The brainchild of investment banker Jeff Richards, who was diagnosed with lactose intolerance at the age of 30, Texas-based Mooala launched in 2016 with a category first - organic bananamilk made from five ingredients: banana puree, roasted sunflower seed butter, sea salt, cinnamon and gellan gum – but went on to develop almondmilk, oatmilk with coconut cream, and a new line of almond- and coconut-based dairy-free creamers.
The brand – which raised a $5m seed round in January 2018 - has since secured placement in 2,500+ stores from Whole Foods, Safeway, Kroger, and Wegmans to Costco, and expects to double net sales in 2019 (versus 2018) and increase its footprint to 3,500 stores in January 2020.
While several big names have now piled into the oatmilk category, Mooala’s product – a zero sugar organic oatmilk with coconut cream and cinnamon – is distinctive, Richards told FoodNavigator-USA earlier this year.
Most oatmilks are unsweetened (no sugar added), but still typically contain 2-7g of 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, he explained.
“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 hydrolyze (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.”
The new creamers, meanwhile, have impressed retail buyers, he told us last month: “We’ve gotten the new creamers into over 1,000 doors since launching in the second quarter.”
KIDS AND THE PLANT-BASED TREND:
How are parents incorporating plant-based alternatives into their children’s diets? And what are the nutritional implications? Hear from Michele DeKinder-Smith at Linkage Research & Consulting at the 2019 FoodNavigator-USA FOOD FOR KIDS summit in Chicago. November 18-20.