Britain’s biggest sheep’s milk ice-cream brand is hoping to tap into Britons’ growing enthusiasm for healthy food.
David Baker began making ice-cream at Styles Farm near Minehead in 1988 and though the brand is already well-known across the West Country, he has set his sights on capturing part of the health conscious and schools market.
Called Slim Ewe, the naturally low-fat sheep’s milk ice-cream has been a year in the making, with the most effort going into the design of a new logo and packaging.
But it was launched last week and Mr Baker hopes to significantly boost his 750,000 litres a year sales after nearly three out of four people said they preferred the new product in a blind tasting.
“Anything described as ‘low fat’ has a tendency to trigger an automatic response in people’s brains:
They think it’s also going to be low on flavour, but in fact, not adding fat actually allows even more of the flavour to come through.”
Many of the 340 shops, restaurants and beachfront kiosks who buy Styles ice-cream have already ordered Slim Ewe.
“Kiosks find that just putting up our sign is guaranteed to boost sales by 25%.”
Mr Baker still owns a 121ha (300-acre) farm split between sheep and arable crops, but since diversifying into on-farm processing, most of it is contracted out to a local farmer.
“By getting off into ice-cream, you don’t have to make so much money to break even.
It’s not easy though:
It’s awfully specialised and the amount of money required is enormous.”