After being diagnosed with Fructose malabsorption and gluten intolerance in 2016, NOGO sauces founder Meg decided to launch NOGO because there were no fructose friendly, home-made style sauces available. Now two years on, what started out of necessity has grown into a thriving business, complete with a range of 12 delicious products and two Australian Food Award Gold medals.
We caught up with Director and Founder Meg to learn more.
Who are the team behind NOGO Sauces?
As they say, it takes a village and that has certainly been the case with NOGO. It was just me (Meg) to start, (where I was developing recipes in my home kitchen), since then a lot of people have helped at the various stages of NOGO's growth.
Firstly, and most importantly, was the friends and family that helped me in the very beginning, which was then followed by amazing business consultants (some of them great friends), chefs, kitchen hands, sales consultants and other businesses that I have worked with on a daily basis.
What made you launch NOGO?
I launched NOGO because there was no fructose friendly, home-made style (i.e. not full of gum and preservatives) sauces available that I could eat. I had to make everything from scratch, even tomato sauce. I was diagnosed with Fructose Malabsorption + gluten intolerance in 2016. Suddenly I was denied all the flavour enhancing ingredients I used on a daily basis, GARLIC + ONION being at the top of my list.
Initially I thought flavour was lost to me (and ate a lot of bland meals as a result). It was life changing, which turned quickly to frustration and then curiosity. Up until this point in my life, I had loved eating out and cooking was a daily pleasure for me.
Through necessity, I started developing some 'go to' recipes and sauces that I could enjoy and share with friends and family. Then I got to thinking.... Why not develop and sell a high quality, great tasting, fructose friendly sauce range? A range that gives people pantry staples for everyday cooking at home, people like me. So here I am, nearly 2 years down the track, 12 products in my range and more following soon. Good staples for any home pantry.
What does a day in the life of the NOGO Sauces look like?
Every day is different at NOGO. My business grew quickly, which has been great fun (and hard work). Being a small business, I’m involved in all areas. Most mornings, and most importantly, I walk my dog, Obi-wan, to the beach and from there my day varies.
One day I can be packing palettes, talking to clients, doing admin and developing new recipes, the next day working in the kitchen overseeing cooking.
Yesterday I ran our stall at the St Kilda Festival and today I’m in the kitchen overseeing our pasta sauces being made (we’ve just moved to a new facility and want to make sure it’s running smoothly).
For those who don’t know, can you tell us a little bit more about the FODMAP diet?
The reason I started NOGO is that I was diagnosed with Fructose Malabsorption, which is no fun as it’s initially very restricting, but the rewards have outweighed the slight changes.
A Low FODMAP Diet (or a diet low in FODMAP’s) has been proven to be the most effective dietary therapy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and symptoms of an irritable bowel.
A Low FODMAP Diet has also been proven to reduce symptoms of fatigue, lethargy and poor concentration.
According to Monash Fodmap, FODMAP stands for:
Fermentable – meaning they are broken down (fermented) by bacteria in the large bowel
Oligosaccharides – “oligo” means “few” and “saccharide” means sugar. These molecules made up of individual sugars joined together in a chain.
Disaccharides – “di” means two. This is a double sugar molecule.
Monosaccharides – “mono” means single. This is a single-sugar molecule.
Polyols – these are sugar alcohols
Fructose friendly, gluten free and with No Garlic or Onion, how do you make NOGO sauces taste so good?
There is no reason you need to miss out on great tasting food on the FODMAP diet. My favourite tip is using a garlic and or onion infused olive oil... You still get the flavour but without the FODMAP’s. The other necessity is making sure you use quality, local ingredients, it guarantees fresh, flavour full products.
Would you recommend them for people not following a low FODMAP or Gluten Free diet?
Absolutely, yes, it’s not just people with IBS that buy NOGO. People buy NOGO for the delicious flavour and the benefit of no hidden nasties or fillers. Just healthy, delicious sauces that the whole family can enjoy.
Are you able to tell us a little bit more about the nutritional benefits of the NOGO range?
For people with IBS our sauces help with their overall health as they are ‘safe’ to eat, which in the long run helps with our Nutritional intake. On a general level, eating products with no additives or fillers, low salt and sugar is great for everyone long term.
What has been your greatest achievement to date?
My favorite achievement was the 2 Gold Medals I won at the Australian Food Awards in 2016.
I had only just started NOGO and entered 3 sauces, all won medals.
Zingy Ginger Finishing Sauce - GOLD Medal
Jalapeno Salsa both - GOLD Medal
It gave me a confidence knowing how delicious the sauces really are, even when compared to our competitors that can use garlic, onion and gluten.
If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only take 3 things, what would they be?
A good knife
A box of my favorite NOGO, life just wouldn’t be the same without the salsa!
(** hopefully the Island is Australia, which means I’m pretty much set, everything I want is here.)
NOGO sauces are available in store in Elwood and Brighton, and online.