Licking good $4 frozen ginger nuts

The Americans turned the Oreo creme, a national favourite sandwich cookie into another big winner – a national favourite ice cream flavour.

So some Bay of Plenty students figured if it can happen there, it can happen here.

The young enterprise group called Crunch - from John Paul College in Rotorua - have taken the iconic ginger nut biscuit and morphed it into an ice pop on a stick.

“At least one ginger nut in every ice cream,” promises Thomas Firth, a young man with a bent for business, biscuits and ice cream.

Crunch is part of a national competition for Year 12 and 13 students. It involves creating a company, in this case Crunch, and producing and selling a product.

“So far we have invested over 120 hours developing the ginger nut and apple recipe,” says Thomas. And many, many more dollars.

But why ginger nut?

“We tried feijoa but it oxidises, goes brown and loses its niceness. We tried blood orange, but in the end we stuck with ginger nut with apple puree as a base so we don’t have to add any extra sugar.”

That showed acumen because after their first run of 1500 ginger nut ice creams the tastebuds have reacted positively. They brought them to the Tauranga food show, their first public outing, and Tauranga liked them. They sold 400.

“At $4 an ice cream, our product is a bit more expensive than Tip Top,” says Thomas. “But ours is a boutique ice cream, it costs more to make with better ingredients.”

Seems most people at the show were sceptical at first.

“But when we told them it tasted exactly like a ginger nut, they bought one. If you like ginger nuts, you will like our ice cream. They really enjoyed them so that was cool.”

But ginger nut ice cream had uncertain beginnings.

“We started day one of term one, every lunchtime in the kitchen at school. But when we took a sample to our mentors and advisors, frozen pops manufacturer Dr Feelgood, they weren’t sure about it.

“They said you need to work on this and that. They gave lot of good advice.” Afterall, Dr Feelgood have won several national awards.

But the young entrepreneurs from John Paul College, Thomas, Brianna Donlon, Jared Sinclair and Britney Ore, had faith in their idea. They went back to school and tweaked and refined, one gram at a time here and one gram at a time there.

“There was quite a bit of disagreement to begin with. Then one day we hit on a recipe which we all agreed on and it tasted pretty good. Since that point we have been building on it – adding a bit more ginger extract or decreasing it.”

Now even Dr Feelgood is feeling very good about the product.

They need to sell five hundred to cut even on the first run. They’re confident of doing that at the Rotorua Home Show. After that they’ll re-invest in the next run and build distribution.

“We are negotiating with a couple of stockists in Rotorua. Then we will go to stockists right around the Bay of Plenty to sell on our behalf.” Bold ideas but long term prospects are unclear.”

Team Crunch is focussed on the Young Enterprise nationals in December. “But hopefully we will keep it going.” Rush Munro, Kapiti, Tip Top, Deep South, Dr Feelgood and now “Crunch”.

The young talent is muscling in on the market. 

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