How To Start An Ice Cream Business

Tubs of ice cream

When it comes to dessert, there’s no competition; ice cream has ‘em licked every time.

In fact, the overall amount of ice cream sold in the UK each year exceeds 147m kilogrammes, a number that’s set to increase.

So, if you’re interested in starting an ice cream business there really is no time like the present.

It’s a thriving industry, and one in which you can let your imagination run riot – whether it’s dreaming up flavour combinations or ways of making your business stand out from the crowd.

But while you’ll get the chance to flex your flair for creative taste combinations and cool design, you’ll need to switch on your business brain too, so here are a few tips to get you started on your new adventure.

How to start an ice cream business

The business plan

First, you need a business plan. This is a road map that will guide you to success, so don’t think you can skip this stage and move onto the tastier stuff. It will cover your overall vision, targets, and effective marketing strategies. It’s a plan to use if you are seeking financial help or any other kind of backing so it needs to be given a lot of thought.

Do your research

Market research is imperative when it comes to launching a business, as it’s here you will determine who your target customer is and what their preferences are. Thinking of launching an artisan ice cream business? Fine, but is it in the right neighbourhood? The kind of ice cream you sell will be determined by the location for your business, so you need to make sure product and consumer are compatible.

Choose your premises

As we have already stated, where you base your ice cream business is crucial to its success. Remember that selling ices is largely a seasonal business, so you need to either make enough money to allow you to tick over during the winter months. Choose areas where there is a lot of footfall, such as a busy city or coastal town.

Sort out the paperwork

You need to focus on the legal and regulatory requirements including permits and licences, food safety rules and also insurance.

Menu development

Ice cream is a competitive field in the food and drink industry, so you really do need to stand out from the crowd when it comes to an array of tempting flavours. By all means look at what your competitors are selling and then go one better. Include organic or vegan, gluten free or even lactose free options so that your customers feel catered for in a more bespoke way. As a small business you can react quickly to trends, so if Matcha ices are in vogue then you can add them to your menu – and whip them away as soon as demand slumps.

Choose your ingredients carefully

If going down the artisan route, it’s a great idea to use locally sourced ingredients. Not only does this give your product a context, but it will appeal to the growing demand for healthier and more sustainable options. Working together with other smaller producers also gives you the opportunity for some crossover marketing, which will potentially help you achieve higher rankings on social media.

 Invest in great storage

The one thing you need for your carefully crafted ices is a way in which to store them so that they will be at their optimum best every time they are served. At Venturepak, we have all the answers to your ice cream storage needs. Our tubs come in a variety of sizes and have been made from food safe plastics that can withstand the cold temperatures required for ice cream that remains fresh and creamy scoop after scoop.

You’ll need to have enough capacity in your freezer to meet your storage requirements and understand ways in which to store your iced treats so that they don’t become contaminated.


If you’re starting an ice cream business, you really do need to make it stand out from others, and that means creating branding that will resonate with your target customer. Once you have devised eye catching packaging and logo, you can then work out how you’re going to bring it to the attention of your potential customer base. We are talking a major awareness offensive here, so anything that brings your business to people’s attention is good. Printing fliers telling people that you’re open for business is a cheap and effective option, as is creating a Facebook and Instagram page. One thing that is really important for marketing purposes are pictures, so if you can afford it, get a professional to turn out a portfolio of images that can be used in print media and online. Short films of people delighting in your ice cream can also be posted on YouTube. Keep doing this regularly to build up an online following.

Hold an official launch

A new business in the high street should attract attention, so invite the mayor, or stick some balloons outside the premises and offer free tastings to passersby. Try to get your local press over for a taste of what you have on offer, or at least take pictures of the opening and send them to your local paper in the hope of some free publicity.  A good way to foster customer relations is with a loyalty card scheme as well as provide off site catering for parties.

Look after your staff

Kit your staff out in a uniform – it could just be a branded t-shirt but it will make your operation look more professional and put together and ensure that they are trained in customer relations, as people are always pleased to see a friendly face. In this way, you’ll encourage them to return time and time again.