Reducing