#MightyWomanMonday: Charlotte Nield
Contributing to environmental sustainability with banana-based, vegan nicecream
Charlotte Nield is a talented and ambitious young woman who is a lover of chilli; the hotter, the better. She is also a coffee advocate, boost juice marketing specialist, and roller skating enthusiast. She, like many of us I’m sure, dreams of living in Bali for a year!
A few years ago, Charlotte launched a business called Wild & Whipped, which provides outrageously nutritious, banana-based, vegan nicecream. This is something that will be on our radar as we trek towards sun, beach and sand season. Wild & Whipped is a plant-based, minimal-waste 'nice-cream' using fruit seconds that would otherwise end up in landfill (like bananas). All tubs and labels are 100% compostable and reusable, all the banana skins go into compost, and all plastics and glass are recycled.
From the get-go, environmental sustainability has been one of the core pillars at Wild & Whipped - something that is to be applauded! We were delighted to hear more from Charlotte about her ambitious, guilt-free treat, that we can’t wait to sample!
Below are some quick-fire questions to get to know more about Charlotte:
1. What’s your go-to ice cream flavour?
This week it’s our very own Wild & Whipped, Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Nicecream, but it changes all the time.
2. Salty or sweet?
3. Breakfast or dinner?
4. Comedy or drama?
5. You are stuck on an island; what are three things you would bring with you?
Sunblock, a surfboard and a guitar… might as well use that spare time to conquer a new hobby haha.
Was there a particular moment or trigger that started the journey towards the creation of your business, Wild & Whipped?
I started Wild & Whipped two years ago as a Bachelor of Business student with a passion for healthy food and a killer sweet tooth. Banana nicecream was my go-to student meal at the time - a delicious and genuinely good-for-you frozen treat that is 100% plant-based with no refined sugars, artificial ingredients or any other junk. I was disappointed to find that this tasty and nutritious treat was nowhere to be found in stores. If you’re busy or out and about without pre-frozen bananas and a high-power blender, there’s no nicecream for you. That’s when a lightbulb went off and Wild & Whipped was born. Banana nicecream is just as it sounds - ice cream made from a base of whipped bananas. Our tubs are a nutritious alternative to traditional ice-cream, which is generally high in sugar/fat and commonly packed full of artificial additives.
Our products are naturally refined sugar-free, gluten-free, soy-free and vegan, as well as being naturally high in fibre, vitamins & minerals.
Most importantly, our nicecream tubs are extremely delicious and frequently get the “I can’t believe this is made from bananas!” reaction.
From the get-go, environmental sustainability has been one of the core pillars at Wild & Whipped, not only are all of our banana bi-products and packaging entirely compostable, but our products are made from New Zealand’s #5 most wasted food, bananas - we’re talking more than 4500 tonnes sent to landfill every year! This includes bananas which are considered over-ripe or have damaged boxes and therefore cannot be sold to large supermarket chains, as well as the bananas that make it into stores but are not sold in time. Lucky for us, Wild & Whipped nicecream tastes better when we use quite ripe and slightly spotty ‘rescued’ bananas due to their natural sweetness. These are bananas which would otherwise be thrown away by suppliers and retailers. Therefore, we see a great opportunity to not only provide Kiwis with a healthier, fruit-packed, refined-sugar-free alternative to traditional ice-cream, but a fun and tasty way to do our part in preventing the ever-growing global food waste issue.
Wild & Whipped aims to ‘serve as a beacon for the New Zealand food industry by going beyond carbon neutral to be carbon positive.’
Can you share a few achievements or difficulties you’ve encountered with the aforementioned ambitious and commendable goal?
This goal is still in the pipeline! One of our biggest challenges with this has been that our operations and processes are currently changing a lot as we prepare to launch in retail stores. One of the requirements for becoming certified carbon positive is that you must list all of your existing processes, suppliers, freight/courier usage, average waste per week, etc. Although this year has been turbulent for businesses everywhere, we are almost settled with our operational process. This means we will be able to complete the application form for our first assessment shortly! :)
How did you balance completing your final year of university with the launch and creation of your organisation?
I cannot deny that it was a challenge at first. The 5:30am starts and 9:30pm finishes quickly take their toll. Through this, I learned that it is important to step back and breathe, to remember that uni/business is not life-or-death, that each of these opportunities are an absolute blessing and that it is essential to make time for yourself.
Has anyone guided or supported you so far? Can you share who and how they helped you?
I find myself constantly drawing inspiration from a variety of role models such as Hannah Mellsop (young, female, kiwi entrepreneur), the team at The Sunrise Shack (balanced lifestyle, health, small business), and Chia Sisters (sustainable, female, kiwi entrepreneurs). If I’m in a slump, or feeling a little lost, I often find that visiting their social media pages will motivate me to get back in the game. Closer to home, I am lucky to have support from my aunty, Alex. Alex is an intelligent, classy and fantastically curious woman. If she doesn’t know something off the bat, she’ll be sure to learn it soon! This is a trait that I admire and hope to mirror. Alex has been a fantastic support not just with business, but with my studies and in life.
What are the next steps or dreams you have for, or beyond, your business?
We see a great opportunity to increase the number of food retailers in our banana buy-back program. This is where we collect “imperfect” bananas from large retailers who would otherwise throw them away, and use them as the main ingredient in our nicecream. Participating in this program would help grocery outlets reduce their food waste costs and increase their sustainability efforts.
Through this program, we are able to provide Kiwis with a healthier, fruit-packed alternative to traditional ice-cream, as well as a feasible way to reduce New Zealand’s ever-growing food waste issue.
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