Moo Free's History
Moo Free was founded in May 2010 by Andrea & Mike Jessop. Andrea is gluten intolerant and Mike lactose intolerant.
When Andrea’s son was a baby in 1982, he suffered with eczema, constantly had a blocked nose and other complaints, which we will not go into in detail! Andrea read an interesting article relating to dairy allergies and decided to look into it further. The long story short, he was put onto an alternative feed, his eczema cleared up and he began to put on weight. The trouble was, she could not get him an Advent calendar or Easter egg and this was a difficult situation.
Fast forward to 2007, when selling chocolates via the internet, people started to send us emails saying they have a child with a dairy allergy and they can’t get an Easter egg or an Advent calendar. We were surprised after all this time this was still the case. We tried searching for an alternative to sell on our website, but we could find nothing. Feeling reckless one day we decided to have a go making some ourselves.
We started by making a few Easter eggs using a milk alternative chocolate in 2008, which flew out the door. We then got a flood of emails asking for the same in an Advent calendar and other products. This is when it all began to get a bit serious. We re-mortgaged our house and invested in some machinery and ingredients. Over the next two years the recipe was tweaked and volunteers were forced to try dozens of samples until, finally in May 2010 Moo Free was officially born. By this time we had also acquired a grandson, who is also dairy intolerant, so he became our chief tester. It turns out, like his uncle, he is also autistic and has such a brilliant mind and view of the world.
With our son being autistic and dyslexic we saw the pain he went through as he went from job to job, his good nature was taken advantage of or he was bullied by people who did not understand him. It wasn’t until he went back to college at 25 that his teacher took him under his wing and helped him through his course to be an electrician that he finally found his vocation. He tried working for himself but people were again taking advantage of him, not paying him the agreed sums. He found a job with a company but he was put under a lot of pressure for the amount of time he took do a job. He would say he is doing the job currently and safely, they wanted him to cut corners but he wouldn’t do that. After a couple of roles at different places he set up his own business doing work for consumers and he charges per a job not by the hour, so he can take his time and provide a good service. He has top reviews and people love him.
It is from the experience of our son that we wanted to make sure that other people would not experience this, as there is no reason why people with autism should not be given a chance. A lot of autistic people like routine, they are extremely loyal and hard-working. As long as you remember they have a unique way of thinking and you are very clear, there is no reason why they should not be just like any other member of staff.
We have struggled over the years. We even started the business in the middle of a recession so getting financial support was very difficult. Because of this we had to re-mortgage our house again, but we were determined to get our chocolate out into the world, especially for children at Easter and Christmas. We introduced characters onto our chocolate and each character represented a member of staff. The characters even developed a little following.
Fast forward to 2020 and after feedback from customers regarding our packaging we decided to look at our brand and instructed a rebranding agency, one that had worked with likeminded companies. Like the children who received our chocolate in 2010 are now growing up, we have had to do the same. Thus, the rebirth of Moo Free with a new logo and look, one that still represents Moo Free’s playfulness, but a bit more grown up!