Friends Tom Holden and James Crow are the men behind premium New Zealand ice block range Nice Blocks and dairy alternative range Little Island Coconut Creamery. Holden talked to the team about creating summer treats, refining the brand and overseas interest.
What is your company background, how did you start the business?
“James and I started our business back in 2010. We started making Nice Blocks in the back of the kitchen at a Point Chevalier café at night. We had some moulds that we bought off eBay and a semi-commercial stand-up freezer. We would hand squeeze all the fruit and mix it up in a 10lt pot. It took us a week to make 200 blocks. It now takes five minutes. After a few good summers and cold winters, we thought about things we could do to sustain the business through winter. Little Island Coconut Creamery was born. We progressed with that the same way we did the blocks and it grew very quickly, while also taking some of the seasonality out of the business. Today we supply both major supermarket chains along with all the specialty and organic stores with our coconut ice cream and milk ranges.”
What are the current product range and variants and how do these products stand out in the market?
“The Little Island product range currently consists of our dairy free coconut ice cream along with our naturally flavoured dairy free coconut milk.
Our 380ml milk includes Coffee, Chocolate, Strawberry, Banana and Original. The 1-litre milk includes Original and Chocolate. With 475ml coconut ice cream including; Chocolate, Vanilla Bean, Mango, Banana and Coconut Caramel. All our products are gluten-free, dairy free and vegan.”
Has there been any recent company news?
“The recent launch of our 380ml coconut milk range has quickly exceeded our expectations locally and has already garnered a lot of overseas interest, particularly Australia and Singapore.”
What are the plans for the business moving forward, is there any expansion on the horizon?
“This year for us is all about refining our brand and getting a few notches on the board with export opportunities. Currently, we are exporting into New Caledonia, Samoa, Rarotonga, Tahiti, Fiji, Australia and Singapore. We are looking to build these markets up and also investigate the USA.”
Where are your products currently available to buy, and are you looking at or wanting to expand your availability? If so, where would you like to see the product situated?
“Currently, we are sold in most good supermarkets and specialty stores nationwide. We would like to expand our milk range into more impulse driven outlets like petrol stations.”