The Baradene College students who won silver at the recent NZ Ice Cream Awards are planning to produce their lactose-free Mochaccino ice cream commercially, riding on the back of their success.Year 13 students Bronte Gregorio-Hansen, Georgia Robertson, Felicity Rood and Grace Taylor made the only non-commercial entry in the competition. Their brand is “Free”. Georgia was unavailable when NZ Catholic interviewed the girls.
They recently entered the IDEAStarter competition sponsored by the Tindall Foundation and Auckland Council for 15-24 year olds who want to turn their ideas into an actual business.
“We want to see if we can get some start-up funds for our brand. We want to take it up to the market,” said Felicity.
“It proved so successful and we do think it could really benefit people,” Grace added.
The group, who have been friends since middle school, initially collaborated with Tip Top for their food technology project.
“But now, we’re completely separate and we are looking towards commercialising ourselves,” said Felicity. “Tip Top is a big monster of a company and we were afraid our product would get lost.”
The students produced their ice cream as a project in their Food Tech class last year.
Bronte suggested Mochaccino, “because I really like coffee and so I said let’s do that if we are doing a chocolate base. We chose a chocolate base because the fat in the chocolate makes up for the fat-loss when we take out the lactose”.
Of the briefs given by Tip Top, the girls chose to do a lactose-free gelato because they had a food technician with a lactose-intolerant son.
“There is a lack in the market for an actual lactose-free ice cream. By creating our ice-cream, we are allowing people who are lactose intolerant to still enjoy ice cream. And because our ice cream has such an amazing consistency, if you didn’t know it was lactose
free, you would not ever expect it to be,” said Grace.
The students said they did not think their parents knew the extent of the effort they put into making the ice cream, giving up their lunch hours and sometimes weekends to work on it.
“It was quite a process to like find the correct formulation of all the ingredients to produce the result that we got. And it literally took us all year,” said Felicity. “There were over 50 trials of so many different things. The hard work paid off after getting a place in this award.” (The category in which they won silver was “Open Creative — Gelato and Sorbet”.)
Felicity said, if nothing else, she learned to appreciate a good ice cream, a sentiment echoed by both Bronte and Grace. They all laughingly emphasised “good ice cream”.
The students said the project taught them teamwork and strengthened their friendship. They learned to say when someone was being annoying without escalating the situation. They also learned to respect each other’s advice and ideas.
With many failures, they learned perseverance. “The process we went through to make it was kind of how to pick yourself up when things go wrong,” Grace said.
Bronte added they learned to trust each other. “If someone said they would do the work, we knew it was going to be done,” she said.
They said they equally shared the work. They also said they wouldn’t have been able to succeed without the help of their Food Tech teacher Judy Delbridge.
For her part, Ms Delbridge commended the team for working together brilliantly and independently.