by Tammy Fry Kelly, Marketing Director – Fry’s Family Foods
I know you haven’t heard from me for some time…I have been working hard together with my family to develop and launch an Artisan Coconut Ice Cream (exciting stuff for sure!) Yes, ice cream from coconuts developed in our kitchen at home and inspired by a simple pot of salted caramel. I wanted this post to reflect on some of the processes of getting ice cream from our kitchen to supermarkets around the world.
Roughly 2 years after we made that first pot of salted caramel from Himalayan salt and coconut sugar, we finally did it! Hello, amazingly creamy, artisan, dairy-free ice cream! (OK, it wasn’t as simple as that, but this post gives you some of the “back story”.)
Just toasted coconut, Vanilla Bean Espresso, Tons of Cookies, Salted Caramel and Madagascan Vanilla Bean. From REAL INGREDIENTS…not flavours bought in bags, but the real deal! And to top it off, it is sweetened only with agave making it LOW GI.
We didn’t want to mass produce something which we had made with so much care so we took the time to find someone that was willing to go on this journey with us and to duplicate the “homemade-ness” of our ice cream.
The Back Story
Hayley, my sister, takes care of the inside (the ingredients, the flavours, sourcing the raw materials and carefully choosing what belongs in the best tasting ice cream in the world) whilst I take care of the outside (how it looks, feels, and how we reach everyone in the world). This isn’t a daunting task at all when you have your family by your side and a world-class plant-powered team to help out?
The process followed is quite simple but the detail can be overwhelming. Designing packaging without an agency and relying on your own creativity can give you many sleepless nights, especially when you feel you haven’t quite “nailed” it. This packaging development took over 100 concepts to finally get right. The number of times you change a photo, change a colour, change font type, change the font type on the other Fry’s product to see if it works across the whole brand, change a background, change concept, start again, go for a surf for momentary inspiration, start with a new concept… And then starts the work of writing copy, changing copy, editing copy, compliance with multi-country food packaging legislation (which can be soul-destroying at times, believe me!). Of course, food photography is required and again the level of detail is painstaking. I learnt a few new things about photographing ice cream. It melts faster than you planned it to and coconut husk hairs never lie exactly the right way! This goes on for months (and no, you haven’t yet shown a buyer or “bounced your ideas off anyone”). You make 3D versions of the packs, you hold them and feel them and then you start all over again with more changes. Artwork finally, finally is sent off for printing.
Then starts the actual manufacture.
Hayley called me in tears from the first production run…the stress of making food by hand and still keeping it at minus 20C while you move it from one freezer to the next and into containers is enough to break someone. And tasting over and over again to make sure that nothing has changed (because you swear that something may have changed). Of course, there are always hurdles to jump through at your first production run. It’s tough. This after she had undertaken almost 8 international trips in just one year to pull the project off.
You need to go to these lengths and then further to do your absolute best so that when you go to the world with your product, they accept it and love it!
And then after all the hard work, and secrecy, the cat is out of the bag and you put your product out to the world. And you hope and pray that they do love it. Because after all every comment and every bit of feedback is taken incredibly personally (think about that next time you write to Fry’s – be kind!). You hope that they can see just what one family has gone through to do their absolute best.
Just like that, a dream takes flight, an emotional moment for sure, a moment of elation and terror all rolled into one. And the first person that nods their head when they taste, rolls their eyes with enjoyment…that affirmation is like nothing you can imagine. You breathe. Again.
So before you tuck into that incredibly delicious Fry’s Ice Cream, you will know the backstory. I think it may taste even better (if that’s even possible).
P.S: As you know, we are a proudly family-owned business. We make food that makes the transition to a plant-based diet easier, nutritious and sustainable. We eat our own food every day, our children eat our food every day…you can trust the ingredients and know that the food was made with love and attention to good quality.
Looking for the new range of Artisan Coconut Ice Cream? Find out which stores stock the range here!