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    October 2004    Page 10       > About LCL Magazine     > Cover Page      > Inside Cover    Feature Pages:   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11  12  13  14     

Feature Articles
 Make it Low Carb
 Sweet Comfort Foods
 Cookin' with Pumpkins!
 The Trouble with Trans Fats
 Here's What's New!
 Got Umami?
 Measuring Success
 Industry Interview
 Appetite or Cravings?
 Makeup Tips for Halloween
 Halloween without the Sugar
 DC Report: CAC Conference
 The Carb Credit Card
 Waiting for the Woosh Fairy



                              Industry Interview: Zero Carb Inc

Low Carb Luxury continues its series of interviews with key players in the low carb industry in our continuing efforts to be the liaison between business and consumers. For this issue, we were fortunate to be able to sit down with the team from Zero Carb Products, Inc., the makers of Zero Carborita Premium Drink Mixes? — one of the items we were most impressed with when we attended the NNFA Show in Las Vegas in July.

In attendance were:
Isaac Rousso, President and Founder of Zero Carb Inc
Alan Jones, Research & Development


Low Carb Luxury: Where is your company based and are the drink mixes manufactured on-site?

Isaac Rousso: Our corporate headquarters and manufacturing plant are located in separate facilities in Dallas, Texas. We've always been here and the only plans now are for an eventual move to larger facilities as we grow. Most of the principals of Zero Carb live in Dallas, and it's a perfect location because we are centrally located. We can easily reach out to both coasts, and it's a good point for us to start.

LCL: Isaac, what is your background and how did you end up president of Zero Carb Inc.?

Isaac: My background is that I was the President and CEO of an advertising and merchandising company for 15 years which gave me the opportunity to interact with many different companies across the U.S.

How did I become President of Zero Carb? Well, I get together with some friends weekly and we started to realize that as we were drinking our Margaritas, we were taking in about 48 grams of carbs and sugar and a couple hundred calories in each drink we consumed. So we started working on a way to come up with a formula to reduce that. All that sugar wasn't good for us or our waistlines. We formed Zero Carb Products, Inc., and I guess you could say the rest is history.

LCL: What was your inspiration for creating the Zero Carborita line of drink mixes?

Isaac: Isaac: As we said, we knew there had to be a way to reduce the carbs and get a brilliant flavor, a little more pizzazz; more than we were getting with current options. We tried our competitor's brands and they weren't what we were looking for. Once you try our product, you'll realize it's very unique — it has wonderful flavor and makes you want more! Zero Carborita Strawberry Margarita

LCL: How long were the Zero Carborita mixes in development and where and when did they make their debut?

Isaac: We debuted at the Natural Foods (NNFA) Expo in Las Vegas July 17th and 18th of this year. We knew we had something great but didn't know how great until after the first 15 minutes of the show when long lines had formed with people sampling Mai-Tais, Margaritas, Hurricanes... it was unbelievable. We could not have asked for a greater reception of our product line than we saw at the show.

It's been in product development for over a year. In January or February, we got together with Alan and began tweaking it to get it where it is today.

LCL: Are the principals at Zero Carb low carb dieters themselves?

Isaac: Yes we are. I live a low carb lifestyle. It's not a diet... I just feel better when I am not taking in the carbs.

Alan: We pretty much all live that way. As a nutritionist, I would consider every one of the principals my clients. One of my priorities is utilizing a very low carb lifestyle and an avoidance of sugars and empty carbohydrates. Here at Zero Carb, I am an R & D Scientist with a Masters Degree in Human Nutrition, and a Bachelor's degree in biochemistry. I am a Certified Clinical Nutritionist and a Certified Sports Performance Nutritionist.

LCL: Alan, what's the nutritional make up of the Zero Carborita mixes?

Alan: They run from 5 to 10 calories per serving with no carbohydrates. For the most part, the calories are derived from the essential oils in the product. There's very little nutritional value in the mixes themselves, but they sure taste good!

Zero Carborita Pina Colada
LCL: How did you decide what flavors to make and are there new varieties on the horizon?

