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    Pregnant Women Present New Opportunities for Supermarkets

    New start-up focuses on market segment

    In light of the reality that 75-80 percent of women change their diets when they find out they are pregnant, a new start-up, Barley + Oats has focused its efforts on this market by developing meal kits that are designed to meet these women’s nutritional needs.  

    Says founder Ashly Yashchin: “There is so much information out there now about how what you eat could affect your baby, and everyone is giving you advice about what you should and shouldn’t eat, so the pressure is really on.” She found through interviews with moms that there is a lot of anxiety, and a desire for an easy solution – which she hopes to provide with Barley + Oats meals. 

    Her marketing plan is to focus on influencers and specific targeting on Facebook. 

    The challenge is creating a business that has customers, hopefully for 12 weeks. Then what?

    According to the US Censes Bureau during 2016, the U.S. will experience one birth every eight seconds – that translates to 3.9 million births. Using simple math that means having a bit over 380 thousand new moms every 12 weeks if they can attract all of them, which is doubtful. And then the question, will a mom just buy a meal kit for her and what will the rest of the family eat? And then there is the issue of cost: $300 for 15 meals/week, $250 for 10, $125 for five.    

    So, does Barley + Oats follow the path of vitamin companies and others that become more of a meal kit for multiple stages of life? During pregnancy and breastfeeding, onto losing baby weight, then higher energy to keep up with the kids, etc? 

    Their plan, they say, is to “stay with them through pregnancy and the first two years and then our ultimate goal is to create a broader business that supports healthy families, so we want to expand into early childhood, baby food, snacks and healthy school snacks and lunches.”

    Barley + Oats is actually a very clever idea, but in my opinion not for a meal kit business, but rather as a fresh offering in the prepared foods and grocerant departments in every supermarket in the country. 

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