Describing their product as “great-tasting milk chocolates but without the milk,” husband-and-wife team Mike and Andrea Jessop set up Moo Free after remortgaging their house in Reading to help fund the initial start-up in 2010.
When the pair discovered that their son couldn’t tolerate dairy, this gave them the incentive to create a company that produces a delicious alternative to milk chocolate. The couple says: “Our products might be ’free from’ but they’re certainly not ’free from’ fun! The secret recipe that we use for our multi-award-winning ’milk’ chocolate alternative, coupled with the fun branding, makes our product a hit.”
The dairy-free, gluten-free, organic and vegan chocolates actually taste like milk chocolate. To achieve this, cow’s milk is replaced with rice milk.
Moo Free’s range of tempting treats includes chocolate drops, buttons and bars, a selection of which have mint, orange, hazelnut nibs, banana, fruit and nuts and other chocolate-friendly ingredients added.
“Waitrose was the first supermarket into which we sold,” says the couple. “After that, everyone else slowly followed suit. We’re available in a number of independent stores, too.”
Originally based in Reading, at first glance Devon seems the least appropriate place to relocate – it is, after all, dairy country! However, Andrea and Mike wanted a more relaxed pace of life both for themselves and their staff, and a newly redeveloped business estate in Holsworthy appealed to them. The couple also received some funding from Devon County Council, which made moving to Devon as a small company that much more affordable.
What’s more, Moo Free is already expanding, “to right across the road from our current factory – in Tamar Technology Park in Holsworthy,” say the Jessops. “This should allow us to scale-up production and to increase the amount of new product development that we’re doing.”
0845 094 6498www.moofreechocolates.com