There’s something going down in Heidelberg West. A food trailer has been set-up, standing out against the industrial surroundings. Inside you’ll find Brad Anderson and possibly his wife Lorraine, who manages to juggle full-time work as well. Together they’ve started Noo Moo Foods, a small batch, plant based, vegan food trailer (phew!).
Noo Moo has been open just a fortnight, so they’re very new. However, Brad has been in the hospitality game for 30 years, so Noo Moo is resting on some hard-won experience.
Brad, I’m curious, how did a meat eating chef become a plant based eater?
It was really hard initially. But my health had to be the priority. My brother passed away 8 years ago from complications due to diabetes. I was having similar symptoms to the ones he had — like ulcers on my legs — it was serious. The doctor told me ‘mate we’re going to be cutting your leg off, or you’ll be dead’. Talk about a wake-up call. My wife first suggested a vegan diet. She was already pretty knowledgeable about the vegan world. I’m lucky to have someone who already knew about vegan food and eating.
That’s incredible. Was the change to being plant based worth it?
Well, I booked in for a gastric bypass and changed my eating habits overnight. Since then I’ve lost 60KG. It’s been a crazy ride. I no longer take any medication for blood pressure or diabetes. My liver disease reversed. My poor diet was killing me, so yes, it’s worth it.
How did you get the idea for Noo Moo Foods?
I had started making vegan cheese and figured it would be a great thing to sell. Unfortunately, it’s very hard to get approval for selling cheeses. The certifications are expensive, and the numbers didn’t really add up (at least for now). So I pivoted to the idea of a vegan food trailer. The overhead was more manageable, and I could incorporate our cheeses into the burgers. I already owned a trailer, so the process was a little more achievable.
The restaurant industry is known for being tough going financially, how are you managing the costs of a new business?
I’ve been lucky in that I have so much support from my family. We’re using my father in law’s property, I suppose it’s not the kind of place that you’d expect to see a vegan trailer, it’s pretty industrial. So it’s great to add some diversity. Minimal overheads have been the key for us.
The people who eat our food are extremely environmentally conscious compared to the average citizen. So that’s another element I’m keeping in mind. We’ve got to be extra careful. Everything has to be recycled. It’s more expensive to care. But this cost, it’s a choice for us and the business, and we’re okay to take that hit. It’s worth it for the world.
What plans do you have for Noo Moo’s future?
Right now we’re focusing on getting through the start-up phase. I have my eyes open. We’re aware we’ve got a hard slog, the next few months will be tough going. It’s difficult to build your customer base, and we’re looking for slow natural growth. We’re very grateful for the support we’ve received. There’s been quite a few vegan influencers who’ve checked us out, and every post or share helps.
Later on, I’d love to be part of a co-op, helping each other out. Maybe team up with a microbrewery. The co-op style of business really appeals to me. I think it’s a great way to make it work in this industry.
How are you navigating the technology shifts happening in the industry?
I try and embrace change, you have to move with the times. There’s still a way to survive, I understand both sides. I do, it can be a struggle but at the end of the day if you’re not online when it comes to food orders you’re going to be overlooked.
I know in hospitality you can’t keep your cards close to yourself anymore you have to share. That doesn’t always come naturally, so get help where you can.
It’s probably a bit like picking a favourite child, but do you have a favourite item on Noo Moo’s menu ?
I’ve got to say The Noo Moo Original, it’s excellent. We use an Australian made product Veef . We tried so many plant based patties, so many. It was endless. This one was by far the best. Any company that’s Australian we try to use first. Same with our Kombucha we approached an Australian based company (Kombucha Max), and it’s just awesome.
Contact Noo Moo Foods
Noo Moo Foods worked with Mobi2Go to build their online ordering. They used our Mobi2Go + Kounta integration so their orders got sent straight to their POS. If you’re interested in learning more, fill in the form below and we’ll connect you to the right person.