Established in 1922 in Ammanford, Carmarthenshire, Frank’s Ice Cream add a touch of Italian flair and passion to the art of making ice cream using traditional recipes and some of the finest Welsh ingredients.
Frank’s manufacture a range of branded and private-label products for retail and food service customers, including the NHS, and export markets such as Ireland and the Middle East. Their product range includes easy scoop ice cream, own-label deluxe ice cream, ‘Dialicious’ ice cream (targeted towards diabetics), vegan ice cream, frozen yoghurts and smoothies.
ZERO2FIVE has provided Frank’s Ice Cream with technical support for over ten years and the company was the first to ever recruit a technical affiliate through the KITE Programme, the forerunner to Project HELIX.
Support from ZERO2FIVE
Through Project Helix, Frank’s recruited Cardiff Met Food Science graduate Ffion Haf Davies as a technical affiliate in January 2017. The Knowledge Transfer Programme employs affiliates and embeds them within Welsh food and drink manufacturers. Affiliates are supported by ZERO2FIVE Food Industry Centre, who coach and mentor the affiliates.
Ffion has supported Franks Ice Cream with a range of technical projects during her employment, including helping the company maintain their BRCGS Food certification. The programme has allowed Ffion to progress into the role of Technical Manager.
“ZERO2FIVE have provided me with a range of support which I can apply to the business. I meet ZERO2FIVE twice a month to discuss technical priorities and we agree an action plan. We also look at specific sections of the BRCGS food standard which provides a valuable mentoring opportunity. The ZERO2FIVE technical team have years’ of experience in industry so it’s great to be able to get help from them on how to implement processes to improve the day-to-day running of a food manufacturing site.”
Ffion has supported Frank’s on a range of challenges during the programme, including:
BRCGS Food Safety Audit
Ffion led the company through their BRCGS audit in January 2021.
Speaking about the audit, Ffion said:
“As well as getting everything ready for the BRCGS audit, I led the 2-day site audit. It was my first experience as lead. I presented everything to the auditor and made sure that our procedures, traceability exercise and site audits were compliant. I also worked with the production team on site to provide information for allergen validation, HACCP and site food safety related documents.
“It was really different leading an audit during the pandemic, I never thought I’d be talking to the auditor wearing a mask! Although I led the audit, it was useful to have a technologist from ZERO2FIVE on hand to ask for support and guidance if needed.”
Frank’s successfully maintained their BRCGS Grade A. Ffion said:
“Having BRCGS is very important to the company; it’s critical for one of our own label customers. Without a Grade A, we wouldn't be able to supply them so it's great that we’ve been able to maintain this standard.”
Frank’s is undertaking a factory expansion of their low-risk area which will increase production capacity. Ffion has provided technical support throughout the process.
“I will have to ensure the new equipment is compliant and capable of making a safe product. Our factory expansion will allow us to increase our production and supply more customers. It’s a lot of work but it's fantastic that the expansion is taking place because of the continued success of the business.”
Frank’s has a robust COVID Risk Assessment, which has helped the company remain safe during the pandemic. Ffion supported the company to maintain these processes. ZERO2FIVE provided mentoring in accordance with the BRCGS's Managing Food Safety During COVID-19 Guidance document and Food Innovation Wales’ COVID -19 Toolkit.
New Product Development
Ffion has supported the launch of several new products.
“I work alongside the New Product Development team to review the HACCP plan, allergen control, general site compliance and product labelling. We often receive labelling queries, therefore mentoring from ZERO2FIVE on legal labelling is invaluable. I also make sure production employees are trained and understand new controls needed, such as allergen requirements. The production, technical and NPD team work closely together during every launch."
Following the UK’s departure from the EU, Ffion has been heavily involved in the additional documentation needed to export own label products.
“I have been working with a vet to get the correct documents and certificates from suppliers to make sure the supply chain is compliant. Our site has been on the EU approved list since the 1st of March and we now have our EU health mark which will go onto our exported products.”
Benefits of the support
From maintaining their BRCGS certification, to export, new product development and factory expansion support, Frank’s Ice Cream has a seen a range of benefits from having a Project HELIX knowledge transfer affiliate embedded in their company. ZERO2FIVE has provided the practical expertise and support to mentor the technical affiliate on industry best practice throughout these projects.
Speaking about the Project HELIX Knowledge Transfer Programme, Ffion is full of encouragement for anyone thinking about applying:
“I would definitely recommend applying for the HELIX knowledge transfer programme. It is good to have support after graduating and you can always talk to ZERO2FIVE for guidance on best practice.”
Giulio Dallavalle, Technical Director, Frank's Ice Cream said:
“Having worked closely with ZERO2FIVE over the last 10 years on Welsh Government and EU funded projects, the technical support has been extremely helpful. ZERO2FIVE have both a technical and commercial perspective and our business has developed enormously with the support we have received.”