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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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October 13, 2010

Primal Fuel Updates for Inquiring Minds

By Mark Sisson
140 Comments

There was quite a response to the Primal Fuel release on Monday. Numerous early adopters were quick to order a canister or two of Primal Fuel. Others were vocal about what they thought was wrong with the product (for some it appeared that the sky was falling!), most notably that it was out of their price range. I’d like to respond to some of the feedback and make a few announcements you might be interested in learning.

First of all, I did in fact design this in response to the hundreds of people who have been requesting a convenient, delicious Primal-approved drink. While many consider me to be the “guardian” of the Primal lifestyle, I am and have always been intent on finding ways to honor our Primal genes in the context of a realistic, comfortable, pleasurable 21st century lifestyle. This is simply another tool to use as part of a Primal lifestyle for those who want one. Not everyone needs or wants such a tool, but I did, so I designed it with me, my family and my friends in mind.

The $99 price point certainly ruffled a few feathers. I note that people have been commenting, “Well, it’s just whey and coconut milk. You can make your own for much less.” Sure you can. I did it for years, but I could never get the flavor exactly the way I wanted or the soluble prebiotic fibers to provide the right mouth-feel and/or not cause gas. And I always had to be near a blender; otherwise I couldn’t get the ingredients to mix well. This isn’t like some protein powder you choke down or have to mix with milk or juice. Primal Fuel tastes exceptionally good when shaken and mixed with plain water. And for some people (Atkins or other non-Primal low-carb dieters), this might be the healthiest thing they consume all day. It is also intended to be convenient, so anyone on the run or on the go can put a few scoops of dry Primal Fuel in a blender bottle and take it with them for later use (and just add water).

But yes, it’s not cheap. Of course, neither are the bulk ingredients (more than just whey and coconut, BTW!), the lab testing of every batch, the labor, packaging, the cost of shipping and doing business and everything else involved in bringing a top-shelf meal replacement to market. At the end of the day, Primal Fuel needs to be priced competitively, so what gives?

While this is somewhat unorthodox, I think it’s important that the facts are made clear and you understand how I originally arrived at the $99 price point.

The product is made in an ISO 9001 GMP-certified manufacturing facility. Raw materials are required to have a certificate of assay when delivered and are still tested for microbial or heavy metals before they are released to manufacturing. The product is tested again before I can sell it. The ingredients are all the best of the best. The flavoring and sweetening systems were intended to assist people in weaning themselves off the typical cravings for sweet drinks and represent a unique combination of some very expensive ingredients – no cheap, artificial sweeteners in sight. Ultimately, the retail price has to be based on the cost-to-manufacture, which I do with all my products. This costs a lot to make.

The price point also compares favorably to other products I have seen in the marketplace, most notably Shakeology® which sells for $119 for 30 servings and offers 17 grams of protein per serving. Primal Fuel offers 20 grams of protein, healthy fats and far fewer carbs. I think it tastes better, too.

I came to the final price point of $99 based on a few other factors:

  1. It was designed to be an autoship-based product; hence the larger tub size and 30-servings designed to last a month. I could have introduced a smaller container and fewer servings for under $50, but shipping is expensive and I pay for shipping on all my autoship products. For this product (which weighs over 3 lbs when shipped) the cost of USPS Priority shipping averages around $12.
  2. I believe maintaining gut health is critical for good health, so I designed Primal Fuel to work synergistically with Primal Flora. The prebiotics in the Fuel coupled with the probiotic blend in the Flora can help support a healthy digestive tract. A full bottle of Primal Flora (retail value – $26.95) shipped each month was built into the $99 autoship price tag. The early feedback I have received suggests that you guys are more interested in a reduced price on Primal Fuel than receiving a discount on Primal Flora when purchasing the product. It appears the value of the Primal Flora is not fully appreciated. This doesn’t fall on deaf ears. See what I have in mind below.
  3. Autoship customers also get a free Blender Bottle (retail value – $8.95).

