Fat: Friend or Foe?

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Fat: Friend or Foe?

We caught up with Rebecca and Clare Hopkins, sisters and co-founders of Balance Me, to shed some light on the good fat vs bad fat debate. 

Like many good ideas Balance Me was born on a kitchen table following Rebecca and Clare's frustrations at not being able to find a natural skincare solution for both themselves and their families. This spurred the sisters to wave goodbye to their corporate careers, retrain in yoga and reflexology, and in 2005 they founded Balance Me. 

Today their products, designed to bring your skin back into natural balance, have won over 40 awards and celebrity fans include Emma Watson and Claudia Schiffer!

Over to Rebecca and Clare... 

 

 

‘Good Fats’- two serious buzzwords in the healthy food industry at the moment. People are slathering their face in coconut oil and we are eating more avocados than ever, but what actually is ‘good fat’? Isn’t all fat just fat at the end of the day? Is healthy fat really that good for us? And which fats can make us glow?

What actually is fat?

An essential part of our diet, fat is nutritionally denser in energy than any other nutrient. It gives us energy and keeps us going. There are two main types of fat – saturated and unsaturated, and the difference between them is their chemical makeup. Saturated fat can be found in foods such as dairy, meat, pastries and cakes and unsaturated fats are found in nuts, oils, seeds and fish. There are two different types of unsaturated fat; monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat are both unsaturated fats. “Poly” means many unsaturated chemical bonds and “mono” means one unsaturated chemical bond. These unsaturated fats are often found in liquid vegetable oils.

healthy fats image.jpg

Does fat make us fat?

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that eating tones of cakes, biscuits and pastries will make us gain weight due to the high calorie content mixed with sugar in these foods. But not all fat will make us fat; fats take a long time to digest and break down within the body, so consuming healthy fats with our meals will keep us fuller for longer, and curb those afternoon trips to the biscuit tin. However, eating fats and carbs combined with processed sugar will cause a spike in insulin levels and then a crash, producing even more cravings for sugar. We also suggest staying clear of low fat products as they are often packed with sugar, to make up for the missing fat, meaning they won’t help you lose weight but will actually keep you craving more sugar. Having healthy good quality full-fats in moderation, as part of a balanced diet, will help us maintain a healthy body weight.

Which fats will make me glow?

Good fats can lower the risk of disease, make our skin, nails and hair glow and even lower stress. Nuts and nut butter lower blood pressure (especially walnuts), help us deal with stress, and are packed with omega-3. Many nuts, in particular almonds, are rich in Vitamin E, which can make your skin glow and improve its texture. Oily fish such as salmon and tuna, avocados, eggs and seeds all contain healthy fats.

Virgin coconut oil is an ‘it’ fat for a good reason. This magical stuff has anti-microbial properties, helps prevent high blood pressure, reduces inflammation, is great for the immune system and has a multitude of beauty uses, amongst other things! Eating healthy fats is great, but applying them topically to our skin can make the benefits work even harder. Coconut oil is a taking the beauty world by storm. Reap the benefits yourself by using Balance Me’s Super Moisturising Body Oil or Cleanse and Smooth Face Balm. Both of these products contain virgin cold-pressed coconut oil, in its purest form, to deeply hydrate and nourish your skin. 

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Oppo is now available in Ireland!

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Oppo is now available in Ireland!

Dublin. The Cliffs of Moher. The accent. Jedward... Okay, maybe not them. But these are just some things that make us want to pack up, grab a flight, and head straight for the Emerald Isle.

There’s always been one thing stopping us though. Where would we get our healthy ice cream fix? Well, that’s all changed. 

Ireland and Oppo ice cream

We’re stoked to announce that from today (Thursday 11th May), we'll be selling Oppo in Supervalu stores nationwide across Ireland. Find your nearest stockist here

Ever since we launched in October 2014, we've had so many of you ask us to sell Oppo in Ireland and so we've worked hard to make this happen. And why not? There shouldn’t be physical boundaries on who can and who can’t indulge without compromising on their health. 

So, go on. Head down to your local Supervalu and grab a few tubs of Oppo tonight.

Sláinte!

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Too much sugar. Too little imagination.

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Too much sugar. Too little imagination.

Too much sugar. Too little imagination. 

We’ve got a challenge for you. 
 
Head to your kitchen cupboards. Open them up and find the sugariest food in there. Now how much sugar has it got in it? Right, well slash that figure by 20%. That’s better isn’t it. 
 
Well, that’s exactly what Public Health England are trying to do. Last month, PHE released their official 2020 sugar reduction targets. Working across 9 food groups, including confectionary, puddings, and ice cream, PHE are calling on food manufacturers to reduce the sugar content in their products by 20% by 2020. 

Public Health England, 2020 Sugar Reduction Targets

Public Health England, 2020 Sugar Reduction Targets


PHE say that achieving this will be beneficial for both the nation’s health and its economy. And we couldn’t agree more. Whilst hundreds of millions of people across the world suffer undernourishment, the UK is in the grips of an obesity crisis, with a staggering 1 in 3 children starting secondary school overweight or obese. 
 
However, we're not sure if these targets will tackle the full issue of excessive sugar consumption.

For one, it doesn't resolve the problem of inadequate economic access to lower sugar foods, something we've been lobbying the government about in our national health campaign #DontTaxHealthy.

#DontTaxHealthy

And also, we're not confident that these targets will actually work. Let’s look at the facts. 
 
Firstly, what’s the punishment if a manufacturer doesn’t reduce their product’s sugar content by 20%? Yep, you’ve got it. Absolutely nothing. 
 
Secondly, how are the UK’s food manufacturers going to do this? 
 
