Founded in 2009 and at the forefront of the small batch, artisan ice block movement Flyin' Fox ice blox have reinterpreted the Australian ice block tradition, hand crafting our award winning ice blox's in Murwillumbah, Northern NSW.
Ice Blocks! the company behind Flyin' Fox ice blox are a boutique, family owned ethical business who are seriously passionate about fruit and proud of our relationships with local farmers.
Whilst others may hide their ingredients list on the back of their packets in shame, behind folds and seals, we are proud of ours. Our Organic Lime & Mint for example contains locally produced (Myocum or Kyogle NSW) organic lime, locally produced organic (Tyalgum NSW) mint and even a slice of organic lime. Compare this to the competitors "Lemonade" which does not even have lemon in it's ingredients.
FLYIN' FOX ICE BLOX.
TURNING THE ICE BLOCK WORLD UPSIDE DOWN
Careful consideration of ingredients is important to us and our Flyin' Fox ice blox contain no food additives what-so-ever, no reconstituted juice, no gluten, no tree nuts, no ground nuts, no soya, no glucose syrup, no corn syrup, no alcohol, no eggs, no added salt, no undisclosed “processing aids” , and definitely no GMO derived “ice structuring protein”.
Some of the best fruit in the world grows in Australia, yet most ice blocks sold in Australia are machine produced foods dating from the 1980's. It's a market dominated by Unilever (Streets, Ben & Jerry's) the worlds biggest ice cream manufacture and Nestlé (Peters, Mövenpick) the worlds largest food company. We think we can do something better and something uniquely Australian.
Our definition of "natural" that we submitted to the American FDA: Only made of food sources and by processing method in common use by people prior to 1800 AD (prior to margarine and synthetic colouring) and that have not been identified as dangerous since then.
WELCOME BACK TO REAL FOOD. THE AGE OF ARTIFICIAL IS OVER
Where fruit processing is performed entirely on site we do our best to maintain the nutritional value and natural fibre of juice and pulp by producing Flyin' Fox ice blox in the "fresh frozen" or raw state. With these we aim to convert the sanitized fruit to a frozen juice ice block in approximately 15 minutes with no pasteurization. We use a novel NSW Food Authority approved system for this and are the only legally licenced food processors in Australia that we know of that uses it. Organic Mango & Orange, Organic Orange and the bulk of Watermelon, Organic Lemon and Organic Lime & Mint are an examples of "fresh frozen" products.
FRESH TO FROZEN IN MINUTES
We are a 2015/16 2016/17 certified organic processor, certified through the Organic Food Chain in Australia. Where possible we prefer to use organic ingredients. For example we use certified organic unhomogenised milk and most of our fruit is certified organic: Lemon, Elderflower, Lime, Mint, Pomegranate, Blueberry, Orange, Mango, Cherry, Coconut, Cocoa, Coffee, Sugar. Watermelon is not due to mildew control problems with organic farming in Australia, we get NT or local Watermelons. Strawberry is not due to supply issues in Australia and very poor quality of imported frozen strawberries, we get QLD Strawberries. Cream is not due to chronic supply issues in Australia, we get VIC cream. We hope local organic supplies will develop.
IF IT'S NOT ORGANIC, IT'S LOCAL.
We share many peoples concerns about the openness of our foods supply chain. That's why we have implemented a trial system to identify ingredients to the town and state, of the source farm, for Australian produced fruit e.g. Uki NSW organic Elderflowers. This information is obtained by accessing our database using the on pack QR code for your ice block.
Because we only produce single served ice creams or ice confections we fall under two unique FSANZ Food Standard Codes (184.108.40.206.(1).(i) and 220.127.116.11.(a)) that exempt us from a best before dates and lot numbers. We have chosen to keep lot number for traceability but decided to drop using a best before date as the real determinant of whether our ice blocks are safe and merchantable is that they have been stored correctly. You can tell that by looking at them. If they have melted their quality is compromised. We object to the practice of opaque packaging for our class of goods which does not allow purchasers to see what they are buying.
THE FRUIT, THE WHOLE FRUIT, AND NOTHING BUT THE FRUIT.
NO ADDED SUGAR
Back in 2009, with our first products manifesto, we saw the need for reducing sugar in our diet and limited the total sugars % in our products to that of; “a ripe banana of a similar weight” and portion size to 57 mL. It’s great to see the World Health Organisation latest 2015 dietary guidelines “Sugars intake for adults and children”, press release, bulletin start to catch up.
"New WHO guideline recommends adults and children reduce their daily intake of free sugars to less than 10% of their total energy intake. A further reduction to below 5% or roughly 25 grams (6 teaspoons) per day would provide additional health benefits. The WHO guideline does not refer to the sugars in fresh fruits and vegetables, and sugars naturally present in milk, because there is no reported evidence of adverse effects of consuming these sugars."
