Miso Tasty is a modern brand of Japanese-inspired snacks & meal solutions. We have a growing range of tasty, wholesome products including miso soups and miso pastes, and an internationally acclaimed cookbook.
You can find us nationwide in Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Ocado, Wholefoods, Selfridges, and Harvey Nichols, as well as in offices like Google.
Our all-natural products provide a great solution for people hungry for tasty food that is also convenient and nutritious. They feature a key ingredient, miso; an ancient Japanese superfood crafted from fermented soybeans, and this provides the deep, natural flavours and nutrition in our products.
Miso Tasty was founded by chef Bonnie Chung who spent 3 years developing and learning the craft of miso, before the business was launched in 2014. Bonnie is now an award-winning entrepreneur and credible authority on Japanese cuisine. She continues to relish the challenge of leading the business of her dreams, with a team of leading specialists.
For all Seedrs investors, we have decided to offer a life-time 20% discount to our webshop.
The idea behind Miso Tasty was initially conceived by Bonnie 6 years ago. She loved cooking Japanese food, especially with miso, but realised that while interest in Japanese food was growing, it was rarely enjoyed outside of restaurants.
It became increasingly clear that while busy millennials were enjoying Japanese-inspired food at places like Wagamama, most found re-creating them at home a challenge. In the market, we found few products that helped the less confident cook Japanese food easily and many of the products we found also contained MSG additives.
Our first product was a range of instant miso soups with separate garnishes; all-natural, full of authentic flavours and easy to enjoy.
Miso Tasty’s mission is to provide authentic but accessible ways for consumers to discover and enjoy Japanese cuisine while also addressing their needs for convenience, flavour, and nutrition. All our products are designed to be easy-to-use, all-natural, and accessible.
Substantial accomplishments to date
We have invested 3 years into developing our products and finding the right partners to transform our recipes for retail. The journey took our team around the world before finally finding the right manufacturers in Japan, and launching in 2014.
Since then we have celebrated many milestones. Our ability to gain listings at major retailers has been a testament to the quality of our products and the trade support for our brand. First, we were listed at Selfridges, and then Harvey Nichols. Soon, our products were in Whole Foods and following this, we had listings in Sainsbury’s, Ocado, and Waitrose. In the last year, we have continued to launch new products to our existing customers.
Currently, we are gearing up to our next milestone in March 2017, to launch a range of Ramen Noodle Kits at 290 Waitrose stores.
Our PR is packed with positive articles and accolades. We have achieved a great deal of press featuring in The Sunday Times, Guardian, and Independent, as well as in foodie press like Jamie Oliver Magazine, which stated that our products were “superior" to most other brands in the UK.
Miso Tasty is no stranger to winning awards either; our founder Bonnie wrote a cookbook on miso and recently won the Award for Japanese Cuisine at 2017 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. Bonnie has also been recognised for her leadership at the trade awards held by The Grocer - she was the 2016 Finalist Entrepreneur of the Year.
We have been trading for 3 years and intend to continue to generate revenue through supplying major retail customers like Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, and Ocado. This gives us a core base business of reliable payers. We also sell our products directly to customers through our website and at trade shows.
We are looking forward to launching into the rapidly growing market of meal kit solutions, with our range of Ramen Noodle Kits. We have a confirmed listing in an estimated 290 Waitrose stores in March 2017.
On the horizon, we see great opportunities to expand our range through product extensions, brand partnerships, and to export our products internationally.
Our manufacturing is outsourced to a small network of carefully selected partners who make our quality products at competitive prices. As we grow our volumes to meet demand, we expect that economies of scale will allow us to improve our overall margins too.
Use of proceeds
This investment will primarily meet the working capital requirement for launching our new Ramen Noodle Kits into a confirmed listing of 290 Waitrose stores and support the roll out to other major retailers. Our noodle range increases our capital requirements due to the larger stock holding required to supply a more mainstream category. We intend to invest in our supply chain to ensure that we remain a reliable supplier to our growing number of customers.
We intend to continue investing in brand-building activities such as consumer trade shows, PR, events, social media, and in-store marketing to ensure that we are supporting our growing range of products with increased brand awareness. Funding routine promotional offers at each of our retailers is also key to driving trial of our products to new consumers.
As our business gathers momentum, we will invest in incentivising our current team as well as hiring resources to properly support our growth plans.
Please note that the company has issued a different class of shares, B shares, to a founder of the business with a subscription price of £461,200 in total. The B Shares have a preference equal to the £461,200 initial subscription price, which will be paid out in preference to the return of any proceeds to ordinary shareholders on exit, winding up or liquidation. The B Shareholder also has a right to require the company to repurchase the B Shares after 5 years. The B Shares do not otherwise participate in the equity, they operate like a shareholder loan that is subordinate to creditors of the company.
