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How NORTHERN BLC plans to end up being the UKs #1 1 plant-based ice cream

NORTHERN BLC really wants to end up being the UKs number 1 plant-based ice cream brand. Having almost tripled its sales during the last three years, the business has secured a follow-on investment of just one 1.2m from Gresham House Ventures that may let it accelerate growth further still.

Expanding production to meet up growing demand

The administrative centre injection will dsicover NORTHERN BLC relocate to a fresh, larger site in its home city of Leeds. The business, which includes already started the proceed to the former Bagel Nash production facility on North Street in Leeds, will convert the prevailing buildings right into a purpose-built ice creamery. By the finish of the summertime it aims to possess fully relocated its expanded production and office-based sales and marketing teams.

Production will start immediately. The website will eventually be home to a factory shop and can host street party-style events. We cant wait to open our doors to the general public at our new site and introduce more folks to the planet of NORTHERN BLC, co-founder and Director Josh Lee enthused.

The increased capacity is crucial to aid and accelerateNORTHERN BLCs growth trajectory. In 2021, NORTHERN BLCexperienced 80% growth in turnover as out-of-home accounts began to keep coming back from the pandemic in a solid position, Lee told this publication. We also won new out-of-home accounts and our retail business bloomed. Demand in these channels has continued to cultivate. The brand new capacity, live from early Autumn, would be to match this increased demand.

Northern Bloc's new production facility in Leeds

NORTHERN BLC’s new production facility in Leeds / Pic: NORTHERN BLC

Standing out in plant-based ice cream: We put flavour first

The business, which still continues to create milk products, has seen growth propelled by its plant-based offering specifically. The plant-based line comes in retailers including Waitrose, the Co-op and Ocado along with out-of-home venues just like the National Trust and Wagamama.New launches include travel and new retail channels later this season too, Lee revealed.

UK vegan ice cream is likely to exhibit an instant CAGR of 7% to 2026, in accordance with forecasts from OMR Global. Demand has been driven by ascendant mega-trends around health, wellness and sustainability.

But competition is intense in this growing sector. Competition between brands is fierce in the united kingdom, due to the restricted degree of product differentiation and consumers’ negligible switching costs, coupled with a challenging and volatile market environment, OMR Global researchers noted.

The united states has seen several notable plant-based ice cream launches hitting freezer counters in grocery and out of home channels. Plant-based bellwether Oatly has expanded beyond oat drinks into plant-based ice cream in the united kingdom, for example, while Unilevers powerhouse brands like Magnum and Ben and Jerrys have presented multiple vegan options.

Nevertheless, it could seem NORTHERN BLC keeps growing significantly prior to the market. So how exactly does the brand stick out within an increasingly crowded segment?

NORTHERN BLC requires a chef’s method of flavour, that’s what sets us apart,Lee responded.

Manolo Imperatori is our chef, creative, scientist and fourth generation, world champion ice cream master. In his ice cream lab, he combines art and science to master our flavour profiles.

Getty-Images David Malan ice cream

Innovation and a flavour focus help the united kingdom brand differentiate in plant-based ice cream / Pic: Getty-Images David Malan

Innovation is essential, he continued.We’re constantly asking questions, learning, re-evaluating and tinkering with our ingredients, products and everything about our business. Which means that our plant-based range is both innovative and indulgent. For instance, in 2020, we could actually bring the initial ever plant-based white chocolate ice cream to supermarkets – a flavour which, although traditionally saturated in dairy, we were able to replicate with Manolo’s creativity and expertise.

The business also recently added reduced, soft serve plant-based ice cream to its out of home range, referred to as THE WHiP! by NORTHERN BLC.

With consumers notoriously unwilling to compromise on taste experience, how may be the UK ice cream maker in a position to match the performance of dairy for creaminess and taste in its plant-based product formulations? For Lee, it really is about going for a slightly different approach. The business, he says, is first of all an ice cream maker.

At NORTHERN BLC, we put flavour first. Our mission would be to develop a great ice cream which just is actually plant-based. We work with a combination of vegetable derivatives, primarily peas and coconut derivatives, to generate the cream-like taste inside our plant-based ice creams. Our NPD processes evolve continuously to make sure we produce the very best product possible, that’s as sustainable as you possibly can.

This process certainly appears to be resonating with UK ice cream lovers in fact it is what appealed to the companys financial backers aswell.

NORTHERN BLCs commitment to plant-based and naturally, responsibly sourced ingredients strongly aligns with this concentrate on sustainability and were excited to see what possibilities the brand new premises provides, Giles Whitman, Portfolio Director at Gresham House Ventures explained.

Our first round of investment enabled us in order to quickly and effectively fulfil this demand and were excited to see what another year brings, on the trunk of the second investment, Lee added.

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