MIA is a premium and ethical specialty food company with a pioneering and disruptive brand promise: 'amazing food that does good'. MIA: Made In Africa.
Delicious MIA cocoa is grown in the forests of northwest Madagascar by independent farmers who sell the cocoa directly to the chocolate maker for the production of MIA. Instead of exporting the ingredients from Africa, MIA crafts amazing food products in partnership with local communities, going beyond fairly traded raw materials to create fairly made finished products. Defying an industry that sees over 70% of cocoa grown in Africa but less than 1% of value-added chocolate made there, MIA chocolate is crafted in Madagascar to bring local communities three times more benefit than the export of cocoa alone.
While the social business model fulfils the brand promise to 'do good', skilled cultivation and craftsmanship deliver 'amazing food'. The result is a unique brand with a higher purpose that unites farmers and food artisans in Africa with consumers internationally.
MIA has a simple purpose: 'amazing food that does good'. Our vision is to lead the way in the next generation of fair trade. We will put Africa, its farmers and artisans on the map as producers of delicious foods that support them and their families. And these same products will awe consumers with stunning flavours unique to the terroir of the ingredients.
MIA was created against a startling backdrop. The 47 countries of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are especially poor; the combined GDP of 46 of the SSA countries is roughly equal to that of The Netherlands. Despite representing 12% of the world’s population, the SSA region accounts for less than 2% of world trade and many communities are dependent on aid for survival. MIA is out to change this!
Making products in Africa does not just create jobs. It can create sustainable jobs and contribute to skilled labour, all the while changing consumer perceptions of Africa from a raw material supplier to a producer of premium finished products.
Substantial accomplishments to date
Business highlights through the first quarter of trading include raising £120,000 in cash investments, securing trademarks in Europe and the USA, development of a bold brand platform and the cultivation of a strong network of partners from production to marketing.
Since the brand launch November 2017, MIA has acquired:
- Sales of £30,000.
- Four new distributors, including a shipment to Australia.
- Two food broker partners covering the UK and continental Europe.
We have also received customer purchase orders for £50,000 of MIA product deliverable Q2-3 2018, including a chocolate gift box deal with Nature et Découvertes, a chain of 89 lifestyle stores located in France, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland.
MIA is building on its six-strong range of 75g chocolate bars with six new products in the pipeline for Q2-4 2018:
- Hemp & Almond: A new 75g chocolate flavour that is planned for Q2 2018.
- Own Label: Three new own label flavours that are planned to launch Q2 2018.
- Chocolate Gift Box: A 5-bar gift box that is planned for Q3 2018.
- Baobab & Salted Nibs: A new 75g chocolate flavour that is scheduled for Q4 2018.
MIA's launch press campaign has attracted traditional press coverage and engaged lifestyle bloggers, exposing the brand to a combined circulation/ following of over 500,000:
- Trade Press: 10 trade press publications featured MIA 20 times.
- Bloggers: UK lifestyle bloggers with an average following of 24,000+ have created around 30 unique MIA pieces.
MIA is an FMCG food brand that reaches the retail market by selling wholesale to importers/ distributors who in turn sell to specialty stores and upscale grocers. MIA also sells pallet volumes, and plans to offer this direct to larger retailers, corporate accounts, and select department stores via food brokers.
The average MIA sales transaction is over £2,000, often by the pallet. Our wholesale customers typically order quarterly.
While sales transactions are between MIA and our distribution partners, we implement a marketing support program in order to create product demand among retailers and consumers. We create product demand through the following activities:
- Press campaigns.
- Engaged social media strategy.
- Active blogger programme.
- Consumer product tasting events.
- Retailer staff training.
- Event sponsorship.
- Cause-marketing campaigns.
Our strategy is to balance the push of MIA products into distribution with the pull we create through marketing support, creating strong and steady growth.
Use of proceeds
The MIA fundraise is planned to be paired with revenue from operations to aggressively develop our product range and the distribution network in 2018-19. The proceeds should allow us to double our product offering and implement a strong marketing support program of social media, press campaigns and strategic events.
The breakdown for the use of proceeds is as follows:
- 5% for Chocolate Making Equipment: Customised equipment to improve flow packaging of MIA 75g bars.
- 17% for New Product Development: Market research, design, travel and printing of 3-bar seasonal bundle, Baobab & Salted Nibs bar, and baking chocolate line.
- 23% for Marketing Programme: Trade show stand design, and trade show attendance.
- 23% for Personnel: Salaries and similar.
- 32% for Inventory Purchases: Increase finished chocolate inventory.
