Plas Farm wins SBRI Funding for "Healthier Ice Cream for Schools" Project
Children love ice cream. This is a simple and unavoidable fact.
The inconvenient truth, however, is that up until recently, ice cream was by definition high in fat, and by necessity, high in sugar. But recent changes in regulation and in ingredient availability, as well as our technical understanding of frozen production, means that there is an opportunity to change that.
When we learned of Innovate UK and Welsh Government’s SBRI funding with the theme of “How can we improve the nutritional composition of food and drink for children whilst driving down cost?”, we immediately saw this as an opportunity to create a product specifically for a market that has long been neglected by NPD teams due to poor margins.
That product will be an ice cream with reduced fat, reduced sugar, reduced calories and increased fibre.
We propose that it is possible to remove hydrogenated fats from ice cream, create a cleaner label product, to reduce the fat content by 40%, to reduce the sugar content by 35%, and thus reduce the calorific value by 40%. The result of this would be an ice cream that tastes just like any other ice cream, that has increased satiety properties, is lower GI, has a slower release of energy, and therefore is much better for children, without them even realising it.
This project could have significant impact on the community in terms of improving the health of children and young people within Wales and beyond, by allowing a treat which has a more balanced nutritional profile than other snack foods.
In terms of environmental benefit, this project allows for ice cream for children to be made using more locally sourced ingredients than previously, by replacing imported HPKO and commodity-traded milk powders with local milk. This will have a positive effect on the local economy, and provide an avenue of sales for local farmers with a higher farm-gate price.
We're really excited to see where this project leads!