Top model joins host of celeb fans for Cork-made low-cal ice cream
The world's most famous male supermodel David Gandy has invested in a Cork-made high-protein ice cream brand that has already won One Direction and Richard Branson as fans.
Wheyhey ice cream's pint pots contain a mere 165 calories and are high in protein, low in fat and without added sugar, giving them a unique selling point in an era of diabetes and obesity concerns.
The business was started less than a year ago by Cork native Damien Kennedy and his second generation Irish mate Greg Duggan. The pair are based in Britain but the ice cream is made in Ireland.
They began making the product in their London flat, and Wheyhey is now stocked in Holland & Barrett, by major online retailer Ocado and in hundreds of independent gyms and healthfood stores.
The pair will seek new investment of between €500,000 and €1m to finance further growth in the British and European markets and for a serious look at entering the US. They are also seeking a food retail/launch-savvy business partner.
"From January to November this year, we're expecting to do around €3m in sales. From a standing start 10 months ago, we've grown pretty quickly," said Kennedy.
Wheyhey has shifted half a million pots since launching in April and aims to multiply that sales volume this year.
Things really took off when the brand won the Virgin Pioneers award programme -- a prize for innovative new products. "Part of the prize was to be topline sponsors at the V music festival," said Kennedy. "We hung out backstage in the celebrity lounge and that's where we met David Gandy. He fell in love with the brand and said he would really like to be involved."
"With David we did a lot of stuff at London fashion week. All the top global models were eating our ice cream."
The ice cream is sold in Britain, Ireland, the Middle East and Iceland and Russian stockists will be added in February. Boyband One Direction are big fans. "The guys heard about it and asked to get it on their tour bus -- they've tweeted about how they love it."
As does Richard Branson apparently -- an email arrived requesting a few hundred pots for Branson's Necker Island Caribbean hideaway. Wheyhey recently hired four people in Ireland and the Irish market is a "big focus" for this year.