We get the scoop on Clapham’s healthy ice cream company Oppo with founder Charlie Thuillier
How on earth can you make ice cream healthy?
I’ve never understood why we have to have indulgent food that’s so unhealthy and healthy food that doesn’t taste good. So I quit my job at Diageo and set about trying to make one of the most indulgent foods I could think of healthy, and that was ice cream. It took two-and-a-half years to get the recipe right but we managed to create an ice cream that has fewer calories and less sugar than an apple. For a two-scoop portion, our ice cream has about 75 calories.
What’s in the ice cream?
We use natural ingredients. We take out a lot of the artificial additives that are usually in ice cream, take out all sucrose and reduce the fat and we use natural flavours instead. For example, our salted caramel flavour uses a fruit called lucuma from Peru rather than sugar and caramel flavouring. Lucuma tastes somewhere between maple and caramel. Delicious.
We hear you have some high-profile fans?
Yes, Andy Murray invested in the company in 2016. Probably the most surreal experience of our career, though, was when Number 10 rang me and flew me out on the Queen’s jet with three other start-up owners and David Cameron to meet the Italian prime minister in Milan. We went out there to showcase the best of British innovation.
Why are you called Oppo?
We are all about opposites, bringing health and indulgence together.
Where are you based?
I slept on my brother’s sofa for two years in Clapham while getting Oppo off the ground. Fortunately I’ve now left the sofa but I still live and work here. My brother and I run the business with around ten staff. It’s a lovely place to be based – there’s a real sense of community and local businesses such as Clapham Picturehouse really supported us, especially when we were first starting out.
Are you sure it tastes as good as the real thing?
When we won the Great Taste Award, 400 judges blind tasted our product and gave it a gold star before they even knew it was a healthy version so we think we are doing pretty well! January 2018 was our best month ever, which is crazy for an ice cream brand.
Oppo is now available in Whole Foods, Asda and Sainsbury’s