In this Q&A, you’ll hear from Patrick Schwarzenegger, co-founder and CEO of MOSH, maker of protein bars designed to support brain health. Patrick shares how a family connection to cognitive health led him and his mother, Maria Shriver, to explore the relationship between proper nutrition and proactive brain care.
Can you tell us about what you’re working on at MOSH?
Patrick Schwarzenegger: MOSH is a mission-driven brain health and wellness company. We’re focused on elevating the conversation around brain health and proactively caring for your mind through our nutritious, flavorful protein bars.
But, I think it’s important to note we are not building just a protein bar company. We trademarked The Brain Brand with the hopes of one day having a slew of product lines that support brain health, like supplements, powders, and more alongside the bars.
MOSH is one of the few companies tackling brain health in a consumer-driven way.
How did you come up with the idea? What key insight led you to pursue this opportunity?
PS: My mom, Maria Shriver, is a protein bar fanatic — so much so that she tried to give them up for Lent a couple of years ago! She came up with the idea for MOSH because she was having trouble finding a protein bar that was targeting her age group, that wasn’t loaded with sugar, and also had ingredients that could support the brain and body. It didn’t exist.
She wanted the benefits of the daily supplements she was taking for brain health combined with something that genuinely tasted good, and it needed to be packed with enough protein, as she’s constantly on the go and traveling for work.
However, the inspiration goes back much further, as MOSH has really been 20 years in the making. My grandfather (my mom’s father) Sargent Shriver was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2003. Our hope is to help save other families from enduring the same experience of seeing a family member’s mind slowly slip away.
We know firsthand the impact that nutrition and lifestyle choices can have on your brain health through my mom’s work with her nonprofit, The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement. This incredible organization is dedicated to advancing brain research and raising awareness of women’s increased risk for Alzheimer’s.
Two-thirds of Alzheimer’s patients are female. And, while more than six million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, funding for women’s research trails shockingly far behind. We’re proud to do our part and donate a portion of all proceeds to the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement, along with continuing to raise awareness around brain health.
How did you turn your idea into a company?
PS: My mom pitched this vision to bigger companies for several years, and they kept passing on it. Finally, I was able to convince her to take a chance and bet on herself with me as her partner.
I was able to bring my CPG knowledge as an active investor in/advisor to numerous brands in the space including Liquid I.V., Blaze Pizza, Super Coffee, OLIPOP, MUD\WTR, and more.
A major milestone moment for me was MOSH selling out in the first 48 hours of launching—in the midst of COVID, no less—as it proved that there was a huge appetite for what we were doing. And also that my mom was right.
We started producing the smallest batch of bars possible as we navigated ingredient supply issues, and still, the demand was overwhelming. We learned so much in the first few months of MOSH, and it proved to us that we were onto something.
How big can this get? What’s the addressable market and how do you go about capturing it?
PS: The market for brain health products is $6.2B and is expected to explode, a lot like how the gut health category recently transformed into a $32.7B category.
Brain health and cognitive function are the third fastest-growing category of interest when it comes to consumer packaged goods, so we see a ton of potential within the marketplace for MOSH to succeed.
As we continue to grow, we’re working to become the breakthrough brain brand with a range of great-tasting and nutrient-rich products that support brain and body health.
We are attracting a community of brain health warriors and empowering people of all ages to be proactive and care for their brains.
Who is the core customer? How are you acquiring customers? And how will you grow the customer base?
PS: Our core customer at MOSH is what we identify as “proactive preventers,” who want to stay in control of their health between the ages of 30–50 years old. They typically are in urban cities and are working full-time, so they prioritize convenience and are looking for great-tasting healthy snacks.
Customers are no longer satisfied with just what tastes good or has nutritional value. They’re demanding they get something more from their food and beverages, which is why we’re always looking for creative and thoughtful ways to spread the word about the MOSH lifestyle.
We’re acquiring customers by meeting them where they are and where they want to be, such as strategically expanding with retailers and building out distribution channels. MOSH is currently on Amazon, in the premium natural grocery chain Erewhon in LA, and is available directly on our website.
An insight we’ve uncovered is that our core consumers tend to be mostly influenced by friends and expert influencers in the health and wellness space, so we’ve made sure to prioritize working with content creators large and small, as well as brain health experts through our incredible network.
Ultimately, we really utilize the mother-son relationship, too. Our customers love to watch us interact together, and a lot of our original customers came from our individual followers.
Looking at your road map, what are some of the milestones you’re targeting over the next 3-6 months?
PS: We’re really excited to launch a second line of MOSH bars that caters to a different wellness community this fall!
We’re also excited to keep innovating new flavors and expanding our MOSH customer base, along with expanding into some dream ecommerce-driven retail partnerships.
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