Coconuts Naturally makes award-winning organic vegan ice cream.
From our base in Cornwall, we’re on a mission to become the UK’s best selling luxury non-dairy ice cream, and to take it to the world by expanding our export business.
In March 2019 our product will launch nationwide in a leading UK supermarket, stocked in more than 600 stores. This launch will be underpinned by a major re-brand, with bolder, brighter and clearer packaging that will help us to try to stand out better in supermarket freezers.
Coconuts Naturally ice cream is made without dairy or refined sugar. We use coconut cream, unrefined coconut sugar and just a few other natural ingredients to create our different flavours. It's thick, creamy and tastes delicious. We've won seven Great Taste Awards and Peter Jones, of BBC Dragons’ Den fame, declared it the best ice cream he’d tasted in the free-from sector.
Coconuts Naturally was founded in 2014 by Cecily Mills, a former M&S store manager. She had switched to a plant-based diet, but missed her favourite treat - ice cream. She found the non-dairy versions available either didn't taste very good, or contained artificial ingredients she was also seeking to avoid.
Across the dairy and non-dairy sectors, ice cream products are laden with refined sugars, glucose-fructose syrups and synthetic stabiliser blends (mono-diglycerides). These stabilisers help to achieve a smooth, creamy texture, maintain scoopability and eradicate iciness. But they often contain trans fats. For non-dairy ice cream, the absence of milk fats makes it even harder to banish the synthetic stabilisers, yet still achieve the luxurious consistency of dairy ice cream.
And that's where Coconuts Naturally comes in, with a vegan ice cream range that contains only natural ingredients, no refined sugar and with no compromise on taste or texture.
Substantial accomplishments to date
An exceptional product.
We have created a vegan ice cream that delivers the texture, creaminess and mouthfeel of traditional luxury dairy ice cream, using all-natural ingredients, no mono diglycerides and with a 2-year shelf life.
An award-winning range.
We’ve won 7 Great Taste Awards across our current range of 5 flavours, and a Gold in the Free From Food Awards.
Mass-market scale up.
From March 2019 a major UK supermarket will stock our range in more than 600 stores.
Proven UK market demand.
Since launching our first two flavours in 2015, we have achieved listings with Ocado, Morrisons and Asda and secured two national distributors.
We are stocked in two supermarkets in Dubai. We’ve achieved product registration in Hong Kong, an 11-month process that enables us to launch there soon. We have started product registration in Saudi Arabia.
Securing our supply chain.
We have established a reliable manufacturing base and now work with two manufacturers (one BRC A rated, one SALSA rated).
Success in the Dragons’ Den.
Our ice cream won praise all-round from the Dragons, and Cecily secured two investment offers. (She subsequently declined an offer from Jenny Campbell following filming.)
Cecily has been shortlisted for Enterprise Nation's 'Female Start-up Entrepreneur of the Year'; she was also a finalist in the NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards.
…And we’ve done all of this on a shoestring budget and with a minimal team.
We are volume-driven business, operating within a growing market sector. Our monetisation strategy rests on expanding sales by developing existing channels, expanding into new channels and developing new products.
We have three key routes to market:.
1) UK supermarkets.
2) International supermarkets.
3) UK food service.
We're focusing on four key areas:.
1) Deliver our 615-store supermarket launch
2) Grow sales with Ocado through increased marketing.
3) Grow export sales with additional Middle East listings and launch in Hong Kong.
4) Develop food service sales channels, with the support of the specialist FMCG sales agency, Product Chain.
In the next few years, we aim to add further UK supermarkets to our listings, again with the support of Product Chain, expand our current listings and try to grow across international markets.
Use of proceeds
Proceeds from this raise will be divided more or less equally across three key areas:
1) Marketing spend.
We need to raise brand awareness with the objective of becoming a household name. Digital marketing will be our main focus, targeting ABC1 consumers in the 28 to 48 age range. We will also allocate funds for in-store price promotion.
2) Working capital.
We will be factoring our larger invoices to ensure a smooth supply chain as we undertake our supermarket scale-up in March. But we want to allocate funds from this raise to build stocks for additional supply chain flexibility to meet demand, particularly as we head into the summer.
3) Building the team.
We will look to add to our current team, starting with an international sales manager to develop our export business.