Within the industry, the popular consensus seems to be to reduce the portion sizes of single-serve products. That’s right. Forget innovation, just sell less for the same price. You can read Charlie’s thoughts on Unilever’s announcement that they were doing just this here
 
Another idea touted has been for food manufacturers to actively push the products in their range which contain the lowest amounts of sugar. A good idea, but we’re sceptical. Large multinational manufactures growing a social conscience at the expense of their sales figures? We’ll wait in hope. 
 
But something’s missing. Innovation. Whilst the UK’s large food manufacturers are happy to discuss portion sizes and marketing campaigns, they’re less inclined to talk innovation. And this is because most believe that reducing sugar content will mean a compromise on taste and texture. Well, we disagree. With 60-70% fewer calories and sugar than regular ice cream, Oppo is Sugarwise approved and proves that great taste and texture aren't reliant on sugar. 

Oppo Salted Caramel with Lucuma


We’re calling on the UK’s food manufacturers to change their mindset. It’s essential for the health of the nation. 
 
Reducing sugar whilst maintaining taste is possible. Sometimes, you just need some imagination. 
 
Until others catch up, at least we can all enjoy some Oppo. 
 
Indulge Healthy. 
 

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Colombian Chocolate and Hazelnut

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Colombian Chocolate and Hazelnut

Introducing… Colombian Chocolate and Hazelnut

Our shoppers asked. And following a year of development and 206 recipes to make sure it's perfect, we have delivered. 

Introducing Colombian Chocolate and Hazelnut.

Oppo Colombian Chocolate and Hazelnut

The hero in this flavour is Colombian Cacao Fino de Aroma, distinguished by its rich flavour and nutty undertones. It has one of the highest quality cacao certifications in the world.

It’s more indulgent than any other chocolate ice cream we’ve tasted, and amazingly contains even less sugar than the other Oppo flavours.

New Chocolate flavour.

We have just made the first batch. It's now on shelves in Waitrose and will filter into Ocado, Whole Foods Market and the rest of our retailers over the coming weeks. Find your nearest store here.

You might have noticed something else too. We’ve got a new look! Find out more about the Oppo sweet spot here.

Oppo new brand packaging

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The Oppo Sweet Spot

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The Oppo Sweet Spot

Our new look just landed.

We created our current designs ourselves. But we knew that one day we would need to improve them to make it clear what Oppo is about: bringing health and indulgence together into one delicious sweet spot.

So we used a little help from our friends at Path, a fantastic group of creative designers. They helped us craft something we love. We hope you will too.

Before anyone put pencil to paper we had several workshop sessions on how we might describe the Oppo brand visually. Here are the resulting mood boards. 

Inspirations behind our new look. 

The ideas of Collaboration and Contrast (between health and indulgence), Challenge and being Disruptive (to the incumbents by creating a new way to enjoy sweet treats without loads of sugar), Passion and light-hearted positivity (we are talking about dessert and delicious indulgences after all), and Pleasurable indulgence were all represented here.

Essentially, we really wanted our new look to show that being healthy doesn't mean eating a compromise.

Then it was about getting the creative geniuses at Path to distill this into a brand design. Many workshops and late nights later, here's what you'll start seeing in a freezer aisle near you this summer...

New Branding Oppo

If you're especially eagle-eyed, you'll notice the logo now sits in an overlap between two circles, like a Venn diagram. This is the Oppo Sweet Spot. It's both health and indulgence. The best of both worlds. No compromise. Dig in.

First onto the shelves is our new Colombian Chocolate and Hazelnut flavour which is now in Waitrose and on Ocado. Find your nearest store here

New branding Oppo

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An interview with our Oppo champion, George Bullard

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An interview with our Oppo champion, George Bullard

An interview with our Oppo champion, George Bullard

First up in our new interview series is George Bullard (follow George on Instagram, Facebook, and via his Website). Explorer, record holder and #OppoChampion, also the only person we know who would spend 113 days in a real life freezer for 'fun'. Find out how he went from his day to day life working in The City to balancing on a phone box in an inflatable kayak for a living...

WHAT AND WHEN WAS YOUR FIRST ADVENTURE?

I was misbehaving (badly) in the back of the car when I was small (5 or 6 years old) and my mother threw me out and told me to walk home – I guess that was my first experience of unplanned adventure…! It wasn’t far and I knew where I was, but it was enough to get me hooked!

My first proper adventure/challenge was swimming across the English Channel at 14yrs old (I was part of a relay team).

WHICH EXPEDITION HAS BEEN YOUR TOUGHEST TO DATE?

My hardest expedition to date was the longest fully unsupported polar journey in history which I, along with my team mate Alex Hibbert, completed at the age of 19 in the Arctic. The distance (1,374 miles), the duration (113 days), and the lack of mental stimulation was something that can’t be replicated anywhere else, not even in jail!

The physical side of life in the freezer was also tough but nothing can really compare to being inside your own head for such a long period of time, especially at that age. We walked for 10hrs 40mins per day, pulling our sledge (mine was called ‘Matilda’) containing all the supplies we would need for 110 days on the ice.

HAVE YOU HAD ANY CLOSE SHAVES?

I've had many close shaves (I think) although I tend not to dwell on them for too long!

The first time I came to terms with death was when I was 16 and we were swimming around the island of Barbados. I was dressed in a stinger suit (to stop jellyfish stings) and was 2 km offshore when the support boat lost me. I was alone in the shark and jellyfish infested waters for 20 minutes, bobbing around in the Atlantic Ocean.

I was also the guide on an expedition where we got attacked by a polar bear. Luckily it wasn’t our group that had the encounter, but it could easily have been.

As an adventurer, I spend a lot of time minimising and mitigating risks, and so although I haven’t been involved in any close shaves per se, I hope that I will continue in the same vein!

