Food Innovation Centre


Tambinis first engaged with the Food Innovation Centre for support in 2020, as a start-up manufacturer selling premium ice and gelato poles under the brand Pola. Starting out as a street food pop up in Nottingham, with a traditional ice cream seller's pedlar cart, selling direct-to-consumer, they wanted to develop from just selling frozen products, to selling into retailers as well as setting up home delivery, for which a new freeze at home range needed to be developed.  The company required technical support on strategies for making the new products ambient-stable and safe whilst maintaining quality during transit and shelf life. They were also interested in natural strategies for sweetening their products to keep added sugar content down

The team at the Food Innovation Centre have been really welcoming and helpful since the start. On first meeting Richard he put me in contact with all the right people and made sure I was enrolled as quickly as possible. Alice has been amazing and given me all the information and direction needed to ensure the project is carried out effectively.

Project brief

  • Research and suggest a suitable process/treatment for the products to render them ambient stable and safe.
  • Advise on methods to trial, test and validate the suggested process to ensure a robust process that will deliver a safe product without negative effects on the organoleptic properties.
  • Advise on shelf life testing and microbiological testing methods.

The response

  • Samples of the products were tested for key parameters such as pH in the UoN labs and risk assessed according to composition.
  • Research into liquid pasteurisation processes was conducted resulting in identification of a different product category with similar raw material composition and raw material risk status, from which knowledge could be reapplied.
  • Knowledge on pasteurisation processes was adapted and reapplied to suit the ice pole packs, and a suggested ‘at home’ kitchen method and process parameters for trialling the process passed to the company (ie: to ensure development work was able to progress despite the Covid-19 lockdown).
  • Process monitoring and control tools were developed for the customer to monitor times and temperatures during kitchen trials.
  • Advice was given on methodologies for validating the trial process using both ‘in home’ visual checks and using a commercial lab to test microbiological status.
  • Methodology was suggested for how organoleptic shelf life testing could be carried out ‘at home’ during the Covid-19 lockdown and how browning issues could be avoided.
  • Advice was given to the company on how to implement new critical control points to their existing HACCP plan to ensure they are able to consistently carry out the pasteurisation process safely.

Benefit to the business

This project has allowed the company to test the pH of their different flavours and information was given on what pH levels were/weren’t safe. Furthermore, our work has outlined the steps needed to carry out pasteurisation trials at home (as the company couldn’t access labs during Covid). As well as this, advice was given on the specific tests needed when samples were sent to the labs and some information on how to interpret results. Information was also given on shelf life testing.

Business progress update - July 2022

Tambinis are now a thriving small business, turning over £50,000 and employing two. Their products are stocked in retailers such as: Planet Organic, Daylesford Farm, Spar stores in London and online marketplaces such as the Vegankind. They also sell their products to dozens of independents in the UK and are now also exporting to Iceland.

Related press releases

For details about who to contact for queries regarding the Food Innovation Centre, please visit our contact us page.