An alcoholic sorbet taking this summer's festivals by storm was supported by the KITE programme at ZERO2FIVE Food Industry Centre at Cardiff Metropolitan University.
Icycl is a new and innovative vodka and fruit juice ice pop from Llandaff-based Starjump Foods, which comes in flexible, single use and single serve pouches. When Icycl launched towards the end of last year major online retailer Firebox.com snapped up 150 retail boxes and within a week had placed orders for 1,200 packs.
It remained in Firebox's top 50 products for much of December with a range of online stockists now available. Starjump Foods began working with Cardiff Met's esteemed ZERO2FIVE Food Industry Centre 18 months ago and this is the company's first product to launch.
Icycl is currently listed nationally in Stonegate Pubs' nightclub chain Popworld and is available through a number of online retailers. Starjump recently received an order from Australia for 72,000 Icycls and is finalising discussions with a national grocery brand.
The product offers a safer consumption of alcohol because the 6.4% ABV product is frozen so takes longer to consume, and the innovative packaging means no broken glass, spiking or spilling, making them ideal for beach bars, barbecues, by the pool, at festivals or on the dance floor.
The KITE Programme facilitates partnerships between SME food businesses, graduates or individuals with industry experience (Affiliates) and a Knowledge Base such as the ZERO2FIVE Food Industry Centre within Cardiff Metropolitan University (South Wales) and Coleg Menai's Food Technology Centre (North Wales). KITE Affiliates are placed within food businesses to work on a pre-planned project while gaining experience, education and knowledge, while the business enjoys the benefits of the KITE Affiliates work and the support of the Knowledge Base institution at a subsidised rate with the programme funded by the EU and Welsh Government.
Daniel Ronson, Co-founder of Starjump said: "Without KITE, we would undoubtedly have been unable to bring Icycl to market as quickly and as efficiently as we did, which is essential for a small start-up. The ZERO2FIVE Food Industry Centre acted as a one-stop shop for all our development needs.
"They helped us develop a completely new product, which is not found anywhere else in the world, from scratch."
They are competitively priced and are available in apple, blackcurrant and lemon / lime flavours with pear, orange and pineapple coming soon.
The University's ZERO2FIVE Food Industry Centre worked with Starjump to create a product with a 12 month shelf life, which is packed as liquid and stored as ambient and put in place all the necessary paperwork, sourced ingredients, freezer trials and microbial testing, with support through to the 2014 launch.
David Lloyd from the Food Industry Centre said: "This was an exciting product to work on, as there is nothing similar to it available within the festival or clubbing sectors and it is always rewarding to help develop a product from scratch with a team who are full of innovative ideas."
Starjump is planning continued expansion with particular emphasis on exporting to Europe and developing new flavours, a non-alcoholic offering and a potted version with a spoon that would be ideal for restaurants, on transport and in theatres.