Much Ado About Oats: Alique Fisher ’22 Expands Her Startup

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During the summer, Colgate students are applying their liberal arts know-how in a variety of real-world settings, and they are keeping our community posted on their progress. Sociology and environmental studies double major Alique Fisher ’22, from Arlington, Mass., describes her entrepreneurial endeavors. 

This summer, I am growing my startup company, øats, in Boston, Mass. I founded øats through Colgate’s Thought Into Action Institute (TIA). While I never thought of myself as being business-oriented before coming to Colgate, I’ve embraced the entrepreneurial spirit. 

The mission of øats is to challenge the status quo of the food industry — all through a jar of overnight oats that are nutritious and convenient. øats is committed to sustainability, with an emphasis on zero waste. By covering shipping costs, I encourage customers to return their empty jars to be reused or recycled. With enough participation, I aspire to create a circular economy that minimizes waste and optimizes resources. 

I’m extremely interested in the food industry, and it frustrates me to see its lack of transparency, accessibility, and regulation. Often times, deceptive marketing called “greenwashing” promotes companies’ products and policies to appear more environmentally friendly than they really are. I believe that change starts with new companies and products like øats that care about their ingredients’ sources, their environmental impact, and their consumers’ health.

This summer, I have been able to develop my business. I’ve completely redesigned the øats jars, created custom-printed labels, and re-sourced all my ingredients in bulk to ensure that they are cost-efficient and high-quality. 

I’m in the process of distributing øats to retailers and cafes in my area to increase my customer base. So far, øats are sold at a local farm stand, and will be available at two local coffee shops. I want to continue expanding øats to establishments in the greater Boston area. My goal for the summer is for Whole Foods, a major national grocery store, to sign on as well. 

Currently, I’m focusing on my product “classic overnight øats.” It consists of all organic ingredients and contains no allergens, gluten, refined sugars, additives, or animal products. It includes gluten-free rolled oats for digestion; chia seeds, flax seeds, and hemp seeds for plant-based protein; and cinnamon and unrefined date sugar for sweetness. To prepare øats, all you need to do is add your milk of choice and refrigerate it overnight. In the morning, your breakfast will be ready to enjoy. 

As a sociology and environmental studies double major, I apply knowledge I’ve gained from both areas to øats — knowledge regarding public access to food, nutritional consumption, and dietary environmental impacts. Upon returning to Colgate in the fall, I hope to sell øats at local establishments in Hamilton, N.Y. This way, the Colgate community will not only experience a nutritious and sustainable food product, but will also join a movement challenging today’s food industry through consumption patterns.

Learn more about summer internship funding opportunities through Career Services at Colgate.