Grainful started with an idea of extending oats beyond breakfast to lunch, dinner and ultimately all eating occasions throughout the day, said the company’s president, Jan Pajerski.
“One night Jeannine (Pajerski’s partner) used steel-cut oats [pinhead oats] in place of rice to make Jambalaya at home for a dinner party. The dish was very well received. As I was eating, I looked at her and we had a collective "aha" moment. Oats are a grain, they cook like rice, so why not treat them like rice and make them for dinner?” he said.
In addition, oats are in line with market trends, such as gluten-free, non-GMO, 100% whole grain and addresses specific consumer nutritional needs (high fiber, plant-based protein, heart-healthy, low-glycemic index, etc.) in a way that differentiates it from all competition in the lunch and dinner categories, Pajerski added.
No fields of oat flakes in the prairies
Pajerski told BakeryandSnacks that the most common misconceptions - that oats grow as flakes and are just a breakfast food - are caused by “the amazing brand Quaker has built over the past over 100 years.
“In actuality, there are no fields of oat flakes in the prairies, but oats are grains, similar looking to rice when harvested, except it's a golden brown color,” he said. “Once you stop associating oats with flakes, it's much easier to see them as a great savory lunch and dinner option, which is very similar to risotto in mouthfeel and consistency.”
Currently, over 70% of oats worldwide is used as animal feed, Pajerski said, and the oats market is ripe for disruption.
“By extending oats beyond breakfast, into rice, pasta, quinoa and potato segments, the oat market for human consumption can grow by multiples,” he said.
Maintain 400% growth rate through 2018
Since the business launch in 2014, Grainful has secured distribution at key retailers throughout the US and has also developed new SKUs in its existing product lines. These will be hitting shelves in the next quarter, according to the company.
“We have some product concepts in the final stages of market validation, but the timing of those launches is yet to be determined,” Pajerski added.
Grainful’s revenues increase by 400% year-over-year and it is hoping to maintain this growth rate through 2018.