Interview: Madaga

Ingrid Cayet (Founder of Madaga) about her business and the role Wessanen played  

2014 - a time where I was looking for inspiration and hints on how I could move my company from start up to scale up – I got in touch with Wessanen.  

We had 3 years of operations behind us and were still looking for the way forward. We had launched our brand and our product with a B2C focus but sales had developed  in the B2B market (day care, nurseries, hospitals). What do we need to build on this unexpected market opportunity? What did this mean for our strategy? How could we preserve our growth options in the B2C market for a later stage?
The question was how to go about this repositioning at such an early stage?    

Christophe Barnouin (CEO Wessanen) and Klaus Arntz (EVP Marketing & Sustainability) were a great help to sort it out.  

The first thing both identified was that our extremely innovative concept (product + story + distribution channel) can be a bit overwhelming. People were asking us: why do you need to do all this? Can’t you just sell it in the supermarket?  
But Christophe and Klaus saw tremendous growth potential in i) our market and ii) our brand story. This was a very important input for us because Wessanen is working on the same issues as we are: Sustainability, health, social responsibility and yet at the same time reach critical mass. They understand the dilemmas and from where they are, they can see which proposition stands a chance and what is going just too far. That also allows them to see very clearly which levers are available and what it will take to grow the proposition. With that at the back of their mind, Christophe and Klaus took the time to help me sort out the questions and focus on the most important ones.

Christophe as a seasoned organic food professional and CEO was able to help figure out what my top 3 priorities were in terms of focus, product and organisation. Very simple, very actionable and therefore very effective.
Klaus challenged our brand essence, helped us make our brand promise clear and accessible yet bringing in a lot of finesse. It’s a very important foundation: the company cannot grow properly without that. Once we were standing on solid ground, we looked together at how we could make the switch from direct sales to communication generated sales.  

What really impresses me is the rigor of Christophe and Klaus. When you are an early stage entrepreneur you deal most of the time with either the super enthusiastic people. IT feels good – and you need their recognition and energy – but they cannot help you challenge your own assumptions.  The other half are super sceptic people whose basic message is “don’t try, it will never work. The wheel has already been invented”.    

With Christophe and Klaus, I got the best of both worlds. They don’t take anything for granted, they have seen it all and have no complacency. On the other hand, they are genuinely interested and open to innovation because they stand behind what they do. They have a purpose.   
About Madaga
A carrot which tastes like a carrot, and looks like one too. Babies and toddlers explore food with all their senses. And our task, as we see it, is to help you make your little one fall in love with real food. Vegetable and fruit purees, meals, snacks, sandwich spreads for lunch and sauce for the pasta. Everything we prepare is freshly cooked in our kitchen. They take pure and natural ingredients and transform the whole into finger-licking recipes. Our dietician, makes sure that every recipe they come up with contains all the ingredients that your baby needs.