In June of this year, our cooking oil started appearing on shelves. We can’t begin to tell you how exciting that was. A lot of things had happened (and gone wrong) before that of course, but we’ll save that for another blog post.
Woo is made up of Sam, a fourth-generation rapeseed farmer and Matt, his brother-in-law who runs a successful online beer business. Sam convinced Matt that flogging oil was a good idea after he read that cows love eating the byproduct of rapeseed oil production. Yup, this business was started because Sam wanted some tasty grub for his cows.
But the more we looked into it, the more we thought there was something in this. Rapeseed oil is better for you than any other cooking oil… it’s better for the planet.... and it’s yummy… all things we care massively about and pretty much the checklist for the modern foodie. Oh, and you put oil in almost every single thing you cook, so there must be a market for the good stuff, right? Right. Rapeseed oil sales have been slowly rising for about ten years. “Slowly” being the key word.
A little bit of research (about 5 minutes on Google) would tell us that there are a LOT of brilliant small-scale rapeseed oil producers across the country. That’s true. Can you name one though? We couldn’t. No rapeseed oil brands have really broken through into the mainstream. And that’s a massive shame because until people have a rapeseed oil product and brand they can believe in, at an affordable price, it’ll never compete with olive oil.
And that’s what we’re here to do. To make rapeseed oil the cooking oil of choice in this country. To knock Filippo Berio off his perch. We know that’s a stupidly big target for two blokes operating out of a couple of shipping containers on a farm, but hey, you’ve gotta aim big. We’ll do it by crafting the best rapeseed oil there is and, oh boy, Sam knows how to grow the good stuff. We’ll also build a brand that appeals to the modern foodie. Matt knows how to do that kind of thing. We’ve certainly got a few ideas to make buying and using rapeseed oil a lot more fun.
So we bunged in our savings and got a very helpful grant from Worcestershire County Council to build the kit we need. We chose a name* and designed the bottles (thanks Gem). We pressed some oil. We started handing out samples. And that’s when things started getting crazy. People started telling us they loved the stuff. And then the phone started ringing with orders. It hasn’t stopped since. Six months in and we are already stocked in 75 stores and a handful of brilliant local restaurants. Now it feels a little bit out of our control. We’re just buckling in for the ride.
Put a little Woo in your cooking… and join us on this adventure.
Matt & Sam
* The name? Don’t worry. Everyone asks. We’re proud to be based in Pershore, Worcestershire… the nickname for our county growing up was... ‘The Woo’.