Doing it for the kids: fruit and veg find their way into lollies

Jude’s has created a range of frozen treats with no refined sugar – and it’s not the only brand trying to give ice creams a more healthful appeal.

17 April 2019
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Vegetables have been putting down roots in the most unusual products over the past year, from cereals, to yoghurts, to puddings. Jude’s has become the latest brand to enter the arena, releasing a range of Fruit & Veg Rockets.

With youngsters in its sights, the British ice cream company’s lollies include spinach and apple, beetroot and raspberry, orange and carrot. There is no refined sugar in the new products, which instead get their sweetness from the fruit and veg.

The SKUs, priced at £3.50, will be available in a six-pack of 55ml servings exclusively at Sainsbury’s from May 5.

Jude’s was one of the first brands to introduce low-calorie ice cream in the UK, in an attempt to rival US-based Halo Top. Continuing down that road, its new lollies are low in calories – coming in below 32kcal – and contain less than 10g of sugar per 100g, which is 46% below Public Health England’s (PHE) recommended sugar targets for the category.

“The Little Jude’s Fruit & Veg rocket Lollies address sugar concerns of parents, with less sugar than your average yogurt,” said Chow Mezger, MD and Jude’s son. “They are also a fun and tasty way for children to enjoy some of the goodness from fruit and veg, which can often be a challenge. We’re proud to be leading the way and offering parents and kids a delicious, healthier treat.”

Jude’s appears to be trailblazing in this area in the UK, but over in the America a number of brands are already experimenting with the concept.

Florida-based Peekaboo has an extensive range of veg-based ice creams, including dark chocolate and cauliflower; strawberry and carrot; mint chip with spinach; vanilla with courgette; and cotton candy with beets.The ice cream maker deliberately chooses veg with mild flavours that are not detectable when children (and adults) eat the products.

Low-calorie creameries

While weather dependant, especially in the UK, the ice cream market is performing well for premium products and was estimated to be worth £1.4bn in 2018, up 26% from 2013, according to Mintel figures.

The scorching 2018 summer was a boon too for the domestic ice cream market, fuelling sales growth at a time when cost pressures were putting a squeeze on operators, said Mintel’s food and drink analyst Anita Winther.

“Lower-calorie ice cream brands have caused a stir in 2018, building up a not insignificant market penetration,” she said. “While the lower-calorie proposition has potential to bolster category volume sales and help it withstand the ongoing war on sugar, these products’ relatively high price and poor image as indulgent remain barriers to uptake.”

It’s something Holland & Barrett might want to take note of with the release this month of three own-brand vegan ice creams in peanut butter, passionfruit and salted caramel flavours. Retailing for £3.99 per 500ml, the range is designed “as a vegan alternative to brand favourites such as Halo Top,”according to the health food retailer.

It used avocado to create the salted caramel flavour, which is 103kcal per 125ml serving, while the two other variants are coconut-based and range between 108 and 138kcal.

“Avocado and coconut act as the perfect alternatives to dairy in ice cream, bringing a host of health benefits to the range,” Holland & Barrett nutritionist Amy Tolofari toldFood Spark’s sister site The Grocer. “Avocado’s buttery texture means you get the same creamy consistency as you would expect from normal ice cream, with none of the dairy.”

Morrisons also launched its own low-calorie range in March, with cookie dough, peanut butter and salted caramel flavours going on sale for £2.50 for 480ml. Its options provide 285kcals to 345kcals a tub.

Asda introduced its own version too in February, comprising peanut butter, birthday cake and vanilla options (£2.50 for 473ml), with calories varying between 332 and 392 per tub.

Meanwhile, Lidl introduced Graham’s Family Dairy to meet the trend, while Aldi’s Gianni’s brand releasedsalted caramel and choc chip cookie dough flavours.

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