WHAT CONVINCED YOU TO LEAVE THE CITY AND JOIN IGO?

It was a pretty obvious choice to be honest and I didn’t take much convincing – it was clear that my passion wasn’t talking to buyside asset/fund managers about equity and debt products that (to be frank) they weren’t interested in either! When my boss caught me in a blow up kayak outside the office having kayaked into work, we all secretly knew that this wasn’t going to fly! IGO (making the ultimate adventures accessible; letting ordinary people achieve extraordinary adventures) seemed to form the basis of everything that I am passionate about and hence why I thought I would give it a whirl – what have I got to lose?

WHAT IS YOUR NEXT ADVENTURE?

With IGO, we're going to Montana in August and Morocco in October, so if you're interested then drop me a line to info@igoadventures.com (Website/Instagram/Facebook).

For me, I am sailing the Pacific Ocean in July (you'll be able to follow) and then I'm planning a few other expeditions; to reach the north pole in Winter, and also to ride horses back from Beijing to London.

George in Oppo shirt

Quick fire…

Expedition specific:

HOT OR COLD CLIMATE?

Cold.

IF YOU WEREN'T DOING WHAT YOU ARE NOW?

I'd be at home in Norfolk with my epic family!

ESSENTIAL PIECE OF KIT?

Multi tool pen knife with a fire stick.

MOST EMBARRASSING EXPEDITION MOMENT?

Covered in human waste on day 3 of a 5-week expedition in Svalbard.

BEST LOO WITH A VIEW YOU'VE HAD TO DATE ON AN EXPEDITION?

On South Georgia (a small island in South Georgia) where we were looking for Shakleton's stove.

ALONE OR WITH A PARTNER?

With a partner. I find expeditions and adventures so much more valuable if shared.

George in kayak on top of London phone box

General:

WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB?

Being my grandmother's gardener for a few weeks!

BEST DATE YOU'VE EVER BEEN ON (OR INSTIGATED...)?

Cooking bacon sandwiches on a fire in a hedgerow, followed by wild swimming in a river – didn’t even get a snog! It was still the best though!

FIRST SONG YOU EVER BOUGHT?

Rotterdam by Beautiful South.

FAVOURITE FILM?

Notting Hill.

WEIRDEST THING YOU'VE EVER GOOGLED?

Cheapest place to get my hair cut in London.

IDEAL WEEKEND?

In the countryside.

ONE THING YOU CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT?

Toothbrush.

TELL US A JOKE?

If I had two goldfish, I would call the first ‘one’ and the other ‘two’… because if one died I would still have two left.

IF YOU COULD GO ANYWHERE- NOT ON AN EPIC CHALLENGE, WHERE WOULD YOU GO?

An unpopulated island somewhere with a few friends where we could live off the land and sea.

WHICH CELEBRITY WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO WORK WITH?

Roald Amundsen (Norwegian Explorer). Although he is no longer alive...

George IGO adventures

At the moment, I'm:

READING: No books right now (I know, guilty!).

LISTENING TO: Little by little (Ulf Nilsson).

EATING: Tribe Trail Mix.

WEARING: Cycling shorts!

WORKING TOWARDS: Getting more people on expeditions with IGO.

DREAMING ABOUT: Writing a book, riding horses from Beijing to London, and reaching the North Pole in winter.

And finally, onto indulgence...

WHAT'S YOUR SECRET INDULGENCE?

Co-op own-brand crisps, and Oppo!

THE PERKS OF BEING AN OPPO CHAMPION?!

Free ice cream for life ;)

FAVOURITE OPPO FLAVOUR?

Salted Caramel.

OPPO TOPPING OF CHOICE?

Horlicks.

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Dare to love dairy

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Dare to love dairy

Dare to love dairy

 

The milk to your cereal. the butter to your bread. The world would be a very different place without dairy. And with all the milk and butter alternatives on the scene we know it’s easy to forget this dietary staple.

In many ways, experimenting and trying non-dairy options is like shoe shopping; it’s fun and sometimes you’ll find keepers ('mylks' have there place), but nothing will replace that pair of boots you’ve always loved. Comparably, dairy-free options may have their own unique qualities but let’s be real, Cheerio’s with non-dairy 'mylk' just isn’t the same.

Luckily, we’re big fans of dairy here at Oppo HQ and when it comes to our ice cream we use only the very best. Our milk is always fresh, from meadow-grazed cows free to roam and eat naturally, ensuring every tub tastes as great as possible.

Milk pouring into Oppo Salted Caramel tub

But in addition to great taste, there are plenty more reasons for why we love dairy and why you should to! Here are our top 5.

1)      Dairy is full of calcium so having it in your diet is a great way to maintain healthy calcium levels. There’s a whole list of benefits to ensuring calcium features in your diet but one of the main reasons is the role this mineral plays in keeping our bones healthy and strong. Our skeletal system carries the vast majority of our body’s calcium and having them properly stocked is important for our bone health.

2)      Protein is king and for good reason. It’s the building block of muscle and the most satiating food group. But you don’t have to be hitting up the squat-rack for protein to be important. It’s key for general muscle health and keeping us satisfied. As an abundant source of protein, dairy is an easy way to ensure you’re taking good care of that precious muscle mass and not nibbling on empty calories all day.

3)      Essential source of vitamins and minerals. We’re constantly learning more about how food makes us feel and we now know that diet plays a core role in our bio-chemistry. Luckily, dairy is packed with a whole bunch of vitamins and minerals including Vitamin B-12 which can help boost energy levels. Who wouldn’t want to eat their way to improved energy, especially when it could be a simple case of eating more cheese… we’re in!

