has since revolutionised the probiotic category, delivering a Belgian chocolate bar that is clinically proven to be three times more effective at supplying good bacteria than functional probiotic yoghurt or milk drinks.

In 2013, Andrew was awarded the Investec Food & Drink Entrepreneur Of The Year Award at the House of Commons. Ohso has also won multiple accolades including a Great Taste 2013 Gold Star for the Natural Orange Belgian Chocolate and the No Added Sugar Raspberry Belgian Chocolate Editions. The brand is now exported to America, Canada and Australia.

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The secret to Ohso is that it is packed full of life cultures, it is high quality Belgium chocolate but within each bar is over a billion live bacteria.

After some years in the service and agency business, you realise you are developing lots of exciting ideas but they are always affected by the client and there comes a moment when you think, “actually, I can do this better”.

One of the worst things you can have in business is cynicism – there isn’t room for that.

I suddenly thought “this really is the most exciting project I could ever work on”. This is filling a whole new space.

An idea is an easy thing, there are lots of people out there with ideas.

We’ve got ten or twelve individual investors who all share our vision – that we are trying to build a global brand.

I enjoy having a partner to bounce ideas off and work with.

I am good at putting things in their boxes and compartmentalising problems. I think it’s really important not to dwell on things.

We haven’t gone out there and searched too hard, we’ve actually let the brand speak for itself and people have come to us.