From meeting in an uber ride, to launching a market-leading business in the field of vegan cheese, you could say cofounders Bree Gaudette and Matthew Ronalds are doing it all. With no formal training, but an unrelenting desire to create a vegan alternative close to the cheeses she used to love, Bree set to the kitchen to have a go herself. Fast forward to now with multiple products such as mozzarella, haloumi and even a delicious brie in puff, all handcrafted and delivered straight into the hands of hungry vegans, vegetarians and omnivores alike, all looking for a tasty dairy alternative.
Matthew: "Often we hear through anecdotal experiences with vegans and their friends, is either that the last thing they gave up was dairy, or the one thing that's holding them back is cheese."
Bree: "Yeah. We find that the jump to stop eating meat has been around longer in the mainstream, but that jump from vegetarianism to veganism is quite wide, and takes more products to replace. So that's what we wanted to do. We wanted to make it easier for people to jump that final hurdle, so that they can live as cruelty-free as they want to, while still being able to enjoy tasty, delicious foods."
And it’s true! We hear it time and time again that the one thing people cannot let go of is cheese.
Hello Friend Foods' assortment of cheeses (@hellofriendfoods)
We had an absolute blast interviewing the pair, discussing the importance of curiosity and passion when testing an idea, how taking a break may just be what your business needs, and the role of following your aligned path and calling when it comes to standing up for what you believe in.
But most of all I think we were reminded that the path to starting a business isn't always as clear as it seems, and starting Hello Friend Foods was not a clear-cut process.
It took Bree one Christmas holiday in 2015 and a curiosity to learn more about creating in the kitchen to get a good product. In other words, a lot of experimenting and failing, again and again. It wasn’t even until the two had shared some of their prototypes at a vegan picnic with friends that they realised they could really launch this business.
“A friend shared a post to Facebook one night, and the morning after we woke up with floods of emails, messages and calls. It was just like okay, we're not ready yet but we're doing this.” - Bree Gaudette
And to me, nothing could be more exciting or inspiring. To know that we all have the potential to get curious and question what we know, leading with innovation in whichever field we find ourselves to be in, and as a result? Hopefully creating awesome (and in this case tasty) products that make the world a better, more ethical and sustainable place.
If you'd like to follow Bree and Matthew on their journey (you totally should!) then feel free to follow them on Instagram @hellofriendfoods. Better yet, if you want to try some of their cheeses, then you can head to their website, https://www.hellofriendfoods.com/ to order online, or find a stockist near you.
We hope you're staying safe, enjoying the episode, and remembering to #biteforwhatsright!