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How MOMA Foods Found a Strategy for Its Porridge That Was Just Right

Author Jon MillsJon Mills

6 min read
Better Business

Dive into How Not To Fail, and the journey of MOMA Foods as they turned setbacks into opportunities, refined their products, and found innovative ways to reach their target audience. Learn valuable lessons on resilience and adaptability in the competitive food industry.

How MOMA Foods Found a Strategy for Its Porridge That Was Just Right

As far as Osome sees it, there are two certainties in life: failing and taxes. We’ve done our fair share of both. That’s why — inspired in part by our own failures, in part by Thomas Edison’s discovery of 10,000 ways not to make a lightbulb, but mostly by the many successful entrepreneurs who’ve been ambushed by failure on their way to the top — we decided to launch our new campaign, How Not To Fail.

To kick off How Not To Fail, we spoke with Pete Joubert from MOMA Foods, the exceptional organic oat milk and porridge brand.

Watch the video here, and read more about MOMA’s journey below.

How It All Began

Leaving the comfort of a stable corporate job to begin your start-up journey is always a bold move. Pete Joubert embraced this leap when he joined MOMA Foods, recognising the allure of shaping his own destiny and making a significant impact. That’s a decision many entrepreneurs face, after realising the importance of aligning their careers with their values and seeking roles that offer the opportunity to contribute meaningfully.

Pete shared his motivation behind joining MOMA, stating,

"I knew I needed to work in a smaller challenger environment where I could see tangible results and make a difference. That's when I discovered the opportunity to join MOMA, a brand I both admired and respected."

Setbacks Turned Opportunities

In the early days, MOMA faced a significant setback when their products were pulled from major retailers like Boots and Co-Op due to a change in buyer preferences. This turn of events could have been devastating for many businesses, but MOMA saw it as an opportunity for growth and innovation, despite financial constraints.

Pete described the experience as a pivotal moment, saying,

"It was a wake-up call for us. We had to reevaluate our strategy and find new ways to reach our target audience. Instead of dwelling on the setback, we focused on refining our products, expanding our distribution channels, and strengthening our brand presence."

This setback served as a catalyst for MOMA to pivot and explore alternative avenues for success. It was during this period of reflection and strategic planning that they discovered the potential of the contract caterers and travel industries. By shifting its focus and adapting its business model, MOMA found new opportunities for growth and expansion.

One major failure they encountered was the launch of their Birch Muesli product, which didn't sell well and resulted in high wastage. MOMA realised that the product was too niche and lacked brand awareness outside of London. However, instead of persisting with an unsuccessful product, they made the courageous decision to pivot and focus on porridge. This shift in focus allowed them to offer a quality and taste upgrade to their mass-market competitor, Quaker.

Growth is seldom a straight path, as MOMA knows all too well. Under Pete's leadership, the company evolved from a founder-led start-up to an established brand in the ravenously competitive food and beverage industry. This transformation was not just about survival; it involved strategic adaptation to market demands and harnessing the company's full potential. So, here’s lesson one on How Not To Fail as we see it; adaptability and agility are vital to entrepreneurial success. By remaining flexible and resilient in the face of challenges, businesses can position themselves for sustainable growth.

Reflecting on the challenges they encountered, Pete emphasised the need for agility and responsiveness, stating,

"The key is to learn and adapt quickly. The market and consumer tastes are constantly evolving, and standing still will leave you behind."

Another challenge they faced was in hiring the right people for a small business environment. They realised that the traditional hiring approach used by larger companies didn't work for them. Instead, they learned that hiring individuals who already had experience in challenging environments or who were specifically interested in working in a startup setting was more successful. They also realised the importance of correcting hiring mistakes quickly, as a bad fit could have a negative impact on the team and company culture.

The Power of Adaptability

Pardon the pun, but it took Goldilocks three tries to get it right each time she faced a challenge. MOMA wasn’t far off that record. One challenge was the need to diversify its product offerings to stay ahead in a market that changed with the tides. Pete recognises the value of swift learning and adaptation, emphasising the importance of embracing change and staying attuned to consumer preferences.

"The big learning really is trying to spot when things aren't working and pivot the business... Your first idea isn't always the right one. So that's where some of the failure and learning comes in."

