Did you ever see smoothies so pretty?
The jewel-bright colours of FOGA’s plant-based shakes were the first thing that caught my eye. We’d been sent a sample box to try and the rainbow of options spilled out onto the table looked appetising – kiwi green, strawberry pink, carroty orange and blueberry purple.
Everyone knows they should eat more fruit and veg but fewer than a quarter of us in the UK get our 5 or more a day and many rely on sweetened juices instead of raw fruits. The idea behind FOGA’s The Plantshake™ is to provide an instant, whole plant smoothie made from freeze-dried fruit and veg. Low on waste, high on nutrition and organic wherever possible.
And you add either milk or water depending on your preference.
FOGA uses the freeze drying process just like NASA does to equip astronauts for the dietary rigours of space. The process locks in and preserves the nutritional goodness and taste. There are no added chemicals, sugar or juice. The sachets contain mostly plants and a few natural ingredients to reduce the risk of clumping.
Important note for vegans and vegetarians: The majority of FOGA’s Plantshake™ sachets are suitable for those living the plant-based life but a few contain additional ingredients that are sourced from animals, so make sure you check before you buy. It’s pretty easy as both their website and the packages make it quite clear what’s in each one.
So, back to the testing.
Pork Belly’s a bit of a mumpsimus when it comes to shakes. He likes proper meals, on a plate, preferably with a little bit of meat every now and then. But I’m up for shaking-it-away and do occasionally go for a meal replacement protein drink when I’m out and about.
FOGA’s shaker system is neat, lightweight and compact. All you do is measure out 250mls of water, milk or non-dairy alternative, sprinkle the powder on top, drop in the little metal ball and shake. No need for muscles like Thor, it blends quickly and easily. Leave to stand for 30 seconds and it’s ready to pour or sip straight from the shaker.
Some mixtures are thicker than others and putting the metal ball in last does make the resulting smoothie much…well… smoother. If you don’t use it all up at once it will slowly separate again but a quick stir or shake soon restores the blend. We left a couple in the fridge for several hours and one overnight and they all came up trumps.
Now for the taste test.
Well it’s always a bit personal. What suits one person doesn’t tempt another and there were some we liked far more than others.
The blueberry and sour cherry had a nice tangy aroma, a bit of sour cherry bite with no gritty-ness or aftertaste. We chose to make it with oatmilk which gave it a smooth richness.
The ginger and greens contains collagen from salmon, so I couldn’t try it. Pork Belly felt it ‘tasted healthy’ which I think was a compliment. The warm ginger buzz didn’t hit his palate til quite late in the drinking. It was thicker than the first and needed an extra bit of shaking. Left in the fridge it separated and looked a little greeny-weird but one quick stir and Pork Belly said it tasted better than it did first time round.
The blackberry and chia – one best made with water – was fruity and refreshing and we both enjoyed it.
The peanut and coffee one divided us. Pork Belly said it was ‘gloopy’ but I loved it. In fact I’d choose to have it instead of a dessert or maybe on a winter’s evening when everyone else is sipping hot chocolate.
But we were back together again for the peach and cayenne. Made with water it was light and refreshing, zingy with quite a cayenne punch at the back of the throat.
We both felt a little dubious about the matcha and moringa, neither of us much liking matcha tea nor have ever tried moringa leaves. It was thicker than most of the others and left more residue in the shaker. A pleasant, muted green colour, it tasted like it was doing us some good. Not a favourite for us.
In contrast Pork Belly let out an ‘ooooh’ of appreciation at the first sip of the carrot cake one. The mixed spice gave it a lovely cinnamon kick, no grainy back taste from the pea protein and it was a bit like eating the cake batter when you lick the bowl!
The banana and turmeric was a great blend, perfect for a breakfast on the go. Creamy in colour and consistency it was a great tasting smoothie. I could have taken a bit more turmeric but Pork Belly felt the balance was just right.
So on to the million-dollar question – would we buy FOGA Plantshakes™ if this wasn’t a gift?
Well they’re not cheap. A starter box of ten plus the shaker is £29.99 but after that the cost drops to £2.40 per sachet when you buy boxes of 10. That compares well with ready-made brands you can pick up in supermarkets and is far less to get started than many of the protein shake brands where you have to buy your own bodyweight in powder to even begin!
Other benefits are:
Mixes easily without the need for a power blender.
Lightweight and easy to use when you’re out.
The shaker is BPA free, dishwasher safe and re-usable.
The neat little ball whisk can be washed up with your cutlery.
An envelope is supplied to return used sachets for recycling.
Delivery through your letterbox – the packaging is small and minimal.
Build your own box options – to meet your tastes and nutrition needs.
A monthly subscription service for regular customers.
And for everyone who signs up to their newsletter they’ll plant a tree!
Pork Belly’s now a convert to the concept of shakes and left to his own devices would probably order 10 of the carrot cake!
If I were still working long hours, away from home I think a banana and turmeric would be perfect company on the 5.55 morning train and I’d have a secret stash of flavours in my desk drawer to keep me going in the afternoon.
Who are FOGA?
Phoebe and Ollie are the husband and wife team behind the brand. With busy city lives, they found they were often too rushed to eat as healthily as they wanted and so the company was born.
Their ethos is to help people get more plants into their diet, so they can have more energy and time to focus on the things they love.
They sell direct to customers via their website and also have a store at Bluewater in Kent..