4)      Hold on to childhood memories. When you think of your childhood do you remember all that milk-drenched cereal? Perhaps your parents encouraged you to eat yogurt, and if your Sunday lunches were the real deal then you’ll have had apple crumble for dessert made with real butter and served with cream. Cutting out dairy isn’t far off waving farewell to some of the world’s most incredible flavours. Quite simply, dairy has an important, delicious flavour legacy. Why say goodbye to that!

5)      Sleep soundly at night. Interestingly, the tryptophan found in dairy can be used by the body to create sleep-triggering melatonin, so you may, quite literally, sleep more soundly. We all know how important a good night's sleep is... Pass the hot chocolate please!

Ultimately the amount of dairy we consume is down to personal preference, and everyone is different. ­

As for Oppo, dairy is what makes our ice cream taste luxurious and authentic. We may have taken out traditional table sugar to make our ice cream healthy but fresh milk is a nutritional asset with many great benefits that we won’t be saying goodbye to any time soon.

 

 

 

 

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New research reveals that 40% of young adults can’t afford to buy healthy food and drink

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New research reveals that 40% of young adults can’t afford to buy healthy food and drink

New research reveals that 40% of young adults can’t afford to buy healthy food and drink

Today we’re releasing new YouGov research which shows that:

  • 68% of UK adults find healthy food and drink more expensive than those not marked as healthy
  • A staggering 40% of 18-34 year olds, 30% across all age groups, cannot afford to purchase healthy food and drink because they are more expensive than other products   

It is clear. Price is a barrier to a healthy diet.

What is also clear is that the Sugar Tax will not and cannot solve this problem. Policy makers continue to look at the problem of excessive sugar consumption from the wrong angle.

Don't Tax Healthy Campaign Image

Today’s research is further proof that our campaign provides a workable solution which will reduce the nation’s sugar consumption. Let’s cut VAT to the reduced rate of 5% on all lower sugar products and get rid of the price barrier which so many of us face. 

Please share today’s research amongst your friends and family. We need more signatures if we want the decision-makers to listen.

#DontTaxHealthy

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How to indulge healthily this Christmas?

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How to indulge healthily this Christmas?

HOW TO INDULGE HEALTHILY THIS CHRISTMAS

 

#1 Breakfast of champions- Moma

Resist the urge to skip breakfast or grab a handful of chocolate coins during the busy festive period. If you're crazy about oats, or even if you're not, Moma are your go-to guys for the perfect breakfast. Choose from their porridges, muesli and smoothies. Awesome. 

 

#2 The on-the-run snack – Squirrel Sisters 

Dairy free, gluten free and with no added sugar, boost your energy levels with these tasty snack bars. They're in four flavours - Coconut Cashew, Raspberry Ripple, Cacao Orange and Cacao Brownie. 

 

#3 Natural drinks to keep you feeling refreshed - Sibberi

We all know the importance of staying hydrated but drinking water all the time is boring. Try Sibberi's bamboo, birch and maple waters to mix things up. 

 

#4 Your morning coffee – Sandows Coffee

It was a late night, you’re tired, maybe your head is a bit sore too. The only thing that will get you through the day is a coffee. Sandows is the king of cold brew coffee.

Cold brew is fresh coffee and filtered water, brewed slowly and without heat to extract minimal acidity. The result is a way smoother flavour without the bitterness you usually get in black coffee. Seriously good. 

 

#5 Get that chocolate fix - Ohso Chocolate

Chocolate is everywhere at Christmas. Grab some Ohso Chocolate so that you can indulge without refined sugar and with naturally occurring probiotics. No need to share.

 

#6 Simple speedy smoothies - Pack’d

New year, new you... but it can be a little hard to get going, can't it? Make it easy with Pack’d frozen smoothie kits. 100% natural and with whole fruit and vegetables, these kits create the ultimate smoothie in under a minute. Nice. 

 

#7 Food to fuel you – TRIBE bars

If like us, your New Year’s resolution is to get fitter then do it with the help of TRIBE bars and trail mixes – they’re perfect to fuel you throughout your workout and to aid your recovery afterwards.  

 

#8 A refreshing alternative - Jax Coco

Christmas is a time to be merry. This often comes with a hangover...

Keep fresh with the best coconut water around. 100% pure and natural, Jax Coco is the perfect hydration tool.

 

#9 Fight off the cold - Miso Tasty

We might not get a white Christmas, but it's still pretty cold outside. So if you're in, curl up with some miso - a tasty soybean paste with a deep, savoury taste. Miso Tasty have a range of soups and pastes to keep you nourished, warm and cosy. 

 

#10 Move over Coca-Cola - Ugly

100% natural fruit-infused sparkling water with no sugar, no sweeteners, no calories and no artificial ingredients. No need for any sugar because in the words of Ugly, 'you're sweet enough already!' 

 

And of course... - Oppo ice cream

It's simple. Grab a spoon, pick up a tub and enjoy indulging... healthily. If you're feeling a little more adventurous, check out our Panettone French Toast with Oppo recipe here

Why is Oppo healthy? EU Authorised Health Claim: ‘Consumption of foods/drinks containing erythritol and steviol glycosides instead of sugar induces a lower blood glucose rise after their consumption compared to sugar-containing foods/drinks’.

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Top tips for a Festive workout

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Top tips for a Festive workout

Top tips for a festive workout

Right. Picture this. It's the 27th December. You've just watched Love Actually for the third time, your Grandad has beaten you at Chess (again) and you're thinking the 17th mince pie you just ate wasn't such a good idea. In fact, do you feel a little like this..?

Friends Turkey Episode

Well, we're sure you don't. Honest. 

