I first heard about The Munching Mongoose when it won the 702 Sage Small Business Award last year. I sat down for a coffee with the founder of this two-year-old company, Brad Meiring, at 2B Cuisine and soon became very excited about it.
Brad is a Geologist by training, but when kids came along his mindset shifted. He wanted to do something that he was proud of and something that could add benefit to his kid’s lives. The Munching Mongoose was born out of a simple idea – source and gather great food and make it convenient for others.
How did it start?
B: My business partner, Tamryn, was living near Nelspruit and she received a weekly delivery of organic fruit and veg from local farmers. She started coming to Joburg once a month for business and bringing produce for friends and family. We were taking some of this produce and I started thinking about how cool it would be if someone could regularly deliver ethically produced basic foodstuffs to the front door. So we decided to give it a go.
And the name Munching Mongoose?
B: It piques people’s interest. We saw what other players in the market were doing and it seemed more like a diet and quite prescriptive. We wanted to take more of a holistic and fun approach with The Munching Mongoose – ultimately we hope you can open the box with your family and it’s a bonding experience – getting your kids to understand where their food comes from and growing consciousness as a family.
What were the early days like?
B: We had 12 customers in our first delivery week. We were literally sitting in the living room packing boxes and using Tamryn’s bakkie to make deliveries. We are still a tiny company with a long way to go.
B: The small producers you discover at farmer’s markets are lovely people, but not always the best business people when it comes to getting a regular supply.
We are trying to grow awareness in South Africa around organic food and I think once this grows there will be space for a numbers of players (stores, restaurants, online delivery), but we are in the beginning stages of that awareness.
Secret to success?
B: Do things properly. I think in South Africa if you deliver what you have promised then you are already ahead of the game. We are very committed to responding to our customers and making the process seamless for them. We are always looking for ways to add value to our customer’s experience – word of mouth is our best marketing tool.
How does your family eat?
B: My wife is from an Italian background and is a phenomenal cook and so we are centered a lot around family, food and entertaining We believe in a well-balanced rounded diet – even if you’re going to have a fry up you can use good produce.
My Munching Mongoose Experience:
Their website is very user friendly. You choose an appropriate box for your family’s size and tastes e.g. no veg or banting. You can either enjoy this weekly/biweekly or add on to your order with a variety of organic meat or dairy products. There is no commitment to keep making orders. Brad sent me the mini bag containing:
- 5-6 organically grown seasonal fruit / vegetables
- 1L farm fresh milk
- 6 free range eggs
- 1 local gourmet cheese
- 1 artisan bread
- 1 artisan surprise product
The experience really is beyond your fruit and veg arriving at your door. It is a wonderful novelty opening your bag to find what kind of cheese, bread, fruit, veg and surprise product you are getting and to start tasting. Munching Mongoose also throws in a welcome gift for your first delivery with your name on the label!
There is tremendous attention to detail both to the packaging and in the communication – you get an email making sure you know the time window of your delivery and another sharing info for reordering.
My bag contained:
- 12 bananas
- 2 eggplants
- bag of baby new potatoes
- two avos
- bag of mixed greens
- buttermilk seed loaf
- mature Pecorino cheese
- 6 free-range eggs
- 1L full cream milk
- surprise gift: bag of individually wrapped choccies from local company “Tjoklit”
The first thing I have to comment on was the fresh milk. It made me realise the long life white liquid I have been drinking for the last few years is simply not milk. I had four cups of coffee throughout the day just to use the delicious milk. The buttermilk seed loaf felt like it was still warm from the bakery and so we tucked right into it with the delectable mature Pecorino cheese. All of the fruit and veg looked farm fresh and ready to eat – the avos and bananas were perfectly ripe. And let’s just say the choccies are no more.
The Mini bag costs R479. A quick trip to Woolies revealed very similar pricing, but this doesn’t take into account the surprise gift or the convenience and great experience of the delivery. Then add the assurance that you are supporting local small farms and not feeding your family pesticides as well as reducing your carbon footprint with the reusable glass bottles and bag.
That said, The Munching Mongoose is not looking to be the cheapest option or take away from any of the other healthy options out there. It is looking to have a long-term relationship with the health and well being of your family and give organic local providers who will never have the volume to go into a Woolies a market place – without you having to go to a farmer’s market.
The combination of speaking to Brad and experiencing the product has made me a huge advocate of this company. These guys are the real deal when it comes to an ethical business delivering a fantastic product to busy people.
Check out the website (which also has weekly recipe suggestions related to items in the box) and treat yourself to a truly guilt free delivery!
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