That’s nearly $40-50 in value built into the total price of Primal Fuel when purchased on autoship.

I believe firmly that Primal Fuel is the best meal replacement on the market and that many people are going to benefit from using it – myself included. But I have heard your thoughts loud and clear, so here is what I’m going to do going forward.

  1. As I said, the autoship price of $99 was set to cover the cost of the Primal Fuel, Primal Flora (retail value – $26.95), the cost of shipping and handling, and the cost of the Blender Bottle. Primal Flora and Primal Fuel are a match made in heaven, but I understand that you would prefer a price cut to getting the Primal Flora and Blender Bottle included in the total, so I will be removing both from the original offer and pricing Primal Fuel accordingly, at $79/canister if you go on autoship. And I’ll still pay the S&H. A single canister order will remain at the $99 price point (but see #5 below).
  2. Since I strongly believe that many can benefit from taking Primal Fuel and Flora together, if you purchase Primal Fuel you can still add Primal Flora to your order for only $13.50. The shopping cart will take care of the special pricing if you want to take advantage of that.
  3. Many have expressed an interest in being able to try Primal Fuel on for size before committing to purchasing a full canister. I offer a 100% no-risk, 30-day, money-back guarantee on the Primal Fuel, but if you’d prefer to receive a single-serving sample of each flavor in the mail I will ship them to you at less than cost, just $5.95. This offer is only available to domestic orders. Call 888-774-6259 and my team will get a sample of each flavor in the mail to you. This offer probably won’t last indefinitely.
  4. Also, many have expressed an interest in Primal Fuel being available in a smaller size. In the next 90 days I hope to have a 15-serving version of Primal Fuel available at half the cost of the 30-serving size version.
  5. Because this product was created for you, because I believe that it will do many of you good and that you’ll love it, and because I’m sensitive to some of your concerns over the price, I’ll be sending every newsletter subscriber a $20 coupon code that can be used on the purchase of a single canister of Primal Fuel. (This coupon code isn’t valid for Primal Fuel autoship orders.) Keep your eyes peeled.
  6. This was a small initial production run. In the event I can get the cost of manufacturing down further. I will pass the savings along to you.

Everyone that has already purchased Primal Fuel on autoship will get Primal Fuel at the new price in addition to receiving the Primal Flora, the Blender Bottle and the free shipping and handling they were promised at checkout. Everyone that purchased a single canister will be billed as if they had used the $20 coupon.

This is my attempt to respond to your feedback and make Primal Fuel available to a broader audience. I hope you’ll give it a try and see what you think.

Learn more about Primal Fuel here.

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140 Comments on "Primal Fuel Updates for Inquiring Minds"

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SteveO
SteveO
5 years 11 months ago

Hi Mark,
So awesome – thanks much for listening to your community and responding (favorably) to our concerns. Not only was this move great for us to try the Fuel, but it goes to show us that you’re truly a good person at heart. Props to you and your team. I’m order my samples now.

SteveO

Larry
Larry
5 years 11 months ago

Thanks for being open to everyone’s concerns, Mark.
For me, it’s real simple. This sounds like a FANTASTIC product for those who would use such a thing…but it just won’t fit in my current budget. If costs come down later and my need for something like this increases (as well as my income lol) I may reconsider.
Good luck!

Stephen
Stephen
5 years 11 months ago

Agreed. It’s too pricey for me but it sounds like a great product!

Brian
Brian
5 years 11 months ago

This is also true for me. I would love to support Mark by purchasing some of his products, but they’re mostly outside of my budget.

It’s good to see that he responds to the concerns of his customers.

ericfoster3
5 years 11 months ago

You might be the fairest business owner I’ve dealt with. Thank you for listening (and responding to) your customers. It is rare, and greatly appreciated.

Guy_From_Amelie
5 years 11 months ago

That was a pretty good reply. I’d imagine many people either wanted to try a sample or a single canister without autoship, both of which will be cheaper now.