This universal truth underscores the need for entrepreneurs to remain agile and responsive to shifting market dynamics. Your willingness to pivot strategies and embrace change could be the difference between giving in to failure and long-term success.

Pete’s Tips for How Not To Fail

Throughout our conversation with Pete Joubert, he shared an array of valuable insights and lessons to help entrepreneurs on their own journeys.

"What is my advice? Be more patient with yourself and the team and the business... Trust your gut more... Trust the warning signs to yourself, rather than your urge to just want to win, maybe. Let the outside in, listen to advice and listen to your gut."

Here are some key takeaways:

  1. Embrace change

The ability to adapt quickly to market changes will help sustain your success. Be open to new ideas, listen to customer feedback, and be willing to pivot your strategies when necessary.

  1. Prioritise innovation

Constantly seek opportunities for innovation and improvement. Stay ahead of industry trends, invest in research and development, and be proactive in finding new ways to deliver value to your customers. MOMA’s emphasis on innovation and customer satisfaction allowed them to deliver exceptional products to happy customers.

  1. Build a strong team

Surround yourself with talented individuals who share your vision and values. Foster a culture of collaboration and empower your team to take ownership of their roles.

  1. Stay customer-centric

Your customers are the lifeblood of your business. Continuously strive to understand their needs, exceed their expectations, and build strong relationships that foster loyalty and advocacy.

And, of course, as was the intention behind launching Osome’s How Not To Fail campaign…

  1. When you do fail, learn from it

Mistakes and setbacks are part of the entrepreneurial journey. Embrace them as valuable learning experiences and use them to fuel your growth and development.

7 Strategies of Entrepreneurial Success

Drawing from Pete's experience at MOMA, we've compiled a set of 7 practical strategies to help entrepreneurs blaze their own trails:

  1. Cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset

Adopt a mindset that embraces creativity, resilience, and calculated risk-taking. See failures as valuable learning experiences that contribute to growth.

  1. Stay agile and adaptive

Entrepreneurship demands the ability to quickly adapt to changing circumstances. Continually assess market trends, consumer preferences, and industry shifts, and be willing to adjust your strategies accordingly.

  1. Put customer needs first

Place your customers at the heart of your business. Understand their preferences, pain points, and desires, and tailor your products or services to meet their needs effectively.

  1. Foster a culture of innovation

Create an environment that fosters creativity and encourages the exploration of new ideas. Encourage employees to contribute their insights and provide opportunities for experimentation and improvement.

  1. Build strong relationships

Forge meaningful connections with suppliers, partners, and stakeholders who share your vision and values. Collaboration with like-minded individuals and organisations can lead to shared success.

  1. Invest in continuous learning

Continually invest in your personal and professional growth, staying updated on industry trends, participating in relevant events, and seeking guidance from experienced mentors.

  1. Embrace resilience

Embrace resilience as an essential trait in entrepreneurship, recognising that the journey is filled with ups and downs. Maintain a positive mindset, viewing setbacks as valuable stepping stones on the path to ultimate success.

“Be patient with yourself, the team, and the business. Avoid rushing and be kinder to yourself and others.”

Let’s give you a leg up

Success starts with the right tools and the right team. Osome gives you both — financial admin sorted by smart software and expert accountants — to keep your business winning.

Further Reading

MOMA Foods' Journey in Numbers

MOMA's growth story is nothing short of impressive. Here are some key statistics and milestones that show their successes:

Remarkable revenue growth

Since its inception, MOMA has achieved significant revenue growth, with an impressive annual increase of 25% over the past five years.

Expansion into new markets

MOMA has successfully expanded its distribution network, establishing a presence in both domestic and international markets. Today, the brand is available in over 20 countries worldwide.

Awards and acclaim

MOMA has earned numerous accolades for its exceptional products and commitment to innovation. The brand has received multiple industry awards, including Best Organic Food Brand and Most Innovative Breakfast Product.

A commitment to sustainability

MOMA is deeply dedicated to sustainability and environmental stewardship. The company has implemented various initiatives aimed at reducing its carbon footprint and minimising waste throughout the supply chain.

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