Today we’re going Behind the Biz with MOMA, the brand obsessed with oats. They make porridge pots and sachets, traditional bircher muesli, low sugar granola and dairy free oat drinks.
MOMA was founded 15 years ago in a railway arch in south east London by Tom Mercer. Tom wanted to create a healthy on the go breakfast and he has certainly done that. Today MOMA are still independently owned and are stocked in supermarkets, stations, online and coffee shops across the UK.
Let’s have a chat with Tom.
What was the first product you launched with?
We started selling breakfast from a stall (made from a filing cabinet!) in Waterloo station, and we had three main products. The “hodgepodge” was a layered fruit compote, yoghurt and granola. “Dr Bircher” was one of many subsequent names for our bircher muesli. And “Oatmeal” was our first drinkable oat smoothie
What makes MOMA different from other breakfast brands?
We’re exclusively focused on oats. We love them! Oats are amazing for filling you up as well as helping with heart health. And with a bit of creativity they are delicious in everything from porridge to oat milk. We even did a pop up ‘Oat Cuisine’ restaurant with an eight-course tasting menu entirely made with oats!
How did you know it was the right time to launch your new oat milk alternatives?
I think the move towards more plant-based food is a really long-term trend. And, as MOMA is an oat brand, we definitely wanted to be a part of it. It took a lot of time and hard work to make sure we launched with a great quality product.
How did you approach your first stockist?
We launched back in 2006 with stall in Waterloo East train station – so it was a case of getting permission to set up there.
What did you do before launching MOMA?
I was a management consultant for Bain & Co.
Did you always intend to set up your own business?
Yes, absolutely. I’m from quite an entrepreneurial farming family, so it was a natural next step for me.
Please share a business high and low with us.
It might sound cliché but the best bit is when we get genuine messages of support from consumers who love our products. It’s a great motivator for me & the team!
There have been lots of challenges over the years – often involving supermarkets and them wanting to ‘consolidate’ their range.
What has been your biggest lesson from COVID19 and lockdown?
We’ve learnt that we can work remotely effectively. In future we’ll have a lot more flexibility about where people can work.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs in the food sector?
It’s easy to get carried away with passion for an idea, but it has to make rational sense too! Sometimes passion can cloud your judgement, so make sure you stay objective.
What are your plans for the final few months of 2020?
We have just launched our new range of porridge sachets, with three brand new flavours! These will be slightly different to our usual instant format and will be a little more flexible for those who like different milks in their porridge. We’ll be focusing on these for the rest of the year.
You can buy MOMA Foods over on their website, Ocado, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and many more place. There’s a full stockist list on their site.
I want to say a huge thank you to Tom for taking time out to be involved with Behind the Biz. I’ve been buying MOMA products for a while now so it was really interesting to find out more about the brand.