Having successfully raised more than £300,000 in crowdfunding cash and secured grants from the British government, York University and Santander, the entrepreneurs at Oppo ice cream have charged into the retail market. But not before first investing in 25 months of research and development to master the art and food science of producing an initial triple treat of premium flavors.
Oppo replaces sugar and cream with virgin coconut oil and stevia leaf (sweet, natural, zero calorie) and boosts each flavor with Baobab and Lucuma to make healthy-eating ice cream minus artificial flavorings and additives. The calorie count per serving amounts to less than that of an apple.
Here’s the line-up, complete with marketing slogans:
- Madagascan Vanilla and Baobab (Feed like an elephant. Feel like a feather). Vanilla pods from Madagascar are combined with the subtle, grapefruit-like tang of South African baobab to create a thick, buttery, indulgent ice cream. Remedial properties of baobab are promoted as “the stuff of African legend.” Sourced from the fruit of trees that are said to live for as long as 3,000 years, the exotic ingredient is infused with Madagascan vanilla.
- Mint Choc Swirl with Spirulina (Eat like a hippo. Feel like a hummingbird). Billed as “your childhood favorite, adult-style,” the deep-green minty sweet creamy ice cream features a thick cacao (raw chocolate) swirl and an indulgent boost of peppermint. Commonly used in health food supplements, Spirulina is a blue-green plant harvested from the South China Sea. It is rich in protein, vitamins and minerals.
- Salted Caramel and Lucuma (Eat like a whale. Feel like a mermaid). Peruvian Lucuma is described as nature’s caramel, with golden flesh and a rich and creamy texture that serves up sweet and smooth. Known as “Gold of the Incas,” it is loaded with antioxidants and vitamins. The fruit is air-dried before being combined with Maldon sea salt to create a salted caramel flavor.
Available throughout the UK at Waitrose stores and via the Ocado.com e-commerce site, the suggested retail price for each 500ml offering is £5.49. Oppo says it is especially targeting “thirty something urban professional consumers who don’t want to compromise on health or indulgence.”
Principals of the London-headquartered company are brothers Charlie and Harry Thuillier. Charlie quit his graduate job at Diageo to concentrate fully on starting up the enterprise.
“The idea was born during a record breaking expedition we did in Brazil – travelling 1,000 kilometers along the coast using kites,” said Harry. “We ran out of supplies so started eating wild coconuts and the local açaí berry, which are delicious and nutritious. This sparked a love for using natural ingredients to make gorgeous food, and a mission to prove you don’t have to sacrifice health for something to taste really indulgent.”
Waitrose frozen food buyer Richard McGinn commented: “We know that our customers love ice cream, and are always looking for new and innovative flavors. We’re excited to be able to offer more choice in the ice cream category.”