Plus, you're in safe hands because we've teamed up with Vicky Gardner, a writer and Personal Trainer for premium ethical activewear brand, Sundried, so that you can keep active and feeling good over the Christmas break.

Set aside 20 minutes, find some free space and follow the below exercises. 20 reps of each exercise, 30 seconds rest between each and repeat the whole set 3 times. And then mince pies... and Oppo. Nice. 

Right, firstly make sure you'e all warmed up, we don't want you to pull a (cracker...) muscle. Let's get going. 

1. Squat Jumps

How to: Start in your regular squat position, with your feet just outside shoulder width. Sink your weight back into your heels ready to perform your squat, sink your bum back as low as you can but instead of driving up as normal, jump. Explode upwards using all your strength and then land softly. Remember just because you’re jumping - it’s not an excuse to half rep - make sure you’re still nailing your squat depth.

Grab a tree (or a weight) if you're feeling especially energetic .

Grab a tree (or a weight) if you're feeling especially energetic .

2. Walkouts

How to: Start with your feet underneath your shoulders, bend at the hips bringing your hands to the ground. Walk your hands out until they are directly underneath your shoulders, so you’re in the plank. Try to keep your legs straight during this process but avoid locking out your knees. Complete a push up, before walking your hands back towards your feet and returning to the start position.

Plank position 

3. Skaters

How to: Start in a slight squat. Jump sideways to the left, landing on your left leg. Bring your right leg behind to your left ankle, without letting it touch the floor. Reverse direction by jumping to the right with your right leg. Swing your arms to help build momentum to propel you further. You're ice skating. Each jump is 1 rep.

4. Wide and Close Grip Push - Ups

How to: Start in a regular push up position, making sure you sink all the way down so your nose is almost scraping the floor to complete a true push up. Next move your hands closer together, ideally they should be closer than shoulder width, then, keep you elbows in whilst you push up - you can always come onto your knees if you need to. 

5. Burpees

How to: Start with your hands on the floor at around shoulder width apart in a hand plank position, jump your legs forward towards your hands. As your feet reach your hands,  jump both hands up, exploding towards the ceiling. Bring your hands back down to the ground and jump your feet back into the plank.

Burpee exercise position 

6. Plank Rotations

How to: Starting in an extended plank, lift one hand off the ground and straighten it up towards the ceiling, twist your body to follow the extended arm. Once you reach as far as you can twist, lead with the arm and re twist your body to the original plank position, now repeat for the other side.

7. Mountain Climbers

How to: This move fires up your abdominals whilst keeping your heart rate high. Assume a standard pushup position and run each leg in towards your chest as though you were running off the ground as fast as you can.

8. Bicycle Crunches

How to: Start by laying on your back, then lift your head and shoulders off the ground and twist towards the opposite leg. Crunch the opposite leg in bringing your knee towards your stomach. Remember speed is important here but so is range of motion: make sure your torso stays lifted and you really twist to contract your abs.

Done? Done 3 times? Promise? Great, nice work. Just remember to ease your heart rate back down to resting gradually. Slow down, stretch and cool off... now go grab that 18th mince pie!

Merry Christmas from Sundried.

Sun-dried Logo

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9 Ways to oppo this winter

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9 Ways to oppo this winter

NINE WAYS TO OPPO THIS WINTER

Here are nine ways to indulge healthily with Oppo this winter. Time to get inventive in the kitchen...

 

#1  Keep it traditional and add an indulgent scoop with your crumble, pies, puddings and tarts.

Pecan pie topped with Oppo Madagascan Vanilla Ice cream 

 

#2  Try layering your favourite flavour in a dessert, like these millionaire pudding pots by @maxineali!

Millionaire Pudding Pot layered with Oppo

 

#3  About to pour milk over your granola? How about adding some ice cream instead to kick start your day!

Oppo ice cream with granola

 

#4  Give your hot drinks that finishing touch with a scoop or two.

Hot chocolate Oppo Ice Cream

 

#5  Pop Oppo onto your morning porridge for some extra creaminess.

Porridge topped with Oppo

 

#6  Try sandwiching your next scoop between cookies, pastry or even gingerbread!

Pastry Oppo Sandwich

 

#7  Try baking with it and use it as the custard mix in your next bread and butter pudding.

Oppo Bread and Butter Pudding

 

#8  Keep that body-warming muscle on your frame with some extra indulgent protein shakes.

Oppo Protein Shake

 

#9  Put a spin on your favourite crumble by spiralizing it, and serve it piping hot with a big scoop of Oppo.

Spiralized Apple Crumble with Oppo Ice Cream

The possibilities are truly endless, so don't neglect the freezer this winter! Get creative with your Oppo and, if you have any other cool wintery ideas up your sleeve, be sure to snap them and tag us in on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

 

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Join the movement. #DontTaxHealthy

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Join the movement. #DontTaxHealthy

Join the movement. #DontTaxHealthy

We are petitioning the government to cut VAT on foods with a reduced sugar nutrition claim to the reduced rate of 5%. Click on the Change.org button to sign.

We've got a problem. 

National statistics show that 58% of women and 68% of men are either overweight or obese.*   

It's no surprise either; it's cheaper to buy food that's packed full of sugar than healthy food that isn't.  Everyone loves enjoying their favourite sweet treats, so consumption of sugary junk food isn't set to change any time soon. 

Unless we do something. 

It's possible to make indulgent sweet treats without a high sugar content. Although, it’s not easy. It took us 25 months to develop Oppo. Fast forward to 2016 and we have a product which has won a Great Taste Award, but which also contains 60% less sugar than regular ice cream. Healthy indulgence is possible.

