CTRL expands beyond sports and games to bring healthy food to bigger markets

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CTRL is one of the more unusual game companies I cover because they don’t make games. Instead, it produces food in the form of meal replacement shakes and other healthy lifestyle foods for gamers and content creators.

Today marks the launch of CTRL’s newest Meal On-The-Go bars for gamers and their entry into the functional food space. CTRL also wrapped up a friend and family funding round that includes a variety of gaming leaders. Terms of the deal have not been announced.

Investors include esports organization LoudGG;’ content creators “Jimmy Here” “Crispy Concords” and “ProbGarrett”. In addition, other investors include StreamworksGG; Human Media Group (management agency partially owned by Moist Critikal); esports pioneer Michael Sepso; Menashe Kestenbaum; SCUF Gaming founder Duncan Ironmonger; and Diego Nunez, Head of Marketing for Corsair Gaming and SCUF. Existing investors include hip hop artist Rick Ross, FaZe Clan, Call of Duty esports player “Scump” and “STPeach”.

Skyler Johnson is a co-founder of CTRL.

I find this company interesting because it’s a business that exists because of the changes that have taken place in the gaming market. As I noted earlier, cultural shifts have been taking place that have made this move interesting since the company started in 2019.

The nutritional message is good for gamers, who haven’t always had the best eating habits and are stereotypically known for eating junk food and energy drinks.

CTRL was started by one of the fathers of modern esports: Sundance DiGiovanni, co-founder of Major League Gaming. He was joined by Skyler Johnson, former professional player and founder of Team EnvyUs (now Team Envy), along with entertainment executive and attorney Glenn Delgado, who most recently served as Major League Gaming’s general counsel.

Johnson said in an interview that the company has found some traction in the hunting and fishing category, as well as the digital music space, in terms of customers. It’s also doing well in the core fitness and gamer categories, he said.

“Everybody has to eat,” Johnson said. “Our goal is a natural transition to this category of functional foods. Everyone still has to eat and we are trying to offer healthier alternatives. For us, it was about finding a niche in this healthier category.”

More companies are being formed based on breaking down stereotypes about gamers. The gamers have become a diverse group, and it’s not just geeky young and obese white men who live in their parents’ basements.

The New York company has sold over 1.2 million meals and has 65 influencers on its list, with a total reach of 100 million viewers. It has only three full-time and three part-time employees. The capital will be used to expand retail presence, increase retail visibility and extend product lines.

“We do well in the world of influencer marketing, where we can be recognized as a brand,” Johnson said.

CTRL touts its line of powdered meal replacement shakes for their “bottom of the cereal bowl” flavor, and Meal On-The-Go bars feature new flavors packed with healthy ingredients, the company said.

The bars currently come in two flavors: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Magic Charms. Each On-The-Go Meal Bar has 15 grams of premium whey protein, 240 calories, 27 grams of healthy carbs and nine grams of fiber.

CTRL is now selling bars as take-out meals.

“These are no ordinary protein bars,” Sundance DiGiovanni, co-founder of CTRL and Major League Gaming, said in a statement. “Loaded with protein, vitamins, nutrients, macros, a base of toasted cashew butter, sweetened with honey and other healthy ingredients, the bars simultaneously reduce your hunger and satisfy your sweet tooth while putting your health first. place. We are ready to take the market by storm and offer our fans tasty and nutritious meal replacement options, and these bars are the next step in that evolution.”

Boxes of 12 retail for $36. On-The-Go Meal Bars are sold in the US and Canada, New Zealand and Australia, the UK and Europe.

Johnson noted that the relationship between MLG co-founders DiGiovanni and Sepso has paid off, as Sepso’s Beyond Gaming gaming centers will use CTRL-branded products as the health food of choice for gamers.

“A lot of people don’t realize how many gaming centers are springing back,” Johnson said.

Johnson acknowledged that the economy is not what it was just a few months ago, and so the company is preparing to deal with a drop in spending. Fortunately, he said, the products have a long shelf life and that’s one of the good things about the business.

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