14 April 2023
Two months ago, a product, first of its kind, was launched in the market. Tube feeding formula developed from natural ingredients with the aim to normalise the eating experience for people with feeding tubes. Danish Bellyfood, formed by two strong women with admirable courage and determination, Line Pedersen and Pia Overgaard Bjørn, is behind this revolutionary product.
Photo: Bellyfood Photo: Bellyfood
Line and Pia, who together form Bellyfood, make organic tube feeding formula using natural ingredients. They have just launched their product as the very first in Europe, and although the journey from idea to launch has been long and arduous, according to the two women, the response from customers has been so rewarding that it has been worth the entire trip. Their product seems to have been eagerly awaited by both people with feeding tubes and health professionals in the industry.
Line and Pia met for the first time in 2020. As a clinical dietitian, Pia had long been puzzled by the limited supply of feeding tubes on the Danish market. One day, one of Pia's clients told her about a mother who blended food for her son. The son was using a feeding tube , but couldn’t tolerate the regular tube feeding formular available in the market. Pia quickly got in touch with this mother, who turned out to be Line, and after a few phone calls, some emails, and a meeting, it quickly became clear that the two women shared a passion - to develop an alternative to the only type of tube feed formular available on the market. An alternative made from natural ingredients that would give the feeling of consuming a real meal. And the two turned out to be a perfect match. Pia brought all her expertise as a clinical dietitian, while Line brought her passion for developing something different and more attractive to the table for people with feeding tubes.
Line Pedersen and Pia Overgaard Bjørn, who together form Bellyfood
"I don't think we would have come as far as we have today if, for example, we were both clinical dietitians, or if we were both mothers of children with feeding tubes. We complement each other well with our breadth of knowledge, and that's why I also think we know how to reach our target groups."
Bellyfood essentially has two target groups that they need to reach. On the one hand, the product must appeal to people with feeding tubes and their families, but at the same time, it must also reach dietitians and healthcare professionals. The Bellyfood product is purchased on prescription, which must be issued by the healthcare professional, who, in a way, acts as a gatekeeper in getting the product all the way to the end-user. But with their ability to speak to both the expertise and the needs of the end-user, Bellyfood has managed to crack the code of reaching both target groups. And now their product is on the market, and it's going well. Really well, in fact.
From the time Line started blending food in her own kitchen to the final product launch, it took almost 4 years. Delayed by both Covid and production time, Bellyfood had plenty of time, and perhaps a little too much time, if you ask the two founders. However, Line and Pia managed to make the most of the waiting time and created an online universe and a solid core story for their product. Something that other startups rarely have the time and resources to do in the early stages of their work. In addition, there has been time to participate in various events and projects that have strengthened their network, given them valuable contacts, and a pat on the back as evidence that they are heading in the right direction. For example, Bellyfood participated in the Idea Competition in 2021, where they won, and have also participated in Beyond Beta, which Food & Bio Cluster Denmark is a partner in, where they have received good feedback to accelerate their company, product, and identity.
Read more about Beyond Beta here.
As a startup company, one often has a wide range roles when the company is starting out, and for Line and Pia, this was no exception. "One day you've been a lawyer and the next you've been a web developer, so it's really nice that now, with the product out there, you can focus on what you actually know a lot about and feel comfortable with," explains Pia about the process, which also included the significant development work of creating a webshop that can accept prescriptions. When you buy Bellyfood's products, you can obtain a 60% subsidy from the region for the product on a so-called "Green prescription," signed by the healthcare professional and uploaded to the webshop.
When you are the first in Europe to launch a product that is already highly anticipated and attractive among users, there is certainly a lurking fear, namely competitors. And Pia and Line's competitors can easily turn out to be some of the big players in the market. But there is something the big competitors don't have; namely the personal story, the organic ingredients, and the authenticity behind their product and brand. And for the target audience, this authenticity and personal story could be just as valuable, to the point that Bellyfood would be chosen if the choice had to be made between the big and the small.
Read more about Bellyfood here
The first in Europe: Bellyfood launches natural tube feeding formula