As you can see we exist in the no-mans land of this guideline with our minimalistic strategy towards processing. Many of the rightful objections to processed food simply do not exist in our products. We are also of the opinion that if your going to have a treat, it should be the best possible and what better time to do it than with friends and family on outings (you won’t find us at Coles, Aldi or Woolworths). Hence our focus on the single serve market.
The Australian dietary guidelines recommend ½ serve of fruit for toddlers (1-2) rising to 2 serves of fruit for 9 year olds onwards. A serve of fruit is approximately 150g (350kJ). A small glass (125mL ½ cup) of 100% unsweetened fruit juice can count as a daily fruit serve, as part of a balanced diet. At 57 mL our ice blocks are just under ½ a serve and again due to our minimalistic processing approach, etc. can be consumed more regularly than 100% juice. Only half of Australian adults reach the recommended daily serves of fruit.
Ideally we would not like to add refined sugars to any Flyin' Fox ice blox. Some fruits and juices are naturally sweet enough with their "intrinsic sugar" to enable us to achieve this goal. Organic Mango & Orange, Organic Orange, Organic Pomegranate & Blueberry and Organic Cherry are examples of this. Others require minimalistic enhancing, with for example our own in house organic Lime zest syrup, to make a balanced, palatable experience when cold e.g. Watermelon. Chocolate is naturally very bitter and milk will never be able to fully balance that.
There is disingenuous misinformation in the industry with manufacturers claiming products are "sugar free" when syrups or "nectars" such agave syrup (approximately 75% sugar), coconut nectar (approximately 75% sugar), honey (approximately 82% sugar) or even dried dates (approximately 67% sugar) have been used as sweeteners. When we say "no added sugar" it’s not "sugar free", it means the fruit was sweet enough and no sweetening of any kind has been used. Organic Orange, Organic Orange with Mango, Organic Pomegranate & Blueberry and Organic Cherry are entirely sweetener free.
Our entire retail range is low Calorie: 21-46 Cal non-dairy; 70-146 Cal dairy-based. Please see our retail menu for individual product details. Sized to 57 mL our market research conducted in Sydney indicated this size offered the best portion control.
Our definition of added sugar: If an ingredient of a product contains sugar and it’s not a named ingredient in the title of the product i.e. Fig roll (27% Fig) then it’s "added sugar".
NO ADDED SUGAR. OUR FRUIT IS SWEET ENOUGH!
NO FOOD ADDITIVES WHAT-SO-EVER
We have an extreme no food additive whatsoever policy. That's all of them (natural and artificial) i.e. E100 to E1599 and FSANZ food additives 100 to 1522 inclusive. i.e. no acids, acidity regulators, anti-caking agents, anti-foaming agents, antioxidants, bleaches, colours, emulsifiers, firming agents, flavour enhancers, flavour solvents, foam stabilisers, foaming agents, gelling agents, glazing agents, humectants, improving agents, packaging gas, preservatives, propellants, raising agents, resolving agents, sequestrants, stabilisers, sweeteners and thickening agents.
This is possible because we freeze very quickly and keep Flyin' Fox ice blox frozen. There is no need for flavour enhancers if you use enough correctly ripened fruit and many fresh fruits have more than enough natural antioxidants if processed quickly. We also hold the opinion that if its natural ice crystals form, that's how the Flyin' Fox ice blox should be (avoiding gums, thickeners and “ice structuring proteins”).
Many of the ingredients companies like Nestlé (Peters, Mövenpick) and Unilever (Streets, Ben & Jerry's) use, such as the emulsifier Guar Gum (Guaran, E412) or Agar (E406), are added to make possible the shipment, storage and efficient mass production of iced confectionery. We reject that rationale and add only what is entirely necessary for a recipe.
Our citrus tastes are derived from real citrus fruit. If you see “natural” citric acid (E330) as an ingredient it comes from an industrial process using the Aspergillus niger or black mould fungus. Citric acid was the first food additive that was produced on a large scale biotechnically. Commercial production of citric acid started in 1919 by Pfizer by the surface fermentation of A. niger on sugar. Genetically modified A. niger exists and is utilized to obtain higher yields but manufacturers regard its usage information as proprietary.
The only colouring we use comes from the ingredients that are a necessary part of the recipe for our Flyin' Fox ice blox Many companies can and do add “natural” E120 Carmine (pink, red or purple) for example. However we don't believe Mexican cactus dwelling cochineal insects (Coccus asctis) are an entirely “natural” ingredient of any of the products it appears in. Natural is when we use red or pink stalks for a rhubarb for example or fresh red strawberries.
Some artificial colourings with proven problems, are still in use in Australia and NZ when they are banned in many other countries. For example E122 Azorubine / Carmoisine (red) is banned in USA, Canada, Japan, Norway, Sweden, UK and is being phased out in the EU. Azo dyes generally have been known to be carcinogenic for over 45 years.