Our target market are busy millennials looking for meal and snack solutions that are convenient without compromising on taste or nutrition. They are excited to try new flavours and have experienced Japanese-inspired dishes before, perhaps in a restaurant like Wagamama or Yo Sushi. “Japanese food is exciting consumers as there is much to discover and the market is still unsaturated.” With 44% of British people enjoying Japanese noodles or sushi regularly (Wing Yip, 2016), we believe that those driving this trend are core to our target market.
As international travel to East Asia continues to rise (it rose by 53% in the decade to 2013) our target market are seeking out new flavours that are authentic. Trends in Indian and Mexican meal kits - such as the ‘Spice Tailor’ and Old el Paso brands - have demonstrated what we see to be a growing demand for authentic but accessible food products that help consumers enjoy and re-create dishes they have tried at quality restaurants. “Shoppers are paying more for shortcuts to authenticity...smaller premium brands have gained share.” (The Grocer, 2016).
Internationally, we see great longer term potential for our products to appeal to regions with this busy, millennial demographic. We have begun conversations with distributors in key areas where we believe our target consumers reside, such as Australia. Our Miso Tasty cookbook is already being distributed in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Europe, and will be launching soon in the US. We believe that this serves as a great indicator for the potential demand internationally for our Miso Tasty brand and range of Japanese-inspired products.
Characteristics of target market
The Japanese food market that Miso Tasty operates in is now the fastest growing in EMEA (Euromonitor, 2014). Furthermore, 4/5 people who eat Japanese food are living outside London so it is becoming less niche too (Wing Yip, 2016).
Our upcoming ramen noodles meal kits take Miso Tasty into the broader consumption opportunity of what we see as a much bigger and established market. The value of the UK noodle market is worth £35.2 million. We offer an on-trend, nutritious, and convenient product to consumers who want to cook a meal or snack and want Japanese authenticity.
As we extend our range of meal kits to other Japanese-inspired dishes, we will be entering a fast-growing category of Meal Kit Solutions valued at £702million globally (Technomic, 2015) and expected to increase to $5bn over the next 10 years.
Miso Tasty is committed to a range of activities that highlight our products on-shelf as well as grow our wider brand awareness.
IN-STORE: We believe regular on-shelf theatre is key to gaining new customers through trial and keeping them engaged with our products. We do this through planned promotional offers, on-shelf barkers, in-store tastings, and new packaging. We look to support our customers further with point-of-sale materials like recipe cards and tailored marketing campaigns working with the retailers.
PR: With Bonnie’s positioning as an authority in Japanese cooking and miso, we actively attract press attention by providing on-trend quality content on these topics.
WEB: Our website is the public face of the brand and our online store is an easy way for anyone to access our products directly. With over 2,000 registered online customers, we look to leverage this source of data to target our marketing and sales to this loyal group more effectively. We blog to educate on miso and Japanese food, and share news stories here too.
SOCIAL MEDIA: We use our social media platforms to share recipe ideas, behind-the-scenes content, run competitions and offers, announce new products, and ultimately to drive traffic back to the website and grow our sales. Our experience suggests that we continue to grow our audience by engaging more actively on these channels.
SAMPLING: This is key to appreciating the unique flavours and quality of our product range. We regularly sponsor goodie bags, run consumer trade shows and in-store tastings to share samples to our target market. We have a bespoke pop-up Japanese breakfast bar to drive brand awareness and trial of new ranges. We trialled this at Selfridges Food Hall last year.
CONCEPT STORE: We are looking to secure a location in 2017 in King's Cross. This site could provide a tremendous advertising and experiential opportunity for consumers to interact with Miso Tasty in a bespoke environment.
We believe that Miso Tasty’s positioning is unique in the UK; making Japanese snacks and meal solutions featuring a proprietary miso. We believe it is this specialism that sets us apart from other Japanese food brands such as Clearspring, Yutaka, and Itsu, even though they operate in a similar space.
Our specialism allows us to focus on creating truly different, better products on the market: our miso soups are still the only ones to our knowledge in the market that come with a separate pack of garnishes; it ensures that our proprietary miso soup paste delivers maximum fresh flavour and a more complete and authentic experience. Lulu Grimes, of Olive Magazine, declared that they “knocked the socks off other packs of miso soup”.
As we launch our new range of Ramen Noodle Kits, our competitive strategy becomes sharper. This range aims to tap into a large existing market for noodles, and upgrade the noodle meal at home from the greasy, unimaginative stir-fry noodles dominated by Blue Dragon, Sharwoods, and supermarket brand noodles to the on-trend, healthier, and more versatile Ramen Noodle soups, typical of the noodles enjoyed at Ramen bars and Wagamama’s across the country. While other noodles in the market have been developed for the stir-fry meal, the texture of Miso Tasty’s non-fried noodles have been selected to pair perfectly with our signature miso soup.
We believe that the millennial market will be excited by our new range of 6-minute ramen noodle bases that can be customised with toppings they already have. We hope that our noodle base, with nourishing miso soup, will be the future of healthier, tastier noodle meals at home.