Are these Suffolk ice lollies some of the most eco-friendly in the UK?
- Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND
Nothing hits the spot better than a cool, refreshing ice lolly on a hot summer’s day – especially when that lolly is not only locally-sourced, but also good for the planet.
Meet Bex Spillings. She’s the creative mind behind Lickety Ice - a Suffolk-based ice lolly company launched in the summer of 2016.
With a focus on all things homegrown and local, Bex has recently decided to turn her attentions to making her brand more environmentally-friendly – and cannot wait to roll out her latest initiative in helping make Suffolk greener.
“I’ve taken this year to work out where I want the business to go, as a lot of people have, and I realised that our local audience is the most important to us. The fact we grow a lot of our own fruit in Suffolk ourselves is hugely important,” she explains.
As well as growing most of her produce on her allotment in north Suffolk, Bex also works closely with a number of local suppliers to source fresh ingredients.
This enables her business to have a lower carbon footprint.
“But we want to take that one step further, and turn our lollies into a sustainable project where we can actually use our packaging as part of the production process. At the moment, we have all-plastic packaging, and every time I make a lolly, I feel absolutely awful about the fact that I’m putting this awful plastic into the environment which is getting thrown into the bin.
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“We’re now changing our packaging to a compostable film called NatureFlex, which is a biodegradable material made from cellulose that you can use in compost.”
But rather than expecting people to take their wrappers home with them and compost them themselves, Bex will be working with her key sellers this summer who will collect the wrappers from customers and return them to her.
She will then use those wrappers in her compost, ensuring nothing in the production process is wasted.
“We’ll be putting branded ‘comPOST’ boxes up next to our signage, and when we deliver our ice lollies, we’ll collect the wrappers and take them back to our site in Gisleham. We’re trialling it out this Easter to see what people’s response is, so we’re ready to launch for the summer season.”
Some of the local businesses that Bex sells her lollies through include Scoops, an ice cream truck parked on Walberswick beach front; Langham Walled Garden in Bury St Edmunds; Suzie's Beach Café in Southwold and Suffolk Wildlife Trust.
Once the wrappers are collected from her sellers and returned to her, Bex’s gardener Catherine will set up a system, where she will take all of waste fruit by-product that is created, alongside the compostable wrappers, in order to create compost that will be used to grow fruit for the next season.
“I think local people will definitely engage with it, and I hope tourists, when they eventually come here, will do too.”
Some of Bex’s most popular flavours include plums and English custard, strawberry cheesecake, orange and grapefruit, strawberry passion and vanilla, and blackberry and pear swirl.
“We tend to do our core range, which is comprised of our Lickety Twists for kids, and our main creamy and fruit flavours. Then what we do throughout the summer, as our fruit grows, is bring out seasonal specials - but it depends on what we’re growing at the time.”
Produce that Bex sources from her own allotment include strawberries, apples, raspberries, rhubarb, mint, blackcurrants, redcurrants and pears. She also forages locally for blackberries and elderflower.
Additional strawberries come from Hillfield Nursery just over the border in Norfolk, extra rhubarb, mint and raspberries come from Langham Walled Garden, citrus fruits are sourced from Mels Fruit in Lowestoft, and the milk and cream are sourced from E S Burroughs & Son.
Even the honey used in some of Bex’s lollies is from her own beehive, managed by Suffolk beekeeper Steve Barrett.
“We also have a lot of friends with allotments in the area, and if they have an abundance of rhubarb, or a tree full of plums for instance, they’ll call us and tell us we can have it if we pick it ourselves. That way, we use as much Suffolk produce in our lollies as possible. My husband has a bakery and knows a lot of people through that, so that’s how that initiative started, and went from word of mouth really. It’s a great way to ensure next to nothing gets wasted.
“Being eco-friendly is in the forefront of people’s minds, and one of the most important issues we’re having to face. We’re only a small company, but if we can do a little bit more, by sourcing locally and improving the amount of packaging we’re putting out. Anywhere we can minimise our footprint will be a huge step in the right direction.”
To find out more about Lickety Ice, visit its website.