Modern consumers are increasingly looking to choose better-for-you options when it comes to their food habits, and part of this journey often involves reducing their sugar consumption, but not when the overall taste of the product is compromised or changed.
A recent 2021 report highlighted that 40% of global consumers claim to make conscious attempts to moderate their intake of sugary foods. The same report states that 66% of consumers who said they were taking steps to boost their immune health, were also reducing their sugar intake, showing us that shoppers are making themselves increasingly more aware of the sugar content of foods.
We spoke with Vincent Harvengt, Managing Director & Co-Founder of GLACES FRANKLIN, a Belgian brand that caters to this consumer need for healthier indulgences, through their locally-sourced range of artisanal ice cream that focuses on rediscovering the authentic taste of their ingredients, by reducing the quantity of sugar in their recipes.
The Authentic Taste of Ice Cream
When Franklin, a Master ice cream maker from Belgium, noticed that the large quantity of sugar used in many ice cream recipes at the time was, in fact, damaging the flavour and making it taste less authentic, he set out with his business partner, Vincent, to create an exceptionally tasty ice cream without any added sugar, so as to maintain the authentic taste of their final product.
Experimenting with creating the perfect ice cream formulation since 2011, Franklin and Vincent were eventually able to produce a light, smooth ice cream recipe with an authentic, aromatic and delicious flavour that would be attractive and more inclusive to a wider range of customers. Their recipes are created based on continuous in-depth research into local market trends and consumer needs.
This research has resulted in GLACES FRANKLIN’s Founders creating an award-winning, artisanal product range - they were officially recognised by the Federal Belgian State as “Belgian Artisan” in 2017. A brand that is defined as ‘artisanal’ is one that ensures that every single ingredient is not standardised, nor necessarily directly available on the market. Behind each ingredient are rigorous tests, research, and trials to ensure quality, as well as the incorporation of artisanal ways of working, which are often much more complex and carried out in smaller batches than traditional methods of production. For example, the GLACES FRANKLIN team make sure to allocate time for tasting the recipe at each production stage to ensure they achieve the highest quality end product. This plays a role in reaching the authentic taste they require.
The brand is successfully built through a combination of local supplier partnerships; the use of high-quality and premium ingredients which lead to an improved taste profile while being lower in calories, fat content, and sugar; and is also presented in 100% recyclable packaging. The only sugar included in their products is the sugar contained in the lactose and fruit inclusions which typically comes to no more than 5% of the product’s nutritional value. The choice to keep sugar content to a minimum plays a large role in achieving the authentic taste of their ice cream that consumers adore.
Better Ingredients Lead to Better Nutrition
The Company is still under ownership by the original Founders and their families, and they operate with a continuous improvement mindset in order to always search for the best quality ingredients and recipe combinations to make sure they are consistently improving as they grow. This outlook has enabled them to work towards achieving an ‘A’ on the Nutri-Score scale and a ‘Good to Excellent’ on the Yuka scale of measurement, which guarantees the quality of their ingredients.
Currently, GLACES FRANKLIN’s product portfolio consists of two premium ranges: The Classics, and The Belgians. Flavours in The Classics range include: Bourbon Vanilla of Madagascar, Pure Belgian Chocolate, Creamy Summer Strawberry, and Roasted Coffee, while the Belgians flavours include: Belgian Babelutte, Sorbet Kriek, Belgian Speculoos, and finally, Belgian Cuberdon. Each product is available in two retail formats: a 400ml pint and a 100ml tub with a spoon inside. You will also find a 4*100ml mixed flavours box which consists of 1 box of Classic flavours and 1 box of Belgian flavours, spoon included.
GLACES FRANKLIN ice cream can currently be found in more than 900 retail stores across Belgium, but they are open to the possibility of entering the foodservice channel should the right opportunity arise in either their domestic market or abroad. Their goal is to grow slowly and steadily in order to maintain their ethos and values surrounding ingredient quality and local partnerships, as opposed to seeking growth for profit.
The GLACES FRANKLIN brand is strongly centred around building a product range with positive nutritional values and locally sourced ingredients so as to minimise their environmental impact.
When the pandemic began, the team were able to see the long-term benefits of choosing to build their brand in a more responsible way, and confirm that their past decisions surrounding the brand’s values and ethos were relevant and ahead of trends at the time the decisions were being made.
“The impact of Covid meant that brands who sourced their products internationally found that it was difficult or impossible to continue production during lockdown, whereas thanks to our local sourcing strategy, we were able to continue as normal and did not suffer from any ingredient shortages during the entire pandemic.”
From the beginning, the Glaces Franklin team chose to work solely with local producers and suppliers, and select only the highest quality and nutritious ingredients with the goal of not only increasing the nutritional value of their ice creams, but also reducing their carbon footprint.
Part of their journey towards creating a truly authentic-tasting product is in maintaining their connection with nature and where each ingredient comes from. For example, the milk used in Glaces Franklin’s ice cream is collected from local farm’s cows in the morning and pasteurised on the same day to maintain the highest quality and taste.
Working with local suppliers is a socially responsible strategy that the brand strongly intends to continue in the future, even as they expand into other markets.
“We plan to work with local producers in each country as our brand grows. We won’t work with other producers just to ensure a lower price.”
How can the INNODELICE network support GLACES FRANKLIN’s growth?
GLACES FRANKLIN are in a state of innovation-readiness and are constantly on the lookout for new flavour or format possibilities as well as ideas for limited editions to suit the local market. Previous limited edition innovation examples have included Belgian Champagne and Christmas Log flavours around Christmas and New Year’s. The Company is open to innovation conversations with new partners in export markets and are able to customise their recipes to suit your local market tastes and preferences.
The GLACES FRANKLIN team are also open to conversations from new partners in export markets, specifically those bordering their domestic market of Belgium. They are particularly interested in speaking with category managers or specialised wholesalers who are looking to introduce a new brand to their local territories. To those who are looking to invest in the GLACES FRANKLIN brand abroad, the team will be able to help you with regards to strategy design and marketing to ensure consistency and quality control across markets.
How to start collaborating with GLACES FRANKLIN?
If you can see potential collaboration opportunities between the GLACES FRANKLIN team and your brand, we would be happy to facilitate an introduction so that you can discuss further. We invite you to learn more about the GLACES FRANKLIN brand here on our website, and if you are interested in discussing potential partnership opportunities together, you can reach out to Nicolas on firstname.lastname@example.org or Andrea on email@example.com so we can connect you.
Founded by former executives in the Ice Cream industry, INNODELICE aims to create a worldwide ecosystem of solutions within the frozen dessert industry. Thanks to the relationships fostered by INNODELICE, manufacturers, brands, importers, distributors and suppliers can discover, buy and sell solutions to GROW their business. These solutions include co-manufactured and branded products as well as innovative and competitive ingredients, packaging and services. Our collaboration model generates lower costs and fewer risks for our participating partners while optimising their time to market. To learn more about INNODELICE, contact Nicolas MARIE (firstname.lastname@example.org), Andrea MONTREUIL (email@example.com) or visit www.innodelice.com.