The problem is that it's expensive to make healthy food. Sugar is cheap at just 50p per kg, whereas healthier sugar alternatives such as the ingredients we use in Oppo are as high as £11 per kg. We need to level the playing field and make it cheaper to enjoy healthier products.

Sure, George Osborne is going to tax sugary drinks. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. It's approaching the problem from the wrong angle. We should actively encourage consumption of products which have a reduced sugar content. How? Cut the VAT to 5%. Ice cream and most confectionary are currently subject to the 20% standard rate of VAT.

We say that products with a reduced sugar nutrition claim should be subject to the reduced rate of 5%.

The stats speak for themselves. The consumer body Which? recently reported that a majority of UK supermarket promotions were for less healthy foods, and that 29% of UK shoppers said they found it difficult to eat healthily as they think healthier food is more expensive than less healthy food.** But people want to eat more healthily. Mintel have reported that 57% of people would choose to eat ice cream and desserts made with sugar-free sweeteners such as stevia if they cost the same.***

Sure, fresh fruit and veg is VAT zero rated, but fruit will never be a substitute for the craving you have for your favourite sweet treats. If we're serious about reducing national sugar consumption, we need to work with consumer eating habits, not against them. 

At Oppo we make a luxury dairy ice cream that has less than 60% of the sugar and calories found in regular ice cream. It's also more expensive, because of the high quality ingredients we use in place of the lashings of sugar found in regular ice cream. Adding VAT on top of this expense means that healthier indulgences like Oppo are out of reach of most regular consumers.

It's now time for the Government to get on board and put their money where their mouth is in supporting the creation of a healthier nation. 

If you agree, sign our petition.   

#DontTaxHealthy

 

* The Health and Social Care Information centre report 2015 and 2016, a National Statistics publication.

** The Grocer report on the Which? Report August 2016, The Grocer, Ian Quinn

*** Research by Mintel: 'Ingredients and the Consumer – Interest in Innovation in Ice Cream and Desserts' - June 2015; and 'Attitudes towards ice cream and desserts, by demographics' March 2016. Both reports involved asking questions to a panel of 2,000 consumers aged over 16 in the UK. It's unbiased and the participants had no knowledge of Oppo or connection with us.

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How to make your #Foodporn epic

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How to make your #Foodporn epic

HOW TO MAKE #FOODPORN EPIC

What’s that? You went out for lunch and didn’t take a picture of your superfood salad!? Who even are you 

We’re joking of course. Granted, snapping your meals isn’t the be all and end all, but we do live in a world where taking pictures of everything (and we mean everything) has become common practice. So, get that iPhone poised and ready for its #FoodPorn moment. If you're new to snapping when snacking, we've got some great tips to get you started. And if you’ve already got a portfolio of meals on your Instagram, there’s always room for improvement.  

Here are seven easy tips to help you hone those photography skills

  • Lighting is king and natural lighting at that. Always make sure you’ve got a decent light source to work with. Keep it simple: a large window will work perfectly so long as it has plenty of outdoor exposure. Make sure you’ve either got, or can put your setting directly beside the window pane with no obstructions: that way you’ll avoid any shadows falling on the food. 

 

  • Clear the area. Honestly, the last thing you want is to take a great snap only to see a random wrapper or set of keys has crept into the frame. A few minutes of making sure your space is clean and clear will make a big difference. You won’t be kicking yourself later or hectically cropping out that irritating item you wish you’d removed.
Photographing Oppo Ice cream
  • Take time to set the composition (sounds fancy, right?). You wouldn’t get dressed without thinking and the same applies to photography. Play about before you shoot. Choose the bit you want to focus on (such as the plate of food) and accessorise the surrounding area. This is a great way to balance the picture and add depth. For example, placing some cutlery far back in the frame means you can focus on the main element and fade out the distant ones. Similarly, if your focus is on the bottom left corner then scatter some other elements in the top right. You get the idea. 

 

  • Work with colour. Food looks best when it’s natural (why else do you think they scrapped the blue smarties…). So, use bright and natural colours when you can. On occasions where colour may be limited, don’t panic! Accenting with fresh herbs is an easy way to freshen up your images. There are loads of herbs or leaves that work for savoury dishes. For sweet ones, mint or basil fit well. We often find that a sprig of mint on the top of a scoop of Madagascan Vanilla helps to take a shot to the next level 

 

  • Work fast, but be calm. Sounds like a contradiction but we promise you it’s not. Have everything ready so you can shoot your food as quickly as you can once it’s on the plate. It’s amazing how quickly food melts (we should know!), wilts or just loses that moment of pure indulgence. If you’ve experimented with the layout beforehand, you’ll know what angles work best and you’ll probably work much quicker. It’s also important to stay calm; often the best picture will either be the first, when the food is its freshest, or the last when you’re the most relaxed. 
Photographing Oppo Ice cream
  • The great thing about food photography is its ability to tell a story beyond what it shows. Simply including some of the raw ingredients you’ve used in the dish shows, though subtly, both the natural aspect and the cooking process behind it. Popping two spoons into one bowl tells us something is being shared. Whatever way you choose to do it, think about how your pictures can be more than just pictures of food because it’s the story behind them, as well as how nice they look, that makes them awesome.

 

  • Don’t fiddle. Look, Instagram filters are great and we’re not saying don’t use them, just use them sparingly. If you’ve got a good photo to start with it probably won’t need much editing anyway. As a rule of thumb, we suggest avoiding the set filters themselves (except ‘Valencia’ <3). Instead, up the brightness, accentuate the contrast and add some warmth. You can’t go wrong.     
Oppo Ice cream with Granola

There. You’re officially a photography pro. Okay maybe it takes a few years for that, but you are well on the way. As with anything, practice is the real key so do plenty of picture taking and you’ll discover a style comes quicklyThe most important thing is to have fun with it.   

