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Founder and CEO Cheman Cheung’s journey to launching nüte — the wellness start-up that offers vegan, fast and functional foods at Pacific Place — was rooted, like so many entrepreneurial ventures, in a life change.

After his dad passed away when Cheman was 25, he left his unfulfilling job in finance to reset alone and figure out his calling. His first stop was San Sebastian, Spain, where for two months, he had a simple daily routine: surfing or running, a trip to the farmer’s market for fresh groceries, reading, hiking, sleeping. ‘Good food, regular movement and time in nature were my medicine,’ he recalls. ‘Day by day, my body got lighter and my mind became clearer. The connection with myself and the world grew so strong that I felt compelled to cultivate the same for others. This was when nüte was born.’

The focus at nüte is a thoughtful, wellness-focused curation of fast, nutritious foods. Products include a unique range of icebar smoothies and granolas, with more products on the horizon. ‘We’ll keep innovating functional and balanced healthy foods to help the wellness lifestyle,’ says Cheman. ‘And the Plant-Powered Bar at Pacific Place is where we’ll introduce our latest foods and beverages.’

Sustainability is also an important touchpoint for the young company. ‘We’re a start-up and can never be perfect, but it’s important that we consider nature in everything we do, and we do the best we possibly can for Earth,’ says Cheman. ‘In the ideation stage, we brainstorm how to maximise food usage in our recipes and operations, and also lengthen their life cycles. We use veggie scraps for broths and blends, and fruit scraps to make our own detergents and aroma oils. Our product packaging is completely plastic-free — our smoothie and tea bottles at Pacific Place are endlessly reused. In our office, we run our own recycling programme, and cook up plant-forward staff meals that use leftovers from production. Growing this way has meant more challenges, but that’s the only way we want to grow.’

But while Cheman is a big part of nüte’s story, he calls out the importance of the team and the culture they’ve collectively built, stemming in part from their hybrid office-lab environment. ‘We all work in our lab. It was a full year project,’ he says. ‘We wanted to create an idyllic environment that nurtures human potential — one that prioritises quality of life at work and also marries humanity with nature. This place feeds our passion in creating plant-forward, nutritious foods — we’re now able to test and learn about all sorts of ingredients every day. It’s especially fun when we’re finding use in what many may regard as waste to make beautiful and healthy products.’

This critical step involves the whole team, which consists of Creative Director Nelson Koe, Sales and Marketing Lead Judith Lin, Food R&D Lead Jessie Leung, Growth Lead Wynlim Wong, Junior Creative Alice Ho, Sales and Marketing Consultant Jenny Lam, and Nutritionist and Operations Associate Moon Pong, as well as summer interns Quito Camacho and Kwanyee Fung.

So, how does the process actually work? The team keeps it simple and fun. ‘Everyone in the company loves food, so we all look around the world for inspirations. We dedicate time and resources each week to trying things out in the lab. So long as the recipe is natural and nutritionally balanced, we’re open to whatever shape or form it takes,’ says Cheman. ‘Moon looks after the science, then Jessie figures out how to make the product a reality. The rest of us are super lucky to be constantly fed with new and delicious samples — we just have to give detailed feedback in return!’

This is the real strength and uniqueness of nüte. ‘Each person comes with a unique skill set, personality and story,’ says Cheman. ‘We’re able to work well together because we value that we’re all different. In discussions we always get a lot of different ideas and perspectives, but at the same time we respect who knows what best. There’s no top down — everyone is trusted and empowered to make decisions in their fields of expertise for the team.’

This special group has made the journey of launching a start-up much easier, Cheman concludes. ‘They’ve turned from friends into my family. We have an unbreakable mutual understanding that we’ll always be there for each other. I’m incredibly grateful for who they are. My job is to simply empower them to do what they love in the right environment. Without them, there’s no nüte.’

Come and experience what the nüte team has put together for you at the pop-up at Level L2, Area 2J (near Harvey Nichols).