From modest beginnings one stall in Waterloo station in 2006 Moma's breakfast pots, which combine oats, yoghurt, apple juice and fruit, are now sold in Selfridges, Waitrose and Ocado.
The railway station stalls account for just under half of Moma's £1.25m turnover, but MD Tom Mercer (pictured) is clear that the future of the business lies in expanding its presence in retail and cafés. He has just secured Moma's first café listings, rolling its products out to 33 Puccino's coffee shops nationwide this month, and is optimistic Sainsbury's will follow suit soon.
Moma looks like a business heading in the right direction. It has moved most of its manufacturing to a site just outside London with capacity to expand. But Mercer is under no illusions. Securing listings is just the beginning of the battle. Shelf standout is all-important in a retail environment, so earlier this year he revamped the packaging to give it a bolder look. As a chilled dairy line, Moma is usually merchandised by yoghurts "but we're as close to porridge as we are to yoghurts", insists Mercer. "There are great brands in dairy but we're a totally different proposition."
Although the stalls sell a range of products that includes smoothie-style oat shakes and yoghurts, the breakfast pots are the focus for retail. They contain 20% jumbo Mornflake oats and come in five flavours, including wild berry, apple & peach and banana & mango, plus seasonal varieties (rsp: £2). The oats are soaked in apple juice, then combined with low-fat probiotic yoghurt. "We have never pitched it as a diet product," says Mercer, "but people come to us and say they've lost weight through eating our breakfasts because it keeps them full all morning so they don't snack."
He is confident he can double Moma's retail sales by the end of the year, through increased distribution and new pack formats the company is launching an 850g bulk pack into Ocado in August, to appeal to consumers who eat breakfast at home, as well as its first multipack.
While further expansion is on the cards for its core line, Mercer has no plans to diversify outside breakfast products. "We use the strapline 'the best breakfast' to explain what we do," he says. "The benefits of people understanding we're all about breakfast outweigh the issue of losing custom at lunchtime."
As retailer interest in on-the-go breakfasts rises, so does the risk of rivals entering the market, but Mercer is unfazed by the potential danger of a bigger player such as Innocent copying his formula. "We've created a totally new product so more players entering the market would help boost awareness of the category," he insists. And in terms of quality, he adds, "I don't think anyone would do a better job."