Oatsu soaks oats in oat milk, adding fruit and seeds to create its four-strong plant-based range

Healthy breakfast start-up Oatsu has surpassed a £100k crowdfunding target as it prepares to launch overnight oats in Holland & Barrett and Co-op.

The on-the-go brand, which is endorsed by BBC Dragons’ Den entrepreneur Steven Bartlett, is overfunding after almost 100 backers invested £118k in the Seedrs campaign to date.

Oatsu has secured its first nationwide listing at Holland & Barrett as part of the retailer’s strategic roll-out of chilled and fresh foods, with the brand to be stocked by 645 stores from this month.

It is also one of eight brands joining the Co-op’s ‘Apiary’ incubator for mission-driven food & drink brands, which will involve nationwide distribution in the mutual’s stores.

The business said in the Seedrs pitch that it was also in discussions with Sainsbury’s, Tesco and WH Smith Travel.

Founder Lauren O’Donnell left her career in banking to launch Oatsu in 2019, delivering more than 20,000 breakfasts to almost 3,000 customers and businesses so far from its DTC channel.

She said 2023 had been a “remarkable” year. “The idea for Oatsu came about after I struggled to find any delicious plant-based breakfasts near my office. I started making overnight oat pots in my kitchen, selling them online and at markets.”

The brand soaks oats in oat milk, adding fruit and seeds to create its four-strong plant-based range.

Oatsu supplies its overnight oats to coffee shops, gyms and offices and is in talks with wholesale distributors to expand in the foodservice channel.

It also supplied rapid delivery service Jiffy, claiming to be the top-selling breakfast ahead of Kellogg’s and Weetabix, and is aiming to launch with other q-commerce operators.

Money from the crowd will be used to grow distribution, develop new products – with a ‘just add milk’ mix planned – and expand the team.

“With these funds, I aim to secure Oatsu’s place as the UK’s leading overnight oat brand and become an established player in the breakfast category,” O’Donnell added.