Family ice cream company branches out
A well known family run dairy business on the Lizard is expanding rapidly, supported by several strands of Objective One investment.
Roskilly's, at St Keverne, is best known for its delicious organic ice cream. But it is increasing its range of products to ensure year round business and has just launched a new product – organic, pro-biotic yogurt. The yogurt, which comes in natural, gooseberry and raspberry flavours, was showcased at last week's Organic South West show, in Bristol.
The company received direct Objective One investment in 2004 (£166,000 of European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund with a matching amount from Defra) to build larger production and storage facilities and buy equipment. It has also received investment from Objective One gateway fund Organic South West to develop products, including fudge (launched in 2005), Jersey milk (launched in April 2007) and the new yogurt. Other products include clotted cream, jams, apple juice and chutneys.
And now Marco Spiezia has been employed as Sales and Marketing Executive under the Unlocking Cornish Potential project, which places graduates with businesses in the region and provides support for up to one year.
"Part of the reason I am here is to spread knowledge about the business," explained Marco. "Roskilly's is well recognised in Cornwall but only for ice cream. That is good because it means people know we have a quality product. But we have a lot more products which people don't know about."
Marco is also tasked with expanding the business within Cornwall as well as ensuring core customers remain satisfied in an increasingly competitive market.
"The more time I spend with customers the more I realise there are two different markets – Cornwall and elsewhere," Marco added. "Outside Cornwall the word 'organic' can be used as a marketing tool as it means well made and healthy. In Cornwall however many people are more sceptical about organic food so our key words are 'made on the farm' and 'made locally'.
"What we do here is truly simple. We have always tried to make ice cream like you would at home so there are no stabilisers, colourants or preservatives – you just don't need them. Cornwall is changing and people from London and elsewhere are coming down and buying property. Why? Because they remember their parents coming here for holidays and they remember the tastes of food so we try to keep our products like they used to be.
"The yogurt is a great example of that – using our Jersey milk we have managed to make it zero fat but it tastes extremely rich."
David Rodda, Cornwall Agricultural Council spokesperson, said: "Roskilly's is an example of a farming business that embarked on adding value to their milk as a form of diversification when it was not common to do so. The fact that they continue to grow and develop their business and continue to innovate via the introduction of new products is an encouraging sign and an example to others. By engaging with the UCP initiative they are proving that the farming and food industry has a lot to offer graduates and is a positive career choice."
Clotted cream production at Roskilly's first started on the family farm in the late 1950s. The company currently employs about 50 staff in peak months dropping to 25 in the winter. About 90% of those staff live within three miles and return each summer. It is hoped the ambient (non frozen) products will increase the year round business.
In 1998 Marco's family moved to Cornwall from Sorrento, in Italy, when he was 14. He went to Mullion School and Helston College and graduated in Spanish and Management from Bangor University, Wales. His family now run two homeopathic companies: Inlight and M&L Organics.
Within a few days of graduating Marco took the job at Roskilly's. "We are keen to persuade local producers to make what we need and this will help Cornwall's economy," he added.
Andy Phillips, Roskilly's Commercial Manager, said: "Roskilly's has experienced impressive growth thanks to investment through Objective One and UCP; Marco has been an integral part of this, helping us win new customers, improve relationships with existing customers whilst at the same time being heavily involved in areas of new product development and innovation'."
Ben Leonard, of Unlocking Cornish Potential, added: "Roskilly's is a fantastic example of a developing local business benefiting from an injection of fresh graduate knowledge. Marcohas really taken ownership of his project and is already heavily involved in spreading the word about the new products. With the additional training and mentoring that UCP provides we know he will have a dramatic positive impact on the business."
For further information please contact Clare Morgan, Media Relations Manager for the Objective One Partnership. Tel: 01872 223439 /07973 813647. Email: email@example.com.
The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in Unlocking Cornish Potential through the European Social Fund (ESF). Unlocking Cornish Potential is managed by CornwallCollege, a partner of the CUC. Roskilly's has also received direct investment from Objective One via European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF).
Unlocking Cornish Potential is a Combined Universities in Cornwall project supported by Objective One ESF (European Social Fund) investment and run by Cornwall College. More than 70% of graduates have been retained by the employers once the UCP support has ended.
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439