The Oppo story
In 2011 we decided to go windsurfing in Brazil. However the nearest airport was 1000km away from the windsurfing destination. It seemed obvious to kite buggy the 1000km, and in doing so break the world record for the longest distance travelled by kite on land. We had never done the sport before, buggies had no brakes or seatbelts, and travelled at 40mph. We were told it was like learning to swim for the first time… by swimming the channel. That didn't put us off though!
Frequently having to drag our 75kg buggies over 30 miles (on sand and through mangrove swamps), we quickly ran out of food. Charlie lost 8kg of body weight in just 2 weeks. A painful diet! (Harry didn’t though. He has a lower metabolism – either that or he was smuggling cereal bars).
We survived on foods naturally growing along the Brazilian coastline, including coconuts and wild super-fruits. These fuelled us to the finish line. Not only were they super healthy and nutritious, but they tasted amazing too.
Completing the expedition and returning home, Charlie became fascinated with the idea of using natural ingredients to make indulgent food good for you without sacrificing taste. Just like we ate in Brazil...
Charlie left his job at Diageo, moved to Harry’s sofa (Harry didn't have a say in the matter) and started researching whether a luxury guilt-free ice cream was possible. Charlie worked tirelessly to perfect the recipe. He was frequently told “guilt-free ice cream isn't impossible” but didn’t agree. There could be no compromise, Oppo would be guilt-free, and taste fantastic. Oppo had to be perfect.
Following 25 months of research by Charlie, 3 different factories, 2 specialized food research centres, 4 grants and many ‘head in hands’ moments, Oppo launched straight into 117 Waitrose stores and Ocado.com.
That was the catalyst for Harry to leave his job and join Oppo full time.
Oppo is now stocked in over 1,000 stores including Co-op, Whole Foods, Budgens, Holland & Barrett as well as hotels, cinemas, theatres, offices, and sports clubs (including England Cricket!).
In January 2015 we became the world’s fastest food/drink start-up to reach target through crowd funding.
There are now 10 brilliant people working on the Oppo team and we are off Charlie’s kitchen table into a real office!
We’ve been lucky enough to win ‘Most Innovative Product of the Year’, the Guardian’s ‘Start-up of the Year’ and the ‘Healthy Food Guide Award’ along with many others.
In summer 2015 Charlie was invited by No 10 to accompany the Prime Minister in the Queens jet to Milan to meet the Italian Prime Minister, showcase the best of British food innovation (and sell ice cream to the Italians!).
In 2016 we launched our new packaging and completed another record-breaking crowdfunding round, going past the £150,000 target in just six hours. 570 Oppo fans invested through the Seedrs crowdfunding platform, including one of our sporting idols… Wimbledon Champion and World Number Two, Andy Murray!
We’re running our next round of investment this month (December 2016). If you want to be first to know when it goes live then put your email address in here.
Given the opportunity to spread the word further, we also appeared on the BBC’s Dragon’s Den. We didn’t receive an offer but we left with what we came for: the chance to tell 4 million people that now they can indulge in luxury ice cream… without looking like you have. Here’s our blog post on the experience.
Earlier this year we won a Great Taste Award (from a blind taste test panel of 400 judges) and received EU approval to call Oppo ‘healthy'. Combined, these are a huge validation that we're achieving our mission to allow people to enjoy sweet treats without compromising on health.
We've just launched a petition because we’re facing an obesity crisis in the UK; National Statistics show that 58% of women and 68% of men are overweight or obese.
For many, price is a barrier to purchasing lower sugar products. We need to remove this barrier and that’s why we’re petitioning the government to cut VAT from the standard rate of 20% to the reduced rate of 5% on lower sugar foods and drinks.
If you agree then add your name to the 2,300 signatures and 15 brands and health organisations who think so too. Sign the petition right now and help make change! (And once signed, spread the word by adding your name to the thunderclap!) #DontTaxHealthy.