Isaac: We started with the basics. We knew we wanted a Strawberry, a Lemon Lime flavor, and a Pina Colada. The friends we were getting together with once a week loved those flavors. After that came the Hurricane, the Mai-Tai, the Sweet and Sour — because they were popular flavors that were out of bounds if you were following a low carb lifestyle. These were drinks that contained a lot of sugar. We wanted to be able to bring these popular drinks back to low carbers.

On the R&D side, we have a few new flavors on the horizon that you should be hearing more about soon.

LCL: Do you offer recipes or serving suggestions for your mixes other than as drinks?

Isaac: We hope to offer recipes soon. There's so much you can do with our mixers. People love the Strawberry Margarita mix over vanilla ice cream. You can even add Pina Colada mix to your coffee! Some people freeze them as popsicles. We love to hear new ideas. Things have been such a whirlwind of late that there's been limited time for recipe development, but it's in the works.

LCL: We think the packaging for Zero Carborita mixes is beautiful. Who designed the labels and what thought process was involved?

Isaac: We have to give the credit to Will Boswell, our Creative Director. He's the man behind getting the brand where it is. He has a clear vision and great ideas about how to put the message out. He's created something with a strong brand appeal and that gives the consumer a quick reference for our name. We found that on the store shelves, our product has a "makes you want to reach out and grab it" factor. The label pops; the colors stand out. We wanted to create a brand with a "Premium Feel." We want it to suggest color, excitement, and movement.
Zero Carborita Pina Colada
LCL: As a consumer, what would make me want your mixes over other available brands?

Isaac: That's an easy one. Taste. Once you try Zero Carborita you'll realize that low carb or not, it's the best.

LCL: Did you use "Focus Groups" for testing your products?

Alan: Yes we did. For each of these products we probably went through 30 to 40 modifications as we refined the taste. We needed to find the perfect flavor profile that worked for each variety. We worked until all of our flavors rated significantly higher with the vast majority of each focus group over our competitors. A lot of time, research, and development went into each flavor.

Isaac: We put the focus groups together at random from bringing them into our offices to having tastings at the local BBQ restaurant on the corner. We received tremendous feedback from people that way.

LCL: What guided you in your ingredients and packaging choices?

Alan: A lot of what guided us was actual feedback from the focus groups. Ingredients had to be of the highest quality, pleasing those tasting the product, and had to offer brilliant shelf presence.

Isaac: We went with plastic bottles instead of glass because it made better sense and breakage concerns.

LCL: Do you have plans to manufacture other low carb items?

Alan: Yes, there are a number of other low carb products we're looking into. We're in the initial development stages. It's our goal to not only be a mixer company, but to be a complete low carb lifestyle company.

Isaac: What we have here is a brand. Zero Brand. We are about creating products that have zero carbs, zero sugar, zero fat and zero cholesterol. You'll see the mixers will be one of several of our products. As new products come out, we promise to give you at Low Carb Luxury the "scoop."
Zero Carborita Mai Tai
LCL: Where should consumers look to purchase Zero Carborita Premium Drink Mixes?

Isaac: We are currently establishing distribution across the United States. We are being contacted by health food stores and distributors every day. You can also contact us at our website to learn more. We'll have a locator on the website soon. In the meantime, you can email us, call us, or order from us directly.

This product was built from the ground up. Our goal was to create the best product possible, from the best ingredients available; put it in the best packaging we could design, and give it the best flavor we possibly could. And that's what we've done.

When a customer goes out and buys our product, we want them to be happy. We could have rolled out six months earlier, Lora, but we didn't want to rush it. We wanted everything to be right. We took our time. You will agree it was worth the wait.

LCL: Thank you so much. And thank you all for taking the time to allow us to interview you! We can't wait to see what else comes out of Zero Carb Inc!

NOTE: See our review of the Zero Carborita line of Premium Mixers.

         Lora and Neil

Copyright © October 2004  Lora Ruffner and Neil Beaty for Low Carb Luxury.
Inset and zoom photos copyright © 2004  Neil Beaty for Low Carb Luxury.

Zero Carborita? logo copyright ? 2004 Zero Carb Inc.;
5757 Alpha Road, Suite 211; Dallas, TX 75240


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