OkoBay Ventures works towards own coconut lolly plant

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

OkoBay Coconut Water Ice has listings at Tesco and other supermarkets have indicated their interest
OkoBay Coconut Water Ice has listings at Tesco and other supermarkets have indicated their interest

Related tags United arab emirates

OkoBay Ventures wants to secure its own factory to make its Coconut Water Ice lollies within three years, but has been forced to outsource production to an overseas manufacturer to cut costs.

“We have got a manufacturer in Holland working very closely with us​,” Anthony Herbert, founder and ceo of the company told FoodManufacture.co.uk. “They are very responsive and work with a two-week-in-advance contract. We work with all the multiples in Europe.

“In year three we will probably build our own manufacturing plant. We would love to have a manufacturing plant in the UK, but another reason why we had to move manufacturing is because pricing was not competitive enough to sell into multiples in the UK.

“It comes down to the equipment the factory has and the cost. For the same price you can get a five-metre-long production line with three people on it in the UK or a 50–60m long line with 25 people working on it elsewhere in Europe. You can churn out five times as much on that line.”

Joint venture in United Arab Emirates

In addition to considering UK production in the longer term, Herbert said OkoBay, which has headquarters in New Barnet, Hertfordshire, wanted to expand into the United Arab Emirates (UAE). “We are looking at a joint venture in UAE – we have the capability to build a factory there.”

Herbert said the company, which launched ice lollies last year on a trial basis after receiving a seven-figure sum to boost scale and widen distribution, had received strong support from top supermarkets.

The feedback they had given him was that there was little real innovation in the ice cream category and that it needed a shake-up, he said. One supermarket buyer had told him one of its big aims for next year was to grow the dairy-free category. Coconut water ice lollies could be part of that, Herbert claimed.

‘Championing the dairy-free category’

“My goal within the next three years is to be championing the dairy-free category in the same way that Innocent championed the smoothies category.”

Tesco began stocking OkoBay Coconut Water Ice in stores from the beginning of March this year and Herbert is in discussions with retailers including Sainsbury, Morrisons and Waitrose. The product comes in two variants: original and pineapple flavour in single-serve impulse format and packs of three.

Herbert previously launched the Juice Doctor drinks brand in 2000. He and a friend, who was a film producer, noticed a recent surge in interest in coconut water and the success that some beverage brands had had in crossing over into the frozen sector. This had led to the launch of OkoBay Coconut Water Ice, he said.

Related topics Frozen

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Posted by yemi ariyo,

Hi, I am just about to start up a ice lolly business in lagos Nigeria using coconut milk to mix the fruits . We have a lot of coconut in Nigeria but looking for tips , info and ideas on how to go about this business. Starting up, and things needed initially and where to source for things we don't have in Nigeria. Branding, machinery and so on.

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Posted by Brad Fisher,

Hi I have a brand of vodka here in the UK and the rights to the UAE and I would like to talk to someone about your company making ice pops for us using our brand of vodka? Please call me on 07961384860.

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