Thirty-six-year-old Juhi Dang had to resort to his own dairy alternative at home last year after getting fed up with the poor options sold in supermarkets. From a young age, from lactose intolerance, he has opted for dairy-free options.
“There are many brands, but they all have one thing in common: they are all low in nutrients and are stabilizing. They contain 95-98 percent water, are bound with additives and have a bad taste or no taste.” , said Juhi, founder and CEO of the alternative brand lacti mohjo.
Juhi also noted that dairy alternatives are far from clean and do not provide the nutrition people need.
Disgusted by the lack of good options in the market, the former consumer products and innovation manager of a global company decided to conduct more research to get answers. He then discovered the lucrative US $ 23 billion alternative dairy industry.
Juhi also discovered another fact that forced her to dive in to start an alternative milk business: that was it. three out of four Singaporeans they are lactose intolerant.
Mohjo was created in January of this year and is moving fast to this day, it looks like his decision was a good one. In the few weeks since its online launch in July, the business has caught the attention of notable venture capitalists.
Last month, Mohjo got one amount not disclosed in a seed round led by East Ventures. K3 Ventures, iSeed, Southeast Asia, and several angel investors also participated in the round, indicating the potential of a business aimed at a multimillion-dollar market.
The business has become a small team of five people in just eight months and Juhi is currently looking for talented people to join and grow the business.
He developed his own recipe from home
It all started late last year when Juhi decided to develop her own non-dairy milk at home and experimented with creating her own recipe.
“I worked on product research and development at Mohjo late last year before forming the company. We launched in mid-July 2021 as a delivery-only service. “
Juhi wanted to create a product that was better than the dairy-free options on the market. “Most commercially available vegetable milks contain two to five percent nuts such as almonds, and the rest are water and additives. If you think about it for a minute, it’s just four almonds in a glass of drink! ”
These options are full of thickeners that “have absolutely no nutritional value,” Juhi said. Some even contain artificial sweeteners and flavor enhancers.
Armed with a recipe and research to bridge the gap in plant-based nutritious dairy alternatives on the market, Juhi founded Mohjo in January this year.
During the first half of 2021, Juhi worked on creating an SFA-approved facility, creating a website, licensing and purchasing equipment. The company’s online e-commerce site was launched in July.
Dairy alternatives market for billions of dollars
The vegan cited data from research firm Grand View Research, noting that the global market for dairy alternatives is valued at US $ 23 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach US $ 53 billion by 2028.
The dairy alternatives market will expand to 12.5% annually by 2028 and Asia and the Pacific dominate the 44% share. Research showed that increasing demand for plant alternatives and changing the diets of consumers using milk alternatives are driving demand for dairy alternatives.
“It was evident from my research that there is a great need for clean label products not only in the plant food space, but in the food industry in general,” the founder said.
Juhi stated this about 75% of Singaporeans they are lactose intolerant and Asians in general are more prone to lactose intolerance.
“The dairy alternatives market is booming not only because of increased lactose intolerance, but also because of the growing concentration on healthier decisions made by consumers, the growing number of flexitarians and ethical and environmental concerns related to the consumption of dairy products “.
He also noted that the pandemic has really changed people’s mindset about their health from reactive to proactive.
“Consumers are aware and concerned about what is going on and within their body; has raised awareness about the benefits of good living habits. Consumers want to consume products free of additives and made from whole clean ingredients.
Almonds are the “mohjo”
Juhi uses 10 times more almonds to create mohjo milk alternatives, compared to brands.
“Mohjo almond milk is extremely nutritious as the nutrition comes from the almonds. A portion of our sugar-free almond milk has as much protein as an egg, ”he said.
There are currently three versions of mohjo dairy-free drinks: sugar-free almond milk, sweetened almond milk, and pure cocoa almond milk.
The sweetened version does not contain artificial sugars, but is sweetened with Iranian dates. Other ingredients in a bottle of mohjo include Himalayan salt and filtered water.
Juhi swears not to use any additives, emulsifiers or refined sugar to make the products.
According to Juhi, the Cocoa option is a hit for both children and adults.
Almonds are a great source of plant nutrition. Almond milk is free of cholesterol and lactose. Mohjo contains 25 percent almonds, compared to two to three percent of brands, and therefore mohjo almond milk is low in carbohydrates, high in protein, and contains healthy monounsaturated fats for color.
Juhi Dang, founder and CEO of mohjo
One drawback of the drinks, however, is that they are not suitable for someone allergic to almonds.
Unsweetened mohjo is a milk substitute while cooking and cooking, while the sweetened version can be used for breakfast with cereal.
But the drinks do not contain preservatives, so the drinks can only be kept refrigerated for four to six days.
“We do it here in Singapore, every day, bright and early at the facilities approved by our Singapore Food Authority,” Juhi said.
Funding for the seeds was raised in August, and it raises eyes
Last month, Mohjo got one amount not disclosed in a seed round led by East Ventures. Participants in the funding round are K3 Ventures, iSeed Southeast Asia and some angel investors.
The investment will be used to increase capacity, launch more products, strengthen equipment and increase market penetration.
Mohjo is working to launch a pickup option very soon followed by his retail foray. “The plan now is to keep our heads down and grow in Singapore before going out to other markets.”
“We have received amazing responses from our products, there are many repeat customers and word of mouth. We look forward to continuing to meet the needs of our customers and create the products they want,” Juhi said.
“Almond milk and almond milk drinks are our first line of products. Our products are manufactured in Singapore in a company-owned facility with high quality ingredients and do not contain stabilizers or any other chemical ingredients, ”said Juhi.
The startup plans to expand its product line and offer other dairy alternatives in the short term. But he also stressed that it was “100% clean and additive-free” for all future product launches.
“We made curry, panellets and delicious bread with unsweetened mohjo. Recently, someone shared a fantastic recipe for carbonara pasta with a sugar-free mohjo. So feel free to experiment. “
Featured Image Credit: mohjo