Malin Bruset: Went from writing about child food to doing it herself

This is GroGro 

Serving your child food that you would never eat yourself. It just feels very wrong – right?

When I had my first child, I was surprised to see how insecure both I and other mothers around me felt, especially when it came to food.

I thought what we all were lacking was a bit of knowledge and a whole lot of support. I wanted to contribute to parents feeling more secure and making more informed choices about food for their child. This inspired me to write “Den lille barnematbibelen” (The Little Food Bible) and it was published in Norway 2016. It sold quite poorly which was disappointing. But the bigger picture was that my message was not reaching far enough. So, I took a step back and went back to school to study nutrition. From here I began to hold live and online courses for parents to teach them how to cook food for babies.

After a few months, there was one question which kept coming up: what can you recommend from the store when we aren’t able to cook our own baby food? I did a deep dive into the production of baby food and the food industry and understood quite quickly that although it looks good with organic ingredients, it was nothing I could recommend. Many products mostly consist of concentrates and fruit purees, and they are prepared through high heat treatment – several times – to get a long shelf life in room temperature.  Traditionally, baby food undergoes a sterilization that is 4 times stronger than canned tomatoes.

I thought to myself – how difficult can it be to make really good, ready and naturally nutritious food for kids?

It worked out, but it took me 2.5 years because no producer in Europe made baby food the way I wanted.

We launched in Norway in November 2020 with an online retailer (oda.com). In February 2021 we entered the first retailer chain, also in Norway. Today, a bit over 3 years later, our products are sold in 1 600 stores in Norway and 500 stores in Sweden. We have revenue growth of 300% each year for the past 3 years.

Our first product range was fresh and cold-pressed porridge, smoothies, and meals. Fresh means a product which requires refrigeration. As you can guess, this introduces challenges and complexity and a category which typically offers room temperature products. One way to solve this is by installing fridges into the baby food aisle. And today we have around 90 stores in Norway and 10 in Sweden with this solution. All of our other stores place our products in the dairy section.

My goal has always been to make baby food as similar to homemade as possible.

For me, home-cooked food from good ingredients is the golden standard. Food must taste good and be made from high quality, organic ingredients which contribute to natural nutrition. To make this, you also need to take good care of the ingredients throughout production. Small children have little space in their stomachs and therefore there is no room for nutrient-poor and tasteless food.

In GroGro, we never add synthetic vitamins and minerals. We rather choose raw materials that are naturally nutritious and then we process them gently so that the nutrition remains. The advantage of this is a result which tastes good, with natural fibres and lovely colours. Today, we are the only company in Europe which uses whole bites of organic ingredients and then mixes them together with the cold pressed technology (HPP).

Our next product range was Råwbars. The advantages of these are that they can be stored in room temperature. They are a dry product, just like when you are making your own date balls. All three flavours are made from tasty and nutritious ingredients.

Our growth is based on several different factors, but I know that the biggest of them all is how we have been working super close with our customers from day one. They have been part of our journey with making decisions. They have seen our ups and downs and share our values. The result is a partnership with an incredibly dedicated customer group. Just to prove this point, they extend as our sales team and have sold us into multiple stores.

Our passion in GroGro is to be able to contribute to more children getting better food for optimal development so that they can grow up and become the best version of themselves. To make this a reality, we also help parents with knowledge, tips and motivation.

To change such a conservative industry is not easy alone, so we hope to inspire more passionate entrepreneurs and companies to enter the “delicious and nutritious food for kids” category, together with us.

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