$2 Million Strong: How Vegan Baby Food Startup Mamamade Overcame Investment Machismo To Serve Busy Parents Better
5 Mins Read
UK-based Mamamade is making history, as well as healthy baby food. The organic, plant-based infant meal company has just revealed a 300 percent oversubscribed crowdfunding raise on the Seedrs platform, bringing in £1.5 million ($2 million). Executives from Allplants, Made.com and Bulb, amongst others, participated. The baby food market is worth over $60 billion, with the organic sector claiming about 10% of that. While a fair amount of baby food is vegan-friendly, exclusively plant-based, climate-conscious parents have been underserved by brands to date.
Mamamade was launched out of a family home in 2020. Wife and husband duo and new parents Sophie and Ian Baron used their own home kitchen to initially get things moving with tech-focussed baby food development. Direct consumer feedback was key from the start, helping them hone recipes before moving to a subscription delivery service model. Today, the company has a 40,000-strong community of parents, all of which feel invested in and heard by the Barons. Mamamade is predicted to bring in over £10 million in revenue next year.
“As a female founder, in the infant and plant-based space, it hasn’t been the easiest journey, as from the outset, the door was shut to a large number of investors,” Sophie Baron says. “However, the unprecedented support from our growing community was our inspiration, and in fact many of them are now investors. We are delighted to have secured the funds to take Mamamade to the next level and bring our mission to a wider number of people in the UK and beyond.”
Balanced, safe meals suitable for children between six months and four years are sold direct-to-customer. 45 meals can be chosen from, allowing parents to introduce new flavours with confidence. All major allergens have been avoided. Parents can choose from one-off orders, bundles, subscriptions or customised meal plans. All meals are delivered direct to the door.
In this interview, co-founders Sophie & Ian Baron talks to Green Queen’s Sonalie Figueiras about business models, why they chose crowdfunding over VCs and how Mamamade is always on hand to support fellow parents.
GQ: Can you tell us a little bit about how and where you source your ingredients from- are they all organic and vegan-friendly?
SB & IB: We are completely organic and plant-based. We believe that scaling a brand like Mamamade sustainably can only currently be done without the use of animal products. We source from a variety of locations, starting with as local as possible, with all our farmers being soil association accredited.
GQ: Can older kids eat your meals and be nutritionally supported?
SB & IB: Of course, we even have adults orders our toddler snacks such as our pancakes and porridges and even our toddler meals. We really do offer adult food for the younger palate that are nutritionally complete.
GQ: Who is your main customer base? Is it working mums and dads?
SB & IB: Our mission is to help as many parents as possible, making Mamamade as accessible as possible. Our current range covers a wide demographic of parents aged 25-45, typically from dual income households, from corporate careers, freelancers and entrepreneurs.
GQ: Why subscription as a model, rather than simply being stocked in retail outlets?
SB & IB: We set out to create a brand that made parents lives easier, less stressful, giving them more time to be with their children. Unlike other brands offering products, we offer a full solution from aged 4 months to 4 years holding parents’ hands through the whole journey. There are subscription services for adults and even our pets but nothing that makes parents lives more convenient. All our subscriptions are completely flexible and can be paused or cancelled at any time. Mamamade also offers the option of buying a one off box.
GQ: How does your pricing compare to other high-end baby food brands?
SB & IB: Mamamade currently sits in line with other baby brands, even those that sit on the supermarket shelves on a per gram basis. Compared to other direct to consumer brands, we are by far the most affordable.
GQ: Social media has been an important channel for the brand. Why do you think it has been so pivotal?
SB & IB: Mamamade was born on Instagram, where our community of over 40k parents engage with everything we do. We speak to the next generation of parents who were tired of forums or books giving very strict ways of parenting. As a community, we have all types of parents from all cultural backgrounds, with different views and ideas. Parents are looking for a safe space that is truly non-judgmental and without shame. Time-strapped parents no longer have the time to read the books or have their own parents living next door to help, so they need access to relevant content at the tip of their fingertips and to be able to share their experiences.
GQ: Why did you choose crowdfunding instead of angel investors and VCs?
SB & IB: Mamamade was started on Instagram and the community built what we have today. All our decisions and ideas came from our community and it was always our intention for Mamamade to be community owned, something we are very proud of.
GQ: The website offers more than meals, from counselling sessions to bespoke nutrition. Why is that?
SB & IB: As part of everything we do, helping parents is top of our list. Whether it is with online guides, resources, live q+a’s or our free weaning service, we are genuinely here to help.
GQ: What has been the biggest challenge that you’ve overcome so far?
SB & IB: Starting out, raising funds was near impossible. Being a female-founded business, the investment world laughed off the idea that parents needing help was a thing and that a woman could launch a significant business. Fortunately we met some amazing angels and other founders along the way, and together with our community, have gone from strength to strength.
GQ: What’s next for Mamamade?
SB & IB: We are just scratching the surface in our mission. There are ambitious growth plans for Mamamade beyond the UK, into mainland Europe and further afield. Additionally, there are some exciting tools and products being released later this year, which are set to really disrupt the space.
All photos courtesy of Mamamade. Lead: Sophie Baron of Mamamade.