“For how many people are trying to eat plant-based nowadays, I still don't think that there are enough options, and the options that are out there [may be] starting to give a vegan option on the back of the baking mix, ... but it's not a dedicated vegan brand. So, I wanted to have a dedicated vegan brand.”
Providing more vegan, allergen-free products
Maja currently offers plant-based baking mixes and overnight oats, available online through its website, from several retailers in Connecticut, where the brand is headquartered, and will soon be available on Amazon.
Prior to starting Maja, Varthi worked as a lawyer but started a CPG brand due to her passion for baking and a lack of vegan-friendly options on the market.
"I'd go to Whole Foods and other health food stores, and I would never find anything vegan. And so I just wanted to have more vegan options available. That's one of the reasons why I just decided to start the company. I also lived in New Orleans for a year around the time I became vegan, and especially there, it was very pronounced that there are just no vegan options."
Varthi says she also hopes to provide a more inclusive baking experience by offering mixes that are allergen-free, as food allergies become more widely understood and reported. Approximately 6% of US adults and children have a food allergy, according to CDC data.
“The target consumer for [the baking mixes] is moms with kids in school who want to make something that their kids can take to school for a birthday party or that anyone can enjoy,” she said. “I was trying to make something that everyone can enjoy, so the baking mixes are allergen-free, gluten-free, and vegan.”
Overnight oats soak it in
On the other side of its portfolio, Maja also offers Overnight Oats, which are available in Cacao + Coconut and Banana Bread.
“Oats are still on trend right now, and then high protein is a huge trend,” she said. “When I tell people [the Overnight Oats have] 20 grams of protein per serving that's like a huge thing for them, and I get a lot of people interested in that just for that reason alone.”
The protein in Maja's Overnight Oats comes from an organic protein blend of pea, pumpkin and hemp.
To create brand awareness, Varthi is working to get her brand and product out there through content, while also exploring what channels (retail or DTC) would make the most sense for her brand moving forward. Additionally, Maja is already looking at ways to expand its portfolio with new offerings later in the year.