A more natural way to eat

Founders of direct-to-consumer beef producer Our Cow, Dave McGiveron and Bianca Tarrant.

Enterprise: Our Cow

What makes them so successful: The rapidly growing paddock-to-plate home food delivery service generates around $20 million of annual recurring revenue from over 50,000 customers.

Our Cow, Australia’s fastest-growing paddock-to-plate home delivery food service, was born in the bush in 2019. Being farmers, founders Bianca Tarrant and Dave McGiveron were familiar with fluctuating seasons and conditions, but they were put back on their heels by two years of rock-bottom beef prices combined with devastating bushfires followed by flooding. “We were working off-farm when I came up with the idea of selling our beef directly to consumers via Facebook,” Bianca explains. “Right from the start, we knew we had a winning idea. We sold six cattle in the first month and demand rapidly grew to the point where we started to bring in other beef producers.”

Bianca and Dave offered these producers a set price for their animals, which was a welcome relief from the fluctuating prices that many were getting at the sale yards. It also helped producers plan because they knew what price they were going to get for their cattle before they were even born.

“It’s great to see how much Australians really care about supporting local farmers and to give them a way to support farmers every day through their food choices.”

With their customers starting to ask for grass-fed lamb and free-range pork and chicken, the pair started adding new suppliers. Then people asked about wild-caught seafood so the pair partnered with Queensland fishing co-operative Noosa Junction Seafood to sell its wild-caught snap-frozen local seafood. On the day Our Cow launched that offering, it sold nearly 300kg of prawns.

High-end offerings

Bianca and Dave expanded their range, supplying products people couldn’t get anywhere else, such as Doonkami lamb, which comes from new Australian sheep breed Aussie White. “The lamb has a very delicate flavour, high marbling and a low-fat melting point similar to that of Wagyu beef,” Bianca says. “People could only taste it in high-end restaurants before we started selling it. We also sell quail from Brisbane Valley Farm Direct, which is used by more than 100 top restaurants in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne and Michelin-starred restaurants in Hong Kong.”

The business has boomed over the last couple of years, to the point where Our Cow is now supplying high-quality sustainably and ethically produced lamb, beef, pork, chicken, seafood and cheese to more than 50,000 customers and supports more than 150 farmers across Queensland and New South Wales, operating out of a facility in Casino in NSW’s Northern Rivers region.

The adversity from which the business was born – the bushfires, the worst drought in Australia’s history, floods and rock bottom beef prices – has always been the driving force behind it, making Bianca and Dave determined to succeed. “Because we know first-hand the struggles farmers face on a day-to-day basis and we want to improve conditions for them and have an impact on an industry that is becoming harder and harder for families to remain in sustainably,” Dave says.

Crowdfunding amid keen consumer interest

Creating, sustaining and building a community of customers has also been a big factor in Our Cow’s success, confirming the pair’s belief in the rapid growth of consumer interest in the quality and origin of food. “It’s great to see how much Australians really care about supporting local farmers and to give them a way to support farmers every day through their food choices,” Dave enthuses.

Bianca and Dave completed a $2,096,150 capital raise earlier this year via crowdfunding platform Birchal, which enabled them to make many key acquisitions and changes, including purchasing the business assets of on-demand grocery start-up Voly. The couple describe this as “a great fit for us”, as the company had an extensive database of customers that have proven to be very enthusiastic about the Our Cow offering. “We were also able to bolster our database further by acquiring the online business of Brisbane Valley Farm Direct, which has also worked well,” Dave says. “The raise is also helping us grow our range of fresh food, improve delivery times and expand nationally.”
Bianca added that the crowdfunding has allowed Our Cow to “open a warehouse, launch a fresh seafood range and become the only provider of Aussie White – and we plan on keeping up this pace. Over the next couple of years we’ll be continuing to invest in new equipment and expand our range.

Our Cow has sustained its growth trajectory, which has been all the more impressive given the challenges that have caused other delivery businesses to fail in the last 12 months or so. “We know we’re bucking the trend to be growing as many are folding,” Bianca acknowledges. “That we are growing as others are shuttering and that we were able to raise more than $2 million in the current economic climate is testament to our business model and the support there is for the Australian agriculture industry.” She puts this down to Our Cow’s “community of customers” and the fact that she and Dave always strive to “over-deliver” when it comes to quality, range of products, and level of service. “People are increasingly searching for better ways to source sustainable, ethical, fresher and tastier produce that provides support to Australian farmers,” Bianca says. “The fact that people are looking for this alternative has already been proven by the amazing support for Our Cow. Our customer numbers are growing rapidly every month and we expect this trajectory to continue as more people become aware of us and what we do.”

Keep it sustainable

Environmental sustainability is as important to Bianca and Dave as business sustainability, and the farmers they work with are investing in this goal by planting trees, lowering their carbon emissions and planting crops that offset their carbon footprint. “We are really proud of what our farmers do and we believe that with more people choosing to eat meat that’s been sustainably farmed, we will have a profound impact on the agriculture industry and the climate into the future,” Dave avers. 

Finally, Our Cow has significantly bolstered its team recently. Tech entrepreneur Robert Coorey – the co-founder of award-winning property-tech platform Archistar and a globally recognised online marketing and sales expert – is now heading up Our Cow’s board; Woolworths venture capital arm’s former lead investor, Nicholas Rollinson, has joined the company as chief financial officer; the former head of buying at David Jones, Lyana Laborde, has taken on the role of chief procurement officer; Koala’s former vice-president of global digital strategy, Phil Parker, has been appointed chief marketing officer; and former head of customer experience for MilkRun and Car Next Door, Sarah Thomas, recently joined the team.