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Customized Granola

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Andreas (from Germany), Matt (Alabama) and Raoul (New York) started up MixMyGranola from a Miami warehouse not quite four months ago. The idea is simple: A website where you can custom-make your own granola mix with a few clicks and then have it shipped to your home.

Andreas explains that the notion of selling personalized cereals online is “already a proven business in Europe”, although with a different cereal. “We don’t have much granola over there -- we’re muesli-eaters.” Still, the concept is the same, and the partners got things together pretty quickly -- although some things not so quickly.

“It took us a long time to find the right container” says Matt, who along with Andreas showed me around their new packing-and-shipping quarters. “It’s different. It stands out. The labeling is soy-based ink, and they’re 100% recyclable.” On the back of the each container is a list of ingredients, nutrition facts, and a signature of the person who prepared the blend. “We want to keep it personal.”

The partners noticed how people at the granola section at Whole Foods Market would choose a granola, then buy nuts, and then dried fruits, and so on. “There are so many different granola bins, but no way to customize it”, says Andreas. They saw their opening.

Kellogg’s took a stab at something similar in 2001. “They were trying to mix things like Captain Crunch with their Honey Smacks,” says Matt. “I don’t think they were able to get their pricing down. It really didn’t work out.”

Here’s how MixMyGranola works: The website has photos of each ingredient and is exceedingly user-friendly. Choose either organic granola or French vanilla granola, which will come to 16 ounces. Then select from 48 natural and organic ingredients -- dried blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, goji berries, almonds, raisins, coconut flakes, hemp seeds, wasabi peas, gummy bears, and so forth. As you add ingredients in 1 oz. servings, the granola base gets adjusted so it stays consistent at 16 ounces. A nutritional chart of the ingredients is likewise updated with each addition, as is the price. Before clicking out your order, give your unique blend a clever name so that it can easily be reordered. Matt named my sample concoction “Lee’s Funky Mix”; in retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have combined candy corn with wasabi peas.

“It’s not like everyone is picking that,” Andreas said of such add-ins. “They’re more like novelty items.”

-- Lee Klein

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