The brand is going through a renaissance this year, having just relaunched two months ago. Since its TwinLab-backed launch in 2013, new product development and brand expansion at Mommi has been dormant.
The veteran dietary supplement company supported Mommi as an equity partner when it first launched and did development and formulation for Mommi. The brand grew, to the point where it was available in around 1,200 stores, including major retailers like Vitamin Shoppe and Sprouts.
“Then we found out that TwinLab was going under, and the entire team we launched with was gone,” Schurtz told NutraIngredients-USA. “That was at the point when we were really starting to grow, and that was a setback that we definitely learned from.”
Though TwinLab has risen from the ashes and recapitalized since then, Mommi is starting fresh by going down its own path. “We were able to receive a grant from the State of Utah that we are now able to relaunch with so we could get to the next point,” Schurtz added.
Protein safe for pregnant women, with an added bonus of prenatal nutrients
Mommi began when Schurtz was pregnant with her first child. She wanted to meet the daily nutrition requirements recommended for expecting mothers, but with an aversion to meat during her pregnancy, she looked to protein powders and bars.
“Every single protein that I looked at had a warning label against taking it while pregnant or nursing,” she said. She consulted with her OB-GYN and author friend, Los Angeles-based Yvonne Bohn, who collaborated with Schurtz to approach nutraceutical companies and get to the bottom of these warnings.
“We found that it was about trace levels of heavy metals often found in protein powders,” Schurtz. “They probably won’t do any harm, but of course you want to be careful, so companies would put a warning label on.”
This got Schurtz’ entrepreneurial juices flowing. With Bohn, the two started developing a whey protein brand that goes through extra testing for mineral traces, and even include nutritional ingredients recommended for prenatal health.
The final formulation included multivitamins (several B-vitamins, as well as folic acid and biotin), DHA, and 15 g of protein per serving.
Back to brick-and-mortar
Since the partnership with TwinLab ceased due to the company’s new operating structure, Mommi had to pull back from its brick-and-mortar distribution, but remained for sale online through Amazon and its own website.
The brand then went through an incubation period for a year, finding a new partner. Schurtz said that some of the retailers that carried Mommi’s product, such as Vitamin Shoppe, wanted to bring the products back “but we didn’t have any product to give.”
Now that Mommi is back on its feet, equipped with a new formulator and manufacturer, it is ready to hit the brick-and-mortar channel again. “Reviews are coming up this fall, so we will hopefully be back in right away,” she added.
Breastfeeding support, post-partum health, and DHA candies
Looking ahead, Schurtz and Bohn are keen to expand Mommi’s product portfolio. “When we started, it was about getting a pregnancy-safe protein, and then we just added the prenatal so it’s a full supplement for pregnant women.”
“Yvonne, from the medical side, has so many things she would like to launch. So our next version will be a breastfeeding version, to help support milk supply for women that would like to breast feed.
“We’re also working on a post-partum shake, to help women who are done with breastfeeding and want to cut calories and get back into shape
“And then we are working on a DHA—either fish oil or algae—we’re working on an alternative way to take that,” Schurtz added, addressing pill aversion. “We’re developing a chew, almost like a starburst, that completely masks the taste of fish oil.”
But for now, the team’s focus is pushing the protein powder. “It’s the backbone of the company, and there’s a lot of potential with that moving forward.”