Monica R.
Monica R.
5 years 11 months ago

Mark Sisson, you’re a cool dude.

Mike
Mike
5 years 11 months ago

Mark,
Whilst I was disappointed in the original price point of Primal Fuel, one of the things I’ve always liked about this blog is you allow everyone to have a voice (even if it might be negative) and you address people’s concerns instead of ignoring them. Hopefully I’ll be able to pick up a 15 serving size of PF when it’s out.

The Primal Palette
5 years 11 months ago

Well that’s it, I’m sold. Me and that $20 coupon have a date with some Primal Fuel.

Jenn
Jenn
5 years 11 months ago

I just have to take a moment to thank you for being open to criticism and honest in your response. I am always 100% impressed.

I will certainly be taking you up on some of your new offers that you have listed today, and am looking forward to your smaller size tub, which I’ll definitely be odering on autoship.

Thanks for being such a class act!

Tara
Tara
5 years 11 months ago

Easily the most responsive and well-though-out way to deal with the complaints. Well done – I’m sold!

Primal Toad
5 years 11 months ago

Mark – This is what makes you different from everyone else. You have built a vibrant primal community that people love from the very beginning when they dive in. You have shown to listen to your readers in the past and you just came through big time after countless complaints.

You are one cool dude whom I will always respect.

I was one of the taste testers and the product is fantastic. It is still out of my price range but I hope to purchase it someday down the road.

Grok on!

Debra
Debra
5 years 11 months ago

Yes, you are a class act, Mark.

Ginger
Ginger
5 years 11 months ago

You rock, Grok!

Someguy
Someguy
5 years 11 months ago

When I first went through the comments on the announcement page for Primal Fuel I was shocked at how ridiculous people where being about the price or ingredients. That crap belongs on YouTube or something, not here. Anyways, despite how ridiculous people where being you still listened rather than ignore their comments. Just shows how awesome you are. Grok on Mark!

Jay
Jay
5 years 11 months ago
Well this has been entertaining. I was wondering if you expected the response you got? I’ll note this was the first time I’ve noticed a hard promote of one of your products in the blog area (I remember the post about supplementation, but there was an appropriate amount of tip-toeing as to not push product) besides the books/free programs. It’s almost as if you broke the “separation of church and state” this time:) As someone else said, props to you for addressing “this community” instead of ignoring it. You and the community both have the right to do as each… Read more »
Alex
Alex
5 years 11 months ago

I must live in some alternate, bizarro world universe where gum/fiber thickeners are undesirable, and coconut milk, water, whey protein isolate, and various flavorings mix up just fine with nothing more than a plastic shaker bottle.

Khrystyna
Khrystyna
5 years 11 months ago

I must live in an even more bizarre world where when I’m in a rush in the mornings an apple, a few handfuls of almonds or a piece of leftover chicken (easily eaten in the car) suffices until lunch. I’ve never used a protein shake in my life, I don’t understand why people are so excited by them they can’t really be more convenient than real food? I don’t want to sound ungrateful because I do love this site but I am a bit disappointed. Primal to me is about eating food, not formulas 🙁

Jenny
Jenny
5 years 11 months ago

Sounds good to me. And I’ll just repeat what I said in the other comment thread — it really is delicious! I have never before found a whey shake that I was able to choke down… I was rather shocked to find that this is an actual, enjoyable treat!

Ryan
Ryan
5 years 11 months ago

Woo hoo! I can now seriously consider getting a bottle or 10 of this!
Thanks Mark ! You Rock

S Martinez
S Martinez
5 years 11 months ago

Mark, as others have said, thank you for listening! The main concern I had with autoship is that I wouldn’t use a product like this every day. So, with autoship I would end up with a backlog of primal fuel in my cupboard. Now I can try it and have it on hand when I need a quick on the go meal. Can’t wait to receive the coupon!

Thanks!

Kim Birch
5 years 11 months ago

Was the Atkins slam really necessary? I’m a former Atkins patient and a low carber, and I assure you that I eat healthy food all day long. I guess you were feeling a bit defensive.

