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Oatsu makes it easy to enjoy a healthy breakfast on the go with freshly prepared overnight oats. In 2019, founder Lauren left the corporate world and started making overnight oats from her kitchen, selling them online and at markets. Since then, Oatsu has delivered 23,000+ breakfasts to more than 3,000 UK-wide customers, earning over 100+ 5-star reviews. Overnight oats have soared in popularity across the globe and Oatsu have found the sweet spot, with 4 delicious flavours available, and are now overfunding on Seedrs. We sat down with Lauren to find out more about Oatsu’s journey and her plans for the future.
Overnight oats are in demand – they’re the 4th most Googled recipe globally, with searches up 4600% since 2014. How do you predict market growth will look over the next few years and how do you plan to deal with this?
The popularity of overnight oats has indeed skyrocketed in recent years – #overnightoats has over 1.1 million uses on Instagram alone. Discovering recipes was a game-changer when I worked in the City – several colleagues were prepping their own overnight oats for breakfast as well.
As consumers become increasingly familiar with them, they’re looking for more convenient versions in stores. Brands in the US have already brought overnight oats to market, and are generating tens of millions in revenue.
We aim to become the UK’s first dedicated overnight oat brand on shelves. Oatsu brings what was once an exclusively ‘prep-at-home’ breakfast into the mainstream, in a handy ready-to-eat format, using quality ingredients. We’ve been truly overwhelmed by the interest received from retailers looking to expand their breakfast offering and they’re now looking to bring the same focus and innovation to the breakfast occasion as they have done for lunch and dinner.
There’s a demand for a healthy breakfast that’s also convenient. Can you explain why Oatsu is the best option for a time-efficient breakfast that doesn’t cut corners when it comes to nutrition?
Oats are one of the best sources of plant-based protein. They’re packed with fibre, helping you stay fuller for longer. As a complex carb – like wholegrain pasta or rice – they also help sustain your energy levels. Soaking oats helps with nutrient absorption, and makes them easier to digest. However, you may not have time or all of the ingredients to hand to soak your oats the night before – and it can be hard to achieve the right consistency and flavour.
That’s where Oatsu comes in: we make it easy to enjoy a healthy breakfast anytime, anywhere. Our ready-to-eat oats are low in sugar and packed with fibre and protein to keep you going all morning.
We deliver them straight to your door, so you have breakfast sorted for the week ahead. Now you can also pick up a pot on your way to the office from your local Holland & Barrett store.
You are overfunding on Seedrs – congratulations! Can you talk us through what you plan to do with the money that you raise?
I was delighted to hit our fundraising raising in less than 72 hours and I’m excited to see how far we can take it in our final week!
Our first goal is to support our first nationwide launches into Holland & Barrett and Co-op, with more to come in 2024. By raising awareness, we can drive trial and support our rate of sale. Secondly, to complete our development of the UK’s first ‘just add milk’ overnight oat mixes – we aim to become the first ‘overnight oat’ branded range in the tired cereals category. Finally, to grow the team, so that we have key hires across Sales, Marketing, Operations and Finance.
I’ve built Oatsu from the ground up, and with my own history in the world of finance, I’m well-practised when it comes to squeezing the most out of a budget. The opportunity ahead is tremendously exciting.
Oatsu recently launched into Holland & Barrett and you’ve been chosen to be part of Co-op’s Apiary incubator programme – congratulations! Do you have any plans to get Oatsu on the shelves anywhere else or any other partnerships in the pipeline?
We’re delighted to have launched into our first nationwide retailer in recent weeks. Our overnight oats represent Holland & Barrett’s first fresh breakfast product as part of their roll-out of chilled foods across all stores.
Co-op also invited us to be part of their competitive Apiary programme for mission-driven food and drink brands. We’re 1 of 8 brands joining their second incubator cohort. I see Co-op as the perfect partner for Oatsu because of their focus on convenience and community, and they were also particularly keen to work with us due to our commitment to sustainability and our charity initiatives. At various points in the year, we donate a portion of our profits to The Girls’ Network, and we plan to donate surplus stock to Magic Breakfast, who help children start their day with a nutritious meal.
In addition, our crowdfund’s recent coverage in The Grocer has generated enquiries from other major grocers and quick commerce retailers. This clearly demonstrates the market’s appetite for better breakfast solutions, which Oatsu is perfectly placed to cater for.
If someone had never had overnight oats before, what Oatsu product would you give them to make sure they’re a sure-fire convert?
Our best-seller, Banana Biscuit, pairs breakfast staple, banana, with a small amount of caramelised biscuit spread. Our next top-seller, protein-rich Choc Peanut, is our protein-rich collaboration with Manilife peanut butter, which might be my favourite!
Our fruit flavours, Blueberry and Mango Passionfruit, have a delicious fruit compote base layer and are light, sweet and refreshing.
You’re launching a new range of ‘just add milk’ overnight oats soon – how exciting! What inspired this move and do you have any other plans to expand your product range?
Our customers requested a store-cupboard version that helped them prep perfect overnight oats at home, at the office or on-the-go. It contains all of the ingredients you need – oats, fruit, seeds – except the milk, which you add before soaking.
Our vibrant, eye-catching boxes and pots bring excitement and energy to the fixture, currently dominated by traditional porridge brands.
Where do you see Oatsu in 5 years?
By 2028, we aim to be a well-established healthy breakfast brand, and the UK’s leader in overnight oats.
We’ll have secured distribution for both our chilled ready-to-eat and ambient ‘just add milk’ ranges in all major supermarkets, convenience stores, coffee shop chains, offices, gyms and travel locations across the UK. I see Oatsu continuing to innovate within the breakfast space, bringing more healthy convenient products to market – watch this space!
Finally, I expect we will have established ourselves in a few key export markets by then – we’re looking at northern Europe and the Middle East first.
What have been the biggest learnings on your journey with Oatsu?
- Pick a category that’s in rapid growth, or in need of a fresh take.
- Take your community along your journey. Involve them in your decision making.
- You can do a lot – but not everything – on your own. Build your network, nurture those relationships, and take your time to hire well.
You can view Oatsu’s campaign here.