YOUR WEIGHT IN CHOCOLATE
- Investment Level: N/A, all investors qualify
- Reward: Entry into a prize draw to win your weight in chocolate, which would be approximately 1,000 bars for someone weighing around 12 stone (75 kg).
Please note, SEIS relief may be lost as a result of this reward. Any investor which would rather maintain SEIS relief may turn down this prize and the ballot will be run again (with this process repeating if the newly selected winner would rather maintain SEIS relief).
MIA CHOCOLATE GIFT BOX
- Investment Level: Minimum of £500
- Reward: Entry into the above prize draw and a limited-edition box of MIA chocolate bars (5 x 75g).
- Investment Level: Minimum of £1,000
- Reward: All of the above and your name will stand for eternity, carved into a handmade brick in Madagascar that will be incorporated into one of MIA’s 1 for Change development projects.
Above rewards are subject to delivery to a UK address and other company terms and conditions, available on request.
Please note that any discounts, rewards and/or offers listed by a company in its campaign are subject to the terms and conditions applied by that company and listed above. It is the company’s responsibility to honour such discounts, rewards and/or offers and Seedrs does not take any responsibility for them.
We feel that MIA competes in the premium segment of the FMCG specialty food market. We believe we have a unique brand positioning that combines amazing flavour with ethical production, which allows MIA to compete with both high-quality artisan products and fair trade offers.
As quality is our first brand proposition, our packaging is designed to reflect the premium taste of our products and meet the expectations of flavour-driven consumers (foodies). Our target foodie consumer is divided into sub-groups:
> Adult Female Foodies: Women do the bulk of family shopping and our premium price is generally more accessible to people with an expendable income. Women 25-40 years are the primary target audience.
Others consumer groups important for brand development are:
> Milennials generally characterised as civically oriented, conscious capitalists who consider themselves global citizens.
> Chocoholics passionate about unique, high-quality chocolate.
> Ethical consumers who seek to make a positive change with their purchase.
Characteristics of target market
The UK is our primary market, followed by Continental Europe and the USA. Our target markets have the most consumer wealth, making them ideal for a speciality food brand. The US and the UK alone account for around 40% of global wealth.
The US and Europe are among the world’s highest chocolate consumers. According to Euromoniter, these areas account for nine of the top ten chocolate consumers globally and Mintel projects the UK confectionery chocolate market alone to grow to £4.7BN in 2021.
MIA reaches consumers via retailers. We divide retailers into three groups for the purposes of brand development:
- VIP retailers give the brand a distinguished market presence that validates brand positioning and gives MIA exposure to consumers and larger retailers (ex: department stores, Whole Foods Market UK).
-Specialty shops attract flavour-driven shoppers who make up the core MIA target consumer (ex: chocolate shops).
- Multiples provide volumes and national presence (ex: Waitrose).
Our marketing strategy is designed to reach two key groups:
1) Wholesale Customers: Importers/ distributors and retailers.
2) Consumers: Customers who shop online and at retail.
We implement a marketing support programme that is aimed to create product awareness among importers/ distributors and product demand from retailers and consumers. This is done with a continuous marketing mix that features the following activities:
- Newsletters to our trade network.
- Press campaigns (aim of 3 per year).
- Engaged social media strategy (aim of 2 posts per week).
- Active blogger programme (miafoodie.com and outreach to lifestyle bloggers).
- Consumer product tasting events.
- Retailer staff training.
- Event sponsorship.
- Cause-marketing campaigns (around MIA 1 for Change projects).
We believe that our strategy balances the sales push into distribution with the pull we create through marketing support. We feel this balance should create strong and steady growth that minimises attrition and develops long-term relationships with retailers.
Long-term, MIA plans to build on chocolate to compete in multiple product categories such as honey, coffee, nut butters and more. There are established brands that ethically source ingredients in Africa but, unlike MIA, they make their products in Europe or the USA.
We've seen that in block chocolate, Europe is experiencing an artisan boom which we think is similar to the USA. No longer the exclusive domain of semi-premium products sold for £2.00-2.90 per bar, many brands sell at a premium price point of £3.00+.
We are confident that MIA sets itself apart from the competition on each key consumer touch point:
- Packaging: Square-ish non-traditional shape with premium finishes.
- Fine Flavour: Our cocoa is classified in the top 10% of global production.
- Single Origin: Crafted with cocoa beans from one region.
- MIA: <1% of the world's chocolate is made in Africa.
The boom in craft chocolate presents a huge opportunity. We believe our success rests on educating consumers about premium quality and the social benefits of producing in Africa.