CHEFS NOT CHEMISTS, FOOD NOT CHEMICALS, AND NEVER AN ADDITIVE NO MATTER WHAT EXCUSE THERE IS
ICE STRUCTURING PROTEIN & PROCESSING AIDS
On 24 November 2005 Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) approved Unilever's (Streets) application to use genetically modified yeast to grow “ice structuring protein”, more correctly Type-3 ice-structuring protein HPLC 12, with a gene from the ocean pout (Macrozoarces americanus) fish and use it to improve the consistency and storage properties of its ice creams. Between 2003 to 2007 Unilever (Streets, Ben & Jerry's) sold more than 47 thousand litres of ISP containing ice cream confectionary in Australia and New Zealand. (The EFSA Journal (2008) 768, 1-18) Since FSANZ approved it as a “processing aid” it does not even require labelling as an ingredient.
FEED THE COWS NOT LANDFILL
Finally what do we do with Watermelon, Organic Lemon, Organic Lime & Organic Orange skins? Feed them to a local farmers calfs. You have never seen a herd move so fast as when 200 kg of Organic Orange rinds hit the turf. Gone in 5 minutes of pure indulgent joy.
Flyin' Fox ice blox are not packaged in plastic they are wrapped in a marine safe, compostable cellulose film derived from wood pulp. This film has passed the internationally recognised tests to confirm full biodegradability in in marine and waste-water environments and home compost heaps. Normal plastic degrades in sunlight by slowly breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces of plastic. Thus plastic which hasn't either been recycled or burnt still exists somewhere in the enviroment.
Most of us recycle and put things in bins, but lets face it packaging for this kind of product does not always get disposed of properly and much of that end up spoiling our natural environment, in some cases for hundreds of years. We don't believe that's acceptable when compostable films are available which are designed to bio-degrade to natural nutrients in a year. Just because our packaging is compostable however does not mean you should be irresponsible with litter. What it does mean is that those accidents that do happen don't have long lasting consequences.
Flyin' Fox ice blox pioneered the use of this film for frozen food. We were the second user of the film in Australasia (first being Gingerbread Folk) and were the first to use it for this type of application. The aim is that no animals marine or otherwise will be killed or maimed with this packaging.
THIS PLANET CAN PROVIDE FOR HUMAN NEED, NOT HUMAN GREED.
NSW Food Authority licenced and following a HACCP food safety plan, we make significant effort to ensure Flyin' Fox ice blox are a safe and a pleasing experience and strive to maintain and improve flavour and ingredient quality. But because Flyin' Fox ice blox are hand crafted and natural their appearance does vary. This is how they are meant to be. You can also expect to encounter whole fruit, fresh juice, real fruit slices, chunks of fruit, fruit pulp, fruit skin, zest, rind, seeds, pits, etc... It comes down to either multinational machine made chemical concoction or hand made from local and or organic ingredients, it's your choice.
HAND CRAFTED FROM NATURE IN MURWILLUMBAH, NSW.
Our Flyin' Fox ice blox are divided in two main categories; milk (organic milk or organic milk and cream) and juice (fruit juice, pulp and often slices of real fruit. i.e. as much of the edible, tasty and healthy parts of a real fruit as possible). Juice flavours are vegan friendly and milk based are (lacto) vegetarian friendly. We operate a retail menu of eleven popular flavours.
Flyin' Fox ice blox are juiced, frozen and wrapped in Murwillumbah, Northern NSW by Ice Blocks! ABN 37 732 820 605
Unit 4, Building 6,
87-95 Quarry Rd,
PO Box 446,
Benna on 0406 075 266 for wholesale enquiries
Brook for sales and orders on 02 6672 2257
or to get more information.
We sell through a widening variety of health food shops, organic shops, patisseries, delicatessens, grocers, kiosks and cafes in north eastern NSW, Sydney, Melbourne, the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Cairns, Adelaide, Brisbane and even now Alice Springs.
Can’t find us at your local? Let them know about us and let us know about them; if it works out you may get a box or two as reward!
The Australian use of the term ice block is peculiar to Australia and New Zealand. From newspaper records it is possible to see the term used to describe frozen water from the size of an ice cube to an ice berg. It is with little surprise therefore that journalists in 1879 applied the term as a description of frozen fruit used to demonstrate the “refrigerating apparatus” of the new Strathleven steamship. The success of this vessels subsequent first frozen shipment from Australia to the UK probably cemented the terms use for iced confectionary as refrigeration became more common.
The heyday for the ice block as confectionery, in terms of word usage frequency in newspapers, appears to date to around the 1930's. This coincides with freezers starting to become available to retail outlets often fitted with "ice block makers". The general expense of refrigeration at that time made such confectionery a prestigious treat. GST and it’s precursor Federal Sales Tax specifically on ice blocks of 20% dates from that time (October 30, 1941).
Unfortunately the early industry was poorly regulated which resulted in a number of food safety and adulteration issues. This lead to the success of larger manufacturers who made food safety and “hygienic factory conditions” a priority and who's early advertising was based around that.
The Australian term has recently been regarded as a word which is dropping out of common usage. Lets hope we can revitalise this small niche of Australian culture.