I am interested in buying this product, but for some reason I couldn’t find a complete list of ingredients last time I looked. Is that somewhere I didn’t see? I already buy most of your products, so will probably buy this one too.

But not if the Atkins insults/misiniformation continue. Please reconsider.

Thanks!

CSJ
CSJ
5 years 11 months ago

Oh great, you’re one of THOSE people who takes offense at everything. Please, do yourself a favor and grow some thicker skin if you plan on using the Internet for much longer!

Rick
Rick
5 years 11 months ago

She made a valid point. There is no reason to slam the Atkins lifestyle or diet, when it is just the Atkins Nutritional products he is really bashing. (And I agree with him, however, the Atkins Diet, especially in maintenance, is Paleo in every way.)

CSJ
CSJ
5 years 11 months ago

Uhh, no, Atkins is not paleo at all! Atkins and South Beach tell people to avoid natural foods such as carrots, due to their carb count. Paleo says all veggies are fine.

NaturGym
5 years 11 months ago
I can honestly say I’ve learned something from the way you handled this, Mark. It’s not easy to respond to customer concerns like this without getting defensive, and I think it shows how strongly you believe in your own product. I really don’t think $3 a day is a lot for something like this; an “extra value meal” at a fast food place costs $6 nowadays. As a college student I would have said I couldn’t afford this, all while eating fast food five times a week and spending more than $99 a month on beer. But beyond all of… Read more »
Peggy
Peggy
5 years 11 months ago
You put a little bit more into perspective here: thanks!! I’m sure in my pre-primal days I spent more than $99/mo on non-nutritional food items. Heck, I can spend more than $3 on chocolate even now 🙂 So, for the same (or less) cost of a premium chocolate bar, I can get a chocolate protein power slurpee! Mark did not need to do this. He did because people (enough of them) requested it. Then, in response to some negativity (and some of it perhaps a little harsher than neccesary) he made some adjustments to his initial offering. I agree with… Read more »
Aaron (Grok Mendoza)
Aaron (Grok Mendoza)
5 years 9 months ago

Well said!

Robert
5 years 11 months ago

Not needed, but well played sir. You are a class act.

Craig
5 years 11 months ago

I think Mark was taking a shot at the Atkins labeled products, not the man and the diet, who has done more to advance low carb in the public’s mind than almost anyone else.

I think a comparable product would be All Pro Science’s Grass-fed Whey. I feel like this is a good source of whey that is high quality and its low in sugar, but its not sugar free, it’s not really meant as a standalone drink, and it doesn’t have fat or prebiotics. Its $60 for 20 servings, so roughly the same price per serving.

Matt C
Matt C
5 years 11 months ago

Thank you again for making this available. I ordered the samples and am looking forward to a taste.

Question: What is sodium caseinate and what is its function in Primal Fuel?

jennifer
5 years 11 months ago

Sodium caseinate is used to keep the fats from separating after you add water.

Wilderness Family Naturals includes both maltodextrin and sodium caseinate in their coconut milk powder.

Jsnyd
Jsnyd
5 years 11 months ago

Mark

You have went above and beyond the call of duty. This is why you have so many people that flock to your blog each and every day. Most companies do not provide half the transparency that you just did, nor do they take into consideration the myriads of requests that they receive. I was happy with my initial purchase, this is just icing on my coconut flour cake.

Erica
Erica
5 years 11 months ago

Mark, would you be willing to publish the results of the tests for heavy metals? Consumer reports did an article showing the incidence of heavy metals in many of the popular formulations. I’d be interested in seeing how Primal Fuel stacked up.

Sebastien
Sebastien
5 years 11 months ago

I’m glad to see people seem to be happy with the changes. I was a bit sad for Mark to see the negative comments when the product was initially announced. It’s always hard to receive negative criticisms.

Liz Chalmers
5 years 11 months ago

I’m very impressed at the quick response and the respect you’ve shown this community.

