Sunday, August 25, 2013

MixMyOwn mixes it up

I have long been intrigued with the innovation of custom-mixed cereals. Today technology makes it possible for many consumer items to have a high level of customization, and cereal is certainly a commodity well-positioned for such personalization.

Custom cereals are not new. The true trend-setter and leader in this field is mymuesli, a German company established over six years ago. They have done an incredible job of making custom cereal interesting and fun, and in a less-than-saturated cereal market like Germany it appears to have been a great fit. Other companies have tried to copy this model including two notable U.S. start-ups back in 2008: [me]&goji and MixMyGranola. Both companies tried hard, but were unable to make it work. Within the last two years both ceased operation. Up until very recently only one custom cereal company is still around in this country, Custom Choice Cereal, but their niche is the gluten-free market.

Despite the challenges of the U.S. market, a new entrant is in the race, determined to do what no one has yet accomplished: succeed in custom cereals. MixMyOwn was founded by Klara Charvatova and David Filipi, a young couple from Europe, who were inspired by the success of custom cereals there, to launch such a business here in America. Apart from the lack of canisters, there are many similarities with mymuesli, including the fact that MixMyOwn focuses on muesli, not granola like the previous U.S. attempts. 

MixMyOwn recognizes the challenges they face, and they have decided to focus on health conscious people and fitness enthusiasts. For that reason there is an emphasis on organic, preservative free, white sugar free, fillers free, unprocessed, non-GMO ingredients. They currently offer close to 100 ingredients, including 31 freeze-dried fruits and 20 types of nuts and seeds. The well-designed website makes it easy to put your personalized combination together, or you can choose from eight of their own pre-mixes. They gave me an opportunity to try it all out with a complimentary mix of my own design. The ordering process was simple, shipping was fast, and the final product was as promised: tasty and fresh.

I am particularly encouraged by their European focus on muesli. Even though it is possible to put together a granola-based mix, I really believe that muesli is a tremendous growth opportunity for North America since granola is largely passe. Museli has been around for awhile here, but no one has of yet really captured the potential of this cereal option. And, with more and more health conscious consumers out there, MixMyOwn may have an opportunity to be the one. It will require, however, telling a new story about muesli, both in terms of its nutritional value, and how it can be prepared and eaten. They are wise in going after their target market since general consumers are probably not ready for mueslis or custom cereals, and the cost is considerably higher than your average box from the supermarket. 

I will be watching with interest to see if custom cereals finally take off in the U.S.because of the efforts of MixMyOwn!

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