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There’s a new dairy-free brand coming to market. Singapore’s mohjo is a direct-to-consumer clean label vegan dairy brand. And it just completed its seed funding round.
The undisclosed investments into mohjo come by way of East Ventures, with participation from iSeed Southeast Asia, K3 Ventures, along with other high-profile angel investors. The company was founded earlier this year by entrepreneur Juhi Dang who hopes to expand capacity, product offerings, and market placement through the funding.
Dang says that while the $23 billion vegan dairy industry is currently driving the shift to plant-based, not all ingredients are as clean as they could be. It was her impetus to create mohjo.
Clean and dairy-free
“Most commercially available dairy alternatives are nutrient-low and stabilizer-heavy. They contain 95-98% water, are laced with additives, and either taste bad or have no taste at all,” Dang said in a statement.
“mohjo is a result of me trying to solve these problems as a consumer of dairy- alternative products myself. I grew up drinking fresh milk. But when I discovered I was lactose intolerant, I just couldn’t find a plant-based milk that tasted as good,” she explained. “When I relocated to Singapore, I thought I would find tasty and clean dairy alternatives here, but that was not the case. All I could find was liquid that looked like milk with none of the nutrition or taste.”
Dang says the first product, vegan almond milk, is free from stabilizers, thickeners, artificial sweeteners, and other synthetic chemical ingredients.
“As the lactose intolerant population is growing across the world, we see a huge opportunity from plant-based alternatives,” Willson Cuaca, co-founder and managing partner of East Ventures said. “The market is gaining momentum and witnessing a rising demand, especially driven by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic wherein people re-evaluate their diets. As a DTC (direct-to-consumer) company, mohjo was established to serve the consumers who seek better health yet delicious foods and beverages. We believe that the company can grow by bringing innovations to the market.”
A plant-based shift
Multiple factors are driving the growth in plant-based food, specifically the nondairy market segment. Health is a driving factor behind the switch, particularly in Asia. According to Grand View Research, Asia owns 44 percent of the dairy-free market share, due in large part to the rise in health concerns, namely lactose intolerance across, which is widespread across the region. Prevalence is extremely high; 70 to 100 percent of East Asians are lactose intolerant, according to recent data.
Consumers are also shifting toward dairy-free options for ethical and environmental reasons, too. Concerns about greenhouse gas emissions—livestock is a significant producer—have consumers shifting to alternatives like oat, soy, and nut milk.
Singapore is embracing the shift to a more sustainable food system. It’s home to the sustainable app, abillion, which is helping consumers find and support vegan businesses. It was also the first region in the world to approve the sale and distribution of cell-based meat. The chicken was produced by Eat Just with cells from a live animal, but the meat itself was grown in a lab. Foodpanda partnered with the brand to deliver the meat across the city -state.
mohjo sees huge opportunity for its clean milk and is rapidly expanding its operations, sales, and marketing efforts, Juhi said. “We are looking for passionate and ambitious folks who believe that we can change the planet with the choices we make at meal times. mohjo is building an inclusive workplace where business is done the right way.”
Lead image courtesy of mohjo.