Hi, my name is Jonathan Amm, the Founder of Wild Atlantic Health, based near Kinsale. Originally from South Africa, with a grandmother from Ballyvaughan in Co. Galway - I moved to Ireland in 2008 with two young boys for a better quality of life for my family.
My background is in business and advertising. I've worked with big brands like Volkswagen & Audi, Imperial Bank, Nando's and Pringle clothing. But my big kick has always come from creating novel products, making differences and growing new companies.
What inspired you to join the natural health sector?
I've always had a grá for natural health. It goes back to when I ran an advertising agency and was looking for a mental edge using different nootropics. However, since moving to Ireland, my health journey took a sudden U-turn when I was hit with a blood cancer diagnosis a couple of years back. Being confronted with your mortality really gets the mind keenly focused on staying well for longer and taking in all the right nutrients. Having done my research, I found a significant link between inflammation and chronic health conditions and discovered there are 7 main nutrients people with chronic health conditions tend to be deficient in. These are Vitamins D3, K2, B12, Key Minerals: Magnesium, Zinc and Selenium, and Omega-3 fatty acids - the foundation for our Wild Atlantic Health range.
Studies have shown if we optimise our levels on all 7 we can cut the risk of chronic health conditions by 70%. They say early detection is the best prevention and as a socially conscious start-up, if we can help just one person, that would make a world of difference.
Where did you get the idea for your brand?
When I was first diagnosed, besides feeling like I'd been hit by a ton of bricks - I found it very difficult to get health biomarkers like my Vitamin D tested. So I ended up having to send blood samples to overseas labs. When I got my Vitamin D results, I discovered I was chronically deficient.
Getting the numbers was one thing, but interpreting them and knowing what supplements and dosage to take, were the missing pieces. This challenge was really the genesis of starting Wild Atlantic Health.
During Covid, our team, including Justin Plunkett, Tanja Buwalda and Mike Brady, worked on developing an integrative health solution combining unique Home Test kits with wholesome Supplements and an App providing results and lifestyle recommendations.
What makes your brand unique?
The problem is most people taking supplements don't really know what they need and if they are really working. At Wild Atlantic Health, our preventative health platform helps identify nutrient gaps with a simple home blood test, giving people a baseline from which to improve.
Coupled with this, functional medicine experts formulate our next-generation supplements right here in Ireland. Based on the latest science, we bring together sustainably sourced super-synergistic ingredients to create resilient health and wellbeing. Even our bottles are fully compostable - which means a 75% lower carbon footprint Vs conventional plastic and 90% less than glass.
As a results-based supplement company, we are one of the only brands that can stand over the efficacy of our products, with our customers seeing real results.
What are your company's core values?
At Wild Atlantic, we are an ethical health company on a mission to bring more wellbeing into the world by providing solutions which empower people to live longer, healthier, happier lives.
7 key values drive our business:
- All Natural
- Integrity Always
- Sustainably Driven
We are intentional around these values, which factor into every micro decision we make about the business and our products. Together, our values are embedded into our brand slogan or war cry (sluagh-ghairm) Health in your Hands.
How do you support your community?
Our team is an interesting and diverse mix of Irish and South Africans. We have an international outlook with strong local roots. Wherever possible, we make a conscious effort to support local partners and make the most sustainable choices. As we start to grow we are looking to align our mission with a charity where nutrition can create the biggest health impact at a local level.
What has been the most rewarding part of your brand's journey?
After spending two years building the business through Covid lockdowns, the most rewarding part has been getting out there and visiting health store owners, learning from their feedback and seeing customers buying and trying our new products. Since launching this year, we've seen a couple of people re-test for a second time and seeing such significant improvements is brilliant. It always feels good when our customers feel great!
What, in your opinion, makes Irish brands unique?
Irish brands are different from other countries because they always have an element of Irishness baked in. It's very exciting to see a fresh crop of innovative health brands breaking through doing new and different things. It's positive to see Irish brands getting support over international imports because, in many respects, our quality is as good if not better.
It can be very challenging in Ireland to get a new health brand off the ground. However, I think we are used to operating within constraints, making us more resilient. Irish brands are also really good at building genuine connections with people, which always goes a long way.
What is your favourite product from your Brand?
That's a tough one... launching with 5 new products, it's a bit like choosing your favourite child. On the Supplement side, my favourite product would be our D3 +K2+A, our All-in-One product developed in collaboration with Dr Neville Wilson and our Nutritional Therapist Barbara Barrett. It synergistically combines 3 fat-soluble vitamins, D3+K2+A, into a single Super supplement, saving on buying separate products.
With 4000IU of D3, 320 ug of K2 (the highest level in Ireland), and 10,000IU of Vitamin A floating in Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil - it's all magically micro-encapsulated into tiny gelatine pearls, preserving the ingredients and boosting bioavailability in the body.
On Testing, our Omega-3 Advanced Test is brilliant because it measures all 24 fatty acids in a drop of blood and gives you a snapshot of your Omega 3 Index, 6:3 ratio, AA:EPA ratio, and the Trans Fat Index, all with an easy to use test. This goes beyond a standard cholesterol test and is incredibly helpful for identifying risk factors and optimising heart and brain health.
Tell us a bit about something that has shaped your Brand?
Through my own health journey and meeting Dr Wilson, I have developed a strong interest in Functional Medicine - which looks at addressing the root cause instead of only treating the symptoms. The reality is that most people think they're healthy, but the underlying health conditions just haven't reached the level of being symptomatic. Functional Medicine is driven by testing and creating a science-based, more individual approach to optimal health. Just as you would do a yearly NCT on your car, we think it's even more important for people to regularly check and test their key biomarkers and health at least twice a year.
This thinking has helped shape the ethos and direction of Wild Atlantic Health as both a business and a brand. Needless to say our whole team is constantly testing and tracking their biomarkers!
What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
We are very grateful for the support we have received from Evergreen Healthfoods Ireland for helping open doors, our early customers, and our EIIS investors, who are all passionate about health. The interest in and feedback on our products has been incredible, and we've had an unbelievable response to date.
Given Ireland's high levels of nutrient deficiencies - especially D3 and K2 -we think Home Testing has tremendous potential and are proud to be the first company offering a complete turnkey testing and supplement solution. The timing for preventive and personalised health is right; with Covid, people's health is now front and centre.
There is also rising awareness worldwide on improving health and wellbeing. The international market is growing, and we've already had expressions of interest in our offering from South Africa and the UAE, where ironically, Vitamin D deficiency is the highest in the world. These countries love our Wild Atlantic Irish origin story, and it's very exciting to see how we can build our range and grow the business at home and abroad.