So, grab your phone, get snapping and if Oppo makes it onto your Instagram, make sure you tag us in!

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Startups Awards - We've Been Shortlisted!

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Startups Awards - We've Been Shortlisted!

Startups Awards - We've Been Shortlisted

Forget Trump V Clinton. And the Bake Off … what channel is it even on these days? Strictly? Fair point, that’s pretty good.
 
But there’s only one contest we’re really interested in at the moment. And that’s the Startups Awards. We’re in the race for Crowdfunded Business of the Year, Innovative Business of the Year and People’s Champion. For the People’s Champion Award, we need your help. It’s an all-out public vote. It takes 5 seconds and you can vote here. To say thanks, just email a screenshot of the ‘thanks for voting’ page to team@oppoicecream.co.uk and we’ll send you 3 x £2.50 vouchers for our Madagascan Vanilla ice cream. 
 
For the other categories, with a 24-strong judging panel of some of the UK’s most successful business-men-and-women, including TV Dragon Nick Jenkins, Cath Kidston and Nick Wheeler, we can’t wait to find out the results on the 17th November. But until then here are our thoughts on crowdfunding and innovation.

Crowdfunding 

Individuals. We like to follow individuals. The brilliant expert. The inspirational leader. Individual wisdom is lauded and celebrated. 
 
But what about the wisdom of crowds? Take Francis Galton’s famous anecdote. Taking all of the guesses at a country fair in a ‘guess the weight of the Ox’ contest, he found that the average guesses of the crowd were closer to the Ox’s true weight than the guesses of all of the local experts. Expertise in comparison to the crowd? Inferior. 
 
And this isn’t an anomaly. In certain areas, crowds consistently perform better than individual expertise – check out James Surowiecki’s brilliant The Wisdom of Crowds – and it is only recently with the advent of new technology, that crowds have been able to effectively used. Just look at the explosion in crowdfunding and crowdsourcing. At Oppo we’ve always used crowds to push ourselves farther than we could ever have gone alone. 
 
We’ve crowdfunded twice and for us, crowdfunding was always about more than just the money. We’ve got 650 brilliant investors. 650 individuals who are some of our most passionate brand advocates. 650 people whom we want to shape the Oppo journey along with us. They’ve been invaluable, helping us with our marketing, to providing advice, and even giving feedback on new ideas, branding and propositions.  

Innovation

Oppo’s mission is focused firmly on innovation. 
 
For too long producers have wrongly believed that health and indulgence are opposites, that they cannot co-exist without there being some form of compromise. We’ve proved this wrong. But innovation wasn’t and never will be easy. Oppo took 25 months to create and we weren’t going to launch a product until we were happy that it was perfect – all-natural, indulgent … and healthy (find out how we're healthy here).
 
Look at other industries. It’s innovate or die. Multiple innovations have made our lives easier, quicker and healthier. But Food and Drink? Sadly not. An obesity crises and diabetic epidemic are realities in modern-day Britain … and it’s not getting any better. As producers, we have a responsibility to the consumer. Food should be nourishing and not damaging to your health. People like to indulge, and why not? Eating clean all the time is boring. We think that working with consumer eating habits and making that indulgence healthier could be the key to turning the tide and improving public health. 
 
Here’s to innovation … the healthy way.

And please don't forget to vote - just click on the button below to get to the voting page!

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We won a Great Taste Award!

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We won a Great Taste Award!

We won a Great Taste Award!

Oppo Ice Cream Great Taste Award Photogrpah

Do you remember getting a gold star at primary school? It felt pretty good didn’t it. Or what about your first swimming badge? And don’t even get us started on your Angry Birds score. You legend.

Well take that feeling, multiply it a few times and that’s us right now. We’re stoked to announce that our Salted Caramel with a hint of Lucuma ice cream has been awarded a Gold Star in this year’s Great Taste Awards.

Each year, thousands of products enter and across 49 separate judging days, 400 expert judges work in small teams to identify the very best tasting products on sale in the UK today.

At Oppo, we’ve always believed that product is king. Charlie took over two years to create the recipes for Oppo, and they had to be perfect; indulgent, creamy, delicious … and healthy. This isn’t easy. Take salted caramel for instance, a flavour synonymous with indulgence … and sugar. We had to think outside the box and this is why we use lucuma. Hailing from Peru, this delicious fruit lends its natural maple and caramel flavour to our ice cream. Welcome to nature’s caramel.

The Great Taste judges’ comments included “the texture of this ice cream is lovely and creamy”, “remarkable that there is no added sugar” and that it “had all the elements – fruit, salt and dairy – refreshing and well-made. An unusual idea well-executed.”

We now join a very small and select group of other ice creams who carry the Great Taste hallmark, and we’re most certainly the only one which can legally be referred to as healthy*. Who ever said that healthy food had to be boring? We know that they were wrong.

So if you’re wanting to see what the Great Taste Judges were on about, go grab a tub of our Salted Caramel with a hint of Lucuma. It’s award-winning don’t you know?

Oppo Ice Cream Salted Caramel

*EU Authorised Health Claim: ‘Consumption of foods/drinks containing erythritol and steviol glycosides instead of sugar induces a lower blood glucose rise after their consumption compared to sugar-containing foods/drinks’.

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Who said 'healthy ice cream'?

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Who said 'healthy ice cream'?

Who said 'healthy ice cream'?

“That’s it. Go on now. You won’t be leaving any leftovers now, will you? That’s it, they’re good for you…” Can you remember your dinner lady saying that to you? We certainly can … and who even liked turkey twizzlers anyway? Thank God for Jamie Oliver.

