Start-Up Stories – Nooj
In this chapter of Start-Up Stories, we spoke to Caroline Barton, the founder of Nooj. Nooj are at the very start of their journey, having just launched. See what she had to say about all things start-up life…
Tell us all about Nooj, what is it?
Nooj is an almond or cashew paste which is essentially a nut milk concentrate. Each one contains over 60% nut with only water and a little salt so quite pure. Nooj is sold in a pouch and is easy to store in the fridge and makes a milk with a high nut content by just adding water. Nooj is also a versatile all-round dairy replacement; add a little water to make a pouring cream, dilute with citrus to replace yoghurt, replace ricotta by using straight from the pack. It’s convenient and versatile.
How did you come up with the idea?
I started making my own almond milk a few years ago in a bid to avoid the watery supermarket milks with their low nut content. The way I made it in my home kitchen allowed my results to become thicker and creamier until the resulting paste could be stored in a pot in our very small fridge. This paste I found could be diluted easily when needed for milk or, better still, scooped straight into porridge, smoothies and other dishes.
What was the process like from concept to execution?
The early, home made version was much less refined than now but even then, I thought it would be an idea worth pursuing, I knew it would be a good option for consumer use. So, I took the first step of buying some equipment to speed the process up.
How long did it take?
I spent the best part of a year perfecting my process at home. In that time, I did a couple of vegan fairs and received a good response to the product, so I started to look for a factory to produce the product.
I’m sure you’ve faced lots of challenges, what’s been the toughest?
“One of the toughest times was finding a factory, it took months and then when I thought I’d found one they decided they couldn’t produce it, I just had to redouble my efforts.”
How did you overcome it?
In the end I chose to team up with a development company who found a factory, helped streamline the process and developed a way of extending the shelf life, they made that part of the journey possible.
What’s been your proudest moment so far?
We’ve only just launched the product and are still seeking distribution so there hasn’t been one proud moment as such, lots of very gratifying moments though as pieces of the puzzle fell into place.
“I think seeing it on a shelf would be a proud moment.”
How important was establishing your brand when launching Nooj?
I worked with a design agency in Leeds, Rumblefish, from early on in the journey, I wanted to have a presence at the Vegan fairs we did and felt it important to be seen as a real and established early on. The branding is an important part of the package and hopefully conveys that the product is clean, simple but also different, new.
Describe Nooj in 3 words
Unique, versatile, adaptable.
Where can people find Nooj?
So far only at trade, vegan and other food fairs, we’re still seeking wider distribution but hope that soon it will be more widely available. Interested potential consumers should follow us @noojfood and we’ll shout from the rooftops when it goes on a shelf.
What does the future hold for Nooj?
More pastes, more Nooj products, wait and see!
Be sure to check out their website here to keep up to date on all things Nooj!