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Early Riser: Raise the bar fitness

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Every startup has a story, but not all stories are created equal. Some are born from a passion for innovation, while others are driven by a need to fill a gap in the market. The story of Early Riser, a family-run Bahraini business specialising in handcrafted, nutrient-dense granolas and nut butters, is one that captures both. With a dedication to quality and a commitment to customer satisfaction, Early Riser has quickly become a force to be reckoned with in the industry.

Aida AlMudaifa, the company’s founder, is overjoyed to have won first at the third StartUp Bahrain pitch competition supported by Tamkeen, the Economic Development Board, the Industry and Commerce Ministry, and the Bahrain Development Bank. The pitch serves as a venue for aspiring Bahraini entrepreneurs to introduce their project to the public.

In an interview with Bahrain This Week, the 35-year-old Bahraini, who lives in Amwaj with her husband Mohamed Sanad and their two-and-a-half-year-old son Sanad, said the winning moment was emotional.

“We all cried! That moment was so validating that we are on the right path and have something special. This is just the push we needed to keep going and create great things going forward.”

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Aida reflected that she grew up an overweight child fed chicken nuggets and fries as a snack and was unhappy about her looks. She managed to lose weight on extreme diets but did not feel good about it. She realised the sustainable method was a balanced diet led by a healthy lifestyle. But she did not get a chance to pursue her love for health and wellness until Covid, which she dedicated to research, and that led her to the Health Coaching programme at the Integrative Nutrition School in New York.

“It is something that is aligned with my beliefs, and I wanted to learn more. That was the beginning of other life-changing decisions.”

Breakfast was Aida’s favourite meal of the day, and she loved quick and nourishing platters of fruits, yoghurt, and granola. But the store-bought granola disappointed her with its cheap and harmful ingredients. She decided to make her own granola with no refined sugars or inflammatory oils.
“It tasted way better and tastier as I got creative with each batch. I started sending them to family and friends, and demand instantly exploded! So one random morning, I told my husband, let’s start an Instagram page and sell our granola! So in two weeks and with only BD400, we sourced the ingredients, did the branding, called it Early Riser after our lifestyle, and started taking orders.”

After eight months, the couple added a nut butter line to it, which attracted supermarkets and cafes, and Aida left her full-time job to pursue her passion and wellness.
While preparing for the pitch, the team realised that 94pc of the options in the granola category included cheap and harmful ingredients, and 90pc of the nut butters on the market are plain peanut butter.
“So we introduced a range of granola flavours that are gluten-free, refined sugar-free, infused with superfoods such as chia, hemp, and flaxseeds, and only baked with organic coconut oil.” They also have nut butters combining different nuts and spices.

Experimenting is part of the team’s passion, and especially Aida’s brother Mohamed spends time creating flavours inspired by their favourite dishes and for different seasons and occasions of the year. This led to their gingerbread granola during Christmas and the Arabian Nights nut butter infused with saffron and rose water during Ramadan.
Early Riser currently focuses on increasing their capacity and team, in addition to its goal of expanding into the region, starting with Saudi Arabia, by the end of the year.

The ideal approach is to lead a balanced, healthy, and active lifestyle, says Aida, who runs a running club open to the community to join every Sunday at 7.30 pm.

Aida added that the health industry should focus on preventing diseases rather than treating them. This, she said, includes having a healthier lifestyle, having a career that you love, getting enough sleep, and having a positive mindset.

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