Most oatmilks are unsweetened (no sugar added),but still typically contain 2-7g naturally occurring sugar from oats, whereas Mooala’s product (which contains no added sunflower or canola oil) contains zero grams of sugar and 50 calories per serving vs the more typical 90-120 cals for unsweetened oatmilk, said Richards.
But does this simply mean that there are hardly any oats in it?
“The sugar level difference is partly due to the different ways companies process the oats,” claimed Richards, who said Mooala’s formula combines filtered water with organic oat flour, coconut cream, calcium carbonate, sea salt, cinnamon, and gellan gum. (Oatly, for example, adds natural enzymes that break oat starch down into smaller components, primarily maltose (malt sugar), which sweetens its products naturally).
“We have a high amount of solids in our formula, so it’s not watery,” said Richards. “The coconut cream adds extra creaminess without our having to add vegetable oils. It’s got a creamy satisfying texture. We're also the first brand with an organic oatmilk product in the refrigerated case.”
Mooala set to debut new line at Expo West
Mooala oatmilk (MSRP $5.99) will launch in the refrigerated aisle in Whole Foods and Safeway-Albertsons regionally, and is available to retailers nationally through UNFI and KeHE, said Richards, who launched Mooala in 2016 and has since secured distribution through UNFI and placement in 2,000+ stores including Whole Foods, Wegmans, ShopRite, Albertsons-Safeway, Giant, and Stop & Shop.
“We’ve recently added a number of different Whole Foods regions, gained distribution with Kroger and added multiple new Safeway regions, so it’s going to be a big year for us.
“I can’t say any more now but we’ll be introducing a line at Expo West that takes us into a different part of the dairy case as we continue to target consumers looking for a more affordable organic option for the whole family.”
Consumers are really smart and know to look at the Nutrition Facts label
Asked whether consumers in the plant-based dairy alternatives category expect – or should expect – nutritional equivalence with dairy products, he said that most Americans are not short of protein, but that it can be harder to find calcium, so Mooala has chosen to add this to its formulations.
“Consumers are really smart and know to look at the Nutrition Facts label and [if these products are not delivering what they want] they have the freedom not to buy them.”
As for plant 'milk' labeling, said Richards, who uses the terms 'plant-based and dairy-free' immediately under the word 'oatmilk' on pack: "At the end of the day, we'll do what the FDA says we must do, but there are a number of different ways to make it very obvious to consumers that this is not from a cow."
The brainchild of investment banker Jeff Richards, who was diagnosed with lactose intolerance at the age of 30, Texas-based Mooala is a new entrant to the plant-based ‘milks’ market that targets the whole family. Launched in 2016, it went on to secure distribution through UNFI and placement in 2,000+ stores. A January 2018 $5m seed round was led by M3 Ventures and Sweat Equities.
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