 

Joking aside, it’s not always easy to figure out what’s healthy, and what isn’t. Hidden sugars. Good fats Vs bad fats. Man-made substitutes. We’ve all heard about it, but how many of us actually understand it? For a consumer, making the right choices can be difficult. Particularly when multiple brands are marketing themselves as being ‘good’ or ‘better’ for you, who do you believe?

Oppo. Indulge Healthy.

Recent EU-wide legislation is regulating this area. This is to ensure that consumers are not misled, and that they have access to correct information so that they can make the right choices.

 

Brands now have to comply with a strict set of criteria if they want to be able to make health claims. In effect, if a product wants to be able to call themselves healthy, or good for you, or anything similar, then they have to meet the conditions for a specific EU Authorised Health Claim. If they don’t, then they can’t say it. Simple.

 

At Oppo, we always want to be transparent. We have a litmus test for this. If we’re not comfortable to stand up and say something, ‘on the record’, to a room full of 100 journalists then we won’t say it. When Charlie created Oppo, product was king, Oppo had to be genuinely healthy, as well as taste incredible. We’re pleased to say that we can officially call Oppo healthy as we meet the conditions for the following EU Authorised Health Claim:

 

‘Consumption of foods/drinks containing erythritol (derived from corn) and steviol glycosides (derived from stevia leaf) instead of sugar induces a lower blood glucose rise after their consumption compared to sugar-containing foods/drinks’.

 

Nice one. Who’s up for indulging … healthily?

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The answer to a green problem

The answer to a green problem

Many ice creams use copper chlorophyll to make mint flavours green. When Charlie developed our mint choc flavour we wanted to use a natural ingredient instead.

So we found Spirulina. It's considered to be one of the world's most nutritionally dense foods, with loads of protein, vitamins and iron. Now you can have your childhood favourite, adult style. 

Spirulina used in Oppo's Mint Choc Swirl flavour

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Drink anyone? Oppo on the sugar tax

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Drink anyone? Oppo on the sugar tax

Drink anyone? Oppo on the Sugar Tax?

Jamie Oliver with sugar bus.

Drink anyone?

Water? Great, I’m gasping. Orange juice? Definitely, my throat’s been tickling all day. Tea? Of course, I’m British.

But what if you wanted a fizzy drink? In March, George Osborne announced a new levy on the soft drinks industry. Dubbed ‘the sugar tax’ and coming into force in 2018, sugar-sweetened drinks (excluding fruit juices and milk-based drinks) with more than 5g and 8g of sugar per 100 millilitres, will be levied at 18p and 24p per litre, respectively.

Campaigners have hailed the new levy a success. These are people like Jamie Oliver and NHS Chief Simon Stevens. But why? Just look at the stats, you’ll be shocked. 1 in 5 children now leave primary school obese and there are 2.5 million Brits suffering with type 2 diabetes (90% of whom are overweight or obese). This is not to mention that sugar content in some soft drinks is inordinately high. Take a 330ml can of Coke. It has 35g of sugar. The recommended daily intake for 11+ children is 30g. I bet you’ve just put that can down.

But is this new levy the right way forward?

I think that most of us agree that excessive consumption of sugary drinks is contributing to the rise in obesity. But will this levy reduce consumption? In Mexico, a similar 10% tax resulted in a 12% reduction in sales over 12 months. The question is whether or not a similar effect will be seen in the UK. Time will tell. 

Does this also go beyond the role of the state? This tax almost suggests that sugar is now in the same league as alcohol and tobacco. Now whether it is or isn’t is a blog post (or three) in itself, but what is clear is that the cost of obesity for the NHS is huge (£5.1 billion per year) and rising.

But regardless, is taxing to disincentivize the purchase of unhealthy products tackling the problem from the wrong end. What about incentivising the purchase of healthier alternatives? Surely this would be better.

What about manufacturers?

Manufacturers profit from the products they sell. Now most manufacturers argue that they merely offer a choice to consumers. However, if their products are having a negative effect on the health of the nation, then they clearly aren’t meeting customer needs. Take Unilever. They recently announced that they would be capping their single-serve ice creams at 250 calories. Brilliant. Was that multiple hours in the kitchen? Hundreds of recipe refinements? One eureka moment? Sadly not. They’ve just introduced smaller packaging. So that’s selling less, for the same price, and all under the guise of ‘improving the health of the nation’.

Charlie spent months creating Oppo. It’s not easy creating an indulgent, yet healthy product … but it is possible. Manufacturers need to create products which allow customers to indulge without negatively affecting their health. Perhaps reduced sales from state-imposed levies will force them to do this. Until then … there’s always Oppo.

 

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Oppo to your door (and theatre seat)

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Oppo to your door (and theatre seat)

Oppo to your door (and theatre seat)

Oppo available on Amazon Fresh UK

Fresh (pun intended) out the blocks this month, Oppo is one of the first to be on Amazon's newly launched grocery delivery service. Launching first in central and east London you can now get Oppo delivered within an hour.

Oppo available in the VIP area of all Ambassador Theatres in London West End.

Oppo is now also available in the VIP area of all Ambassador Theatres! If you're taking your hot date to see Jersey Boys or The Book of Mormon you'll know how to impress them. 

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How does a dried fruit make Oppo so creamy?

How does a dried fruit make Oppo so creamy?

How did we make the nation's favourite flavour more creamy?

We used Baobab. Six times more vitamin C than oranges, more potassium than bananas, and more than twice the calcium in milk. It's the only fruit in the world that dehydrates as it ripens.

As it's full of fibre the baobab super-fruit also makes our Madagascan vanilla thick, creamy and deliciously indulgent without a high fat content. There's nothing vanilla about Oppo - except the flavour.

Baobab used in Oppo ice cream 

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