Exclusive interview with protein ice cream pioneers
Wheyhey is a new brand of ice cream. What sets Wheyhey apart is that it was one of the first ice creams in the UK market to contain whey protein isolate (15% to be exact). We caught up with Wheyhey’s founders to find out the full story..
How did you come to create Wheyhey?
We (Wheyhey co-founders Greg Duggan and Damien Kennedy) met whilst studying Physiology at Brunel University and quickly realised we had a shared interest in sport and nutrition as well as good food! We came up with the idea of making an ice cream that was both high in protein and sugar free after being denied entry to a cinema as we had pre made healthy food in tuperware! One look around the cinema food offering and we had our inspiration… One ebay ice cream maker and several recipe attempts later, we came up with a high protein, taste sensation using only natural ingredients – we always set out to use the highest quality ingredients that are beneficial to your health. Since then, we’ve found a manufacturer to produce the ice cream on a large scale and created the brand that we all now know and love, Wheyhey! It all sounds pretty simple in retrospect but it definitely wasn’t plain sailing! (to see the full sotry check our website!)
Have you had to overcome any challenges along the way?
Where to begin?! When you set out, you’ve got an idea about what the challenges might be but you can never fully prepare yourself for the numerous rejections and melting disasters! But looking back, we wouldn’t change a thing as the challenges are what make the whole experience worthwhile. Our first real nightmare was right at the beginning…we’d found our manufacturer and secured our first major listing with Holland & Barrett, so the pressure was on to turn up production volumes and get the stock into the freezers. We produced and packaged a whole load of ice cream and we were all ready to go, when the factory freezer decided to pack in, resulting in a river of protein ice cream transforming the factory car park. The whole lot had melted and needless to say we had a fun night ahead of us, cleaning up and starting all over again!
What has the response been?
Brilliant! Can we say that without sounding smug?! Seriously though, we’ve always believed in the product, right from conception, but even with all the conviction in the world there is still no guarantee that everyone else will share your view and vision. We’re pretty fortunate that most people love ice cream, so that’s one hurdle overcome! Moreover, the whole debate around the benefits of protein has really shot into the public domain recently, so we couldn’t have timed our launch better. So those two factors, combined with the fact that our mission is to educate consumers that protein should be eaten daily to maintain overall health, has resulted in a really positive reaction from retailers and consumers alike so far. Given the direction the UK and indeed the rest of the world is going right now with regards to cutting down on sugar and increasing protein consumption, we’re confident that we can only continue to grow alongside this trend.
What is your perspective on the ‘protein boom’ as a brand on the front line?
We are all for it and incredibly excited to see what happens over the coming 2-3 years! Our goal from the start as a brand was to normalise protein and show the Nation that a high protein low sugar diet is the ‘whey’ forward. We are always interacting with consumers keen to find out why protein is so important to their diet and why sugar is so detrimental to their health. Obviously Greg and Damien’s level of knowledge surrounding Physiology and Nutrition is part of the life blood of the Brand so we hope to do our part in educating the Nation on why and what they need to know about the ‘protein boom’.
WheyHey can be purchased at Holland & Barrett, Tesco and online from Musclefood.