I’ll be tempted to pick up a 15-serving size when it’s available to give it a try….I’m down to about 1 smoothie a week and intend to stay that way, but this could be great for those rare occasions when I don’t have time to make the real thing.

BarbeyGirl
5 years 11 months ago

You have class, Mark. Thanks for proving right all those who stood up in your defense. Grok on! 🙂

Lars1000
5 years 11 months ago

Mark, glad you responded. I’ve tried to eliminate all the naysayers in my personal life… I guess it’s much more difficult in the online world.

I’m definitely picking some up.

mizski
mizski
5 years 11 months ago

Thanks for listening, Mark. Some of the responses were pretty brutal but I think most of those people don’t understand how a product like this can be used. Being able to carry a shake’s worth of powder & a blender bottle with me in case I get stuck on the road or in a meeting is a HUGE convenience. I’m very impressed with the ingredients too. Thanks again.

Mikkel
Mikkel
5 years 11 months ago

I think they were brutal exactly because a lot of people here do understand how a product like this can be used – and how much products like this one normally cost.

But props to Mark for responding to the criticism.

BarbeyGirl
5 years 11 months ago

Ooh. Seriously. This is the perfect item to bring to those professional conferences that feature sandwiches, chips, and cookies for lunch every day.

Primal
Primal
5 years 11 months ago
I made quite a few comments on the primal fuel page and many of them were about how you had sold out to me. The past month was tough because of all the thirty day challenge posts which I just wasn’t that interested in. Then to top it off, you released your product the next day and it just seemed like you were turning to more of a profit oriented goal instead of preaching the primal lifestyle like you had previously done. After reading this post and seeing how you have changed the price and catered to your customers needs,… Read more »
Peggy
Peggy
5 years 11 months ago

YOU, are also a very classy individual for saying what you just said.
cyber-hug..

Larry
Larry
5 years 11 months ago

+1 🙂

BarbeyGirl
5 years 11 months ago

+ another 1 🙂

chocolatechip69
chocolatechip69
5 years 11 months ago
This was a very interesting thing to observe. I must say that when I first saw the announcement about Primal Fuel, I didn’t even read into it after I noticed the price tag. Today I got a bit curious and went on the blog to see what everyone thought about Primal Fuel. In my opinion, there wasn’t enough marketing research done before launching PF at such a price point, so Mark had to get it done the hard way:) It’s upsetting that so many people lowered themselves to get very personal with each other, but it did offered Mark a… Read more »
Dozer
Dozer
5 years 11 months ago

It takes a lot of courage and integrity to come out and face your criticism head on. However, I’m not surprised you handled it this way. You’ve always conducted your-self as a total professional amongst this community.

Unfortunately, I was REALLY excited to see this product until I saw the price. I use the whey protein as a supplement to my Primal Diet in order to maintain a very competitive athletic schedule. I use several scoops a day and would go through 30 servings in two weeks.

Maybe this just isn’t the product for my purposes.

Ben
Ben
5 years 11 months ago

I was one who had a negative response originally. Although I will not be purchasing the Primal Fuel (I’m in college, moneys just a little tight right now. Maybe in the summer when I’m working) I really appreciate your response. I hope the product is successful though.

Thank you Mark for being a classy person… I think that’s why so many of us don’t hesitate to suggest your site.

Bryan Barksdale
5 years 11 months ago

Thanks for listening to your fans Marks! We appreciate it! I can’t wait to at least try Primal Fuel.

marianne
marianne
5 years 11 months ago

I have been an avid European follower right from the start and I love the basic ideas of the BP.
Thanks for being in touch with ‘your” people out there.
I would love to buy Primal Fuel, but due to location it is not feasible to me.
M

Claire
Claire
5 years 11 months ago
Cool beans. You’ve built such a strong and smart community here and offer great easy to read nutritional information. I think that the reason that you got so much flack yesterday is because none of us are comfortable with being TOLD something is good for us. We need to know WHY it is good for us. This is just part of the personality that accepts the Primal/Paleo life and we treat all information with the same caution. That said, this does appear to be a great quality product. I hope that with the problems you addressed today, that this product… Read more »
Greg
Greg
5 years 11 months ago

I really wanted to try this but the price kept me away. With these recent changes, ill be giving it a go. Starting with the samples! Grok On Mark!

