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MUMGRY founder Lillian Umurungi-Jung on launching her own snack company

If you’ve gone through (or are currently going through) the beautiful, messy, all-encompassing process of birthing a human being, you know how important nutrition is.

If you’ve gone through (or are currently going through) the beautiful, messy, all-encompassing process of birthing a human being, you know how important nutrition is. 

Lillian Umurungi-Jung, the founder of MUMGRY, knew this first hand when she was scouring the grocery aisles pre and post-partum making sure she was nourishing herself and her precious new addition to her family, “When I was pregnant with my son Apollo, grocery shopping proved to be quite the challenge as I soon discovered the lack of snacks that encapsulated the dietary restrictions and needs of women during pre-pregnancy, pregnancy and beyond,” Umurungi-Jung says.

With a lack of products on the market labelled specifically with ingredient information for expecting or new mommas, she would spend so much time trying to read between the often complicated lines on nutritional labels. “Faced with having to decipher nutritional labels as to whether or not they were good, bad, tasty, or rich in nutrients, took all the fun out of eating for two! At three weeks postpartum, I began ‘snack prepping’ to stay nourished and energized. After a few tasty experiments, MUMGRY was born and today it’s a celebrated inclusive snack for everyone.”

We had the opportunity to chat with Umurungi-Jung to learn more about how she took her business idea from the grocery aisle to the snacking empire it is today. 

Lillian Umurungi-Jung with a piece of toast topped with Mumgry and banana.
In your own words, what is MUMGRY all about?  

We are a plant-based snack food company that makes nutritious and delicious snacks using only the good stuff.  We are driven by our community and love creating interesting and educational content for MUMGRY enthusiasts to enjoy with their snack! We connect with our community through our MUMGRY Podcast, MUMGRY Shop Tour in partnership with Visa, MUMGRY Happiness Series with Harvard lecturer Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar and fun collaborations with brands and restaurants around the world.

You got your business up and running with a newborn baby. What was the hardest part about getting your business started? 

The work-life balance can be challenging but right into our first year, we were faced with uncertain times. The pivot to move our business to more of a virtual platform and away from our previous in-person events took a while to get used to but we are finding our new rhythm every day as the world turns and evolves. 

What about the easiest part? 

Connecting with our MUMGRY community and implementing initiatives derived out of necessity such as our MUMGRY Shop Tour and our MUMGRY Podcast.  Our growing community has been our continuous source of joy during difficult times. We are incredibly grateful to everyone that enjoys MUMGRY!

What advice do you have for mothers who want to start their own business in the food industry?  

If you have dreams to live a different lifestyle, start a business, expand your current one; all I can say is ‘just try it’. Most of the time you don’t know what you’re doing and expect several sessions of trial and error, but try it as hard as you can, for as long as possible and when you can’t try anymore that’s when you know it’s time to move on, change directions or take a pause. Use everything you’ve ever known, learned and gained. We are constantly learning, and you simply won’t know what you’re capable of until you try all the way. 

A jar of Mumgry nut butter with a spoon.
Talk to us about #MUMGRYMONDAY. 

#MUMGRYMONDAY, is an initiative that recognizes people doing incredible work in support of others in need. With the support of our community, we’ve been proud to give back to parents, grocers, and frontline healthcare professionals. We also support many organizations aimed at bettering the lives of mothers, women, and children.  We also often like to surprise people who we see making a difference.

You also host a podcast with your high-school bestie, Isabelle Alexander. What do you hope your listeners take away from your episodes?

Take in our food for thought, keep an open mind and enjoy the conversation!  Each episode is intentional which is why we don’t necessarily have a fixed schedule. If there’s something we feel compelled to address or bring an expert to translate—we have a new episode.

What has been the best surprise in how people have shown up for you or your business during this time? 
Three jars of mumgry nut butter

When we had to pivot our business to more of an e-commerce model, we were absolutely blown away by the tremendous amount of support we received from our community. Whenever they tag us with their MUMGRY experience, whether it’s an image of their breakfast, a recipe or the recent purchase, we are overwhelmed with so much gratitude for their support. The community that enjoys MUMGRY is what brings out the best work in us. We get the sweetest messages from people through our social media platforms, and it drives us to make more of an impact through our brand.  

Do you have anything exciting coming up?

We just launched our MUMGRY Happiness Series available to view on our IG Live. We have a new MUMGRY X Beta5 V-Day Chocolate Bar that’s available online now. On the MUMGRY Podcast, we’ll be connecting with Black professionals that we admire all month long. Later this year we are launching our MUMGRY Community Cookbook, and everyone is invited to contribute through our site with their favourite recipe using MUMGRY. 

Carla Bragagnolo

Carla is in constant pursuit of the extraordinary; she is based out of Toronto due to its proximity to great food, its diverse music scene, and because it allows her to catch a flight to pretty much anywhere. Follow her adventures at @carlabrags.