Nottingham Ice lolly entrepreneur Isaac Greenway-Tambini has come up with a cool way to expand his business…by developing ambient ‘freeze at home’ versions of his treats so he can supply nationwide via mail order.
Nottingham-based Isaac makes Pola ice poles using mainly local fruits and ingredients with a dash of exotic fruits, and currently sells from a distinct and colourful cart, locally and at festivals and events. He also delivers to nearby homes.
However, he has ambitions to supply further afield via mail order and has been working with food scientists at the University of Nottingham’s Food Innovation Centre to create ambient ‘freeze at home’ versions of his lollies which can be popped into the freezer on delivery.
“Being able to produce and supply products that are ambient would allow me to ship nationwide,” explained Isaac. “They would in effect be pouches of liquid, packed with the same great taste, which could be frozen at home. It would be a huge advantage over ice lollies which obviously have to stay frozen.”
Isaac is being supported by food scientists at the Food Innovation Centre under the Driving Research and Innovation project – a three-year project that runs until the end of January 2023 in the D2N2 area of Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.
Funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and run by the Food Innovation Centre based at the University of Nottingham and in association with the Midlands Engine, it is a unique collaboration project that provides free specialist innovation support to small and medium-sized food and drink manufacturers.
The scientists are working with Isaac to help him introduce in-pack thermal pasteurisation to make his lollies ‘ambient stable’ and are supporting him as he runs a number of tests and trials to ensure that the ambient lollies are as safe and of the same high quality as the frozen versions.
Richard Worrall, who runs the Driving Research and Innovation project, said: “Pola is an ambitious start-up company. It plans to develop by purchasing filling and packing equipment to semi-automate production and wants to make the product ambient stable for at least short periods of time to allow the company to sell and transport the product ambient, thus reducing the issues, expense and environmental impact associated with having a chill or frozen chain product.
“The food scientists working at the Food Innovation Centre at the University of Nottingham’s Sutton Bonington campus are very pleased to be supporting Isaac with their expertise which will allow him to develop the business further.”
Isaac, from Mapperley, launched his business last year and is following in the footsteps of his great grandfather – an Italian immigrant who founded a chain of ice cream shops in Wales. His enterprise remains a family affair with his mum June growing some of the fruits and other ingredients he uses in the recipes and his 16-year-old brother Angelo helping with sales and deliveries.
Many of the ingredients used in Pola ice poles are homegrown or sourced from within a five-mile range, with the addition of some exotic flavours. Isaac makes the icy treats from home, with a five-star hygiene rating and varies his range according to the seasons. It currently includes strawberries and cream gelato, rose and lemon, raspberry and lime, elderflower, Alphonso mango gelato, coffee gelato, strawberry and lemon.
“They have been really helpful at the Food Innovation Centre,” added Isaac. “I’m now in the process of carrying out all the testing on the different flavours to work out the optimum temperature and times for each recipe to ensure that the end product is stable when ambient.”