Annika
5 years 11 months ago

Kudos to you, Mark! I admit that my jaw dropped at the $99 price tag, but I felt terrible about all the bad-mouthing you got about it. This was a great effort to reach out to your community and make Primal Fuel within reach of more people.

I feel everyone needs to earn a living, and with the AMAZING amount of free information you give out, more power to you if you sell expensive supplements to support yourself. People can gain so much from you and never spend a penny. THANK YOU for everything you do for us!

Adam
Adam
5 years 11 months ago

Mark, you are the man! I’ve only been following you for a few weeks and I have been impressed every step of the way. I have referred many people to your website because of my experience so far.

A class act, inspirational, and a great business man.

Thank you!

Laurie D.
5 years 11 months ago

Mark, you are truly a class act. I already get some of the supplements. All are excellent products – no fishy burps! I’m not going to autoship the Primal Fuel, but I am going to invest in a canister to split with my law school daughter who has a tough time getting in proper paleo meals all day long, especially breakfast.

Caroline
Caroline
5 years 11 months ago

I’m another reader who questioned the original pricing of Primal Fuel. Kudos to you, Mark, for responding to the comments in such a positive and considerate way. While it’s still outside of my budget right now, I may give PF a try in the future.

Shebeeste
Shebeeste
5 years 11 months ago

Simply put, you rock, Mark.

Kevin
Kevin
5 years 11 months ago

Wow, you’re an awesome businessman. Good stuff. I think I may just buy some now, I’m just that impressed in your honesty and your response.

Samantha Moore
Samantha Moore
5 years 11 months ago

You are a terrific businessman.

andy
andy
5 years 11 months ago

Now all you need to do is make protein bars! With lots of FAT!!!

Randy
Randy
5 years 11 months ago

Hey Mark,

Sounds like a great product, would you recommend it as a post workout as well as a meal replacement?

Michael
Michael
5 years 11 months ago

Wow, what a change two days makes. From “vitriol” as some people were using to describe the scornful comments on Monday to gratitude, appreciation and praise on Wednesday. Primal lesson from all this – it is human nature to tunnel towards polar extremes, then completely renege the next moment. Boy we are a flighty bunch. I still don’t know what to think about this whole primal shake thing.

Chris
Chris
5 years 11 months ago

Mark,

Can you please include a list of all the ingredients? All I see is the nutritional info with no full ingredient list. I currently use Shakeology which seems to have an exotic ingredient mix. And you saying it tastes better is BOLD, because Shakeology is the best tasting meal replacement, protein, shake, anything, that I have ever had. Much Thanks

Dana Law
5 years 11 months ago

Mark,
I’ve always been impressed that you sold almost nothing on this site. It’s been give, give, give. Eat real food and get some exercise. You’re on a mission to help people get and stay healthy.
So I’m not worried about your selling a drink. I want you to make a living.
Buying Omega 3 for most of us is a big deal and it’s not your Vital Omega’s.
My question is do we have to have money to be at our healthiest? Does it bother you that most people can’t afford your products?
Sincerely,
Dana Law
El Cajon, Ca

zoltan
zoltan
5 years 11 months ago

Why should it bother him? Most people can’t afford organic grass-fed meat and dairy and organic vegetables; that’s not going to stop him from encouraging people to eat them. These foodstuffs are more expensive because they cost more money to grow/produce/husband. Just as Mark’s fuel is more expensive because the ingredients and process to create it are more expensive than your usual whey protein. Do you understand that you have to have money to be healthy because you have to have money to buy food? This is a pretty simple lesson to learn.

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