22 February 2016 - Janet Bird
Ice-cream is not normally viewed as a healthy eating option, but a start-up company that has just secured deals to sell its product through a number of supermarket chains is hoping to change all that.
Oppo has created a dairy ice-cream that uses coconut oil and stevia leaf to replace much of the cream and sugar normally used, resulting in a product that contains just 41 calories a scoop.
The sugar free ice cream is available in a number of popular flavours, such as salted caramel, and it is now being stocked in 1,300 stores after agreements were reached with Waitrose, Budgens, the Co-operative, Holland & Barratt and Whole Foods.
After just two years in business, Oppo is expected to turn over almost £1 million this year, with £3.2 million revenues forecast for 2017.
Described as "the most promising start-up of the year" by Virgin boss Richard Branson, Oppo is the brainchild of brothers Harry and Charlie Thuillier.
The product has taken the pair two years to develop. As well as using Government grants and their own money, the brothers turned to crowdfunding to help finance the creation of the product. Indeed, Oppo became the fastest ever start-up to hit its crowdfunding target after raising £300,000 in hours last January. A second crowdfunding appeal for £150,000 via the Seedrs platform to help grow the business was also smashed within hours and is currently 200 percent overfunded.
The company has experienced setbacks - the Thuillier brothers said they failed nine times to perfect the flavours before finally cracking the recipe - making their current success taste even sweeter.