Mission Possible: End Obesity

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Why do all the foods we eat for fun and pleasure have to make us look and feel so bad? This simple question became the ultimate challenge for the founders of Quest Nutrition, whose products have now allowed millions of people to change the way they look at food forever. 

Tom Bilyeu, president of Quest Nutrition, believes that companies only have a chance at true greatness when they are driven by a mission — a mission far more profound than turning a profit. His mission is grand but simple: End obesity.

With the rate of diet-related diseases like diabetes skyrocketing, the global obesity epidemic not only claims an untold number of lives but also is steadily eroding people’s quality of life. The only bit of good news in this terrifying trend is that on an individual basis, obesity can be completely reversible. All that’s required is simply to make different dietary choices. But the biological and psychological urges to eat and overeat are so strong that people can’t stop themselves, even as they slide rapidly into ill health.

“That’s why the only problem we’re worried about tackling is compliance,” Bilyeu says. “All our efforts are directed there — to deliver the highest quality healthy food that people simply want to eat. We want to change people’s view of what is considered ‘healthy’ food.”

Quest Nutrition faces a big challenge in delivering on its promise to make clean eating fun: The world of physical development is often one of sacrifice. It’s not about eating the things that you really enjoy; it’s about divorcing food choices from pleasure. Because of this, people living a healthy lifestyle often force themselves to view food as fuel rather than fun. 

“Right now, most people think of Quest as a protein bar company, but by the end of 2014, we are going to make our mark as the company that married health and pleasurable eating,” Bilyeu says. “And since our eyes are firmly affixed to advances in nutritional science and the science of taste, we will continue to develop delicious cutting-edge products that help people accomplish their goals.”

So what’s the inside scoop on this year’s new products? “They’re going to shock people,” Bilyeu says. “We want to prove that if you’re willing to do the work, you can not only push the boundaries of what people think is possible, you can smash through them.” 

And when Bilyeu was told the products he wanted to make were impossible, he decided — in true Quest spirit — to destroy all obstacles and manufacture them himself. “It meant massive infrastructure and capital outlay,” he says. “But by doing the manufacturing ourselves, we’re able to control our own destiny and make products that other people simply can’t. We’ve poured millions into re-engineering food processing.”

Quest knows that different people do different things with their macros. So the company set out to create products that allow people to use Quest no matter what their goals. “The profound dietary changes that will be required in order to reverse the trend toward obesity and ill health will take more than just a year,” Bilyeu says. “Our multiyear mission is to continue to develop the slew of products that will be necessary to give our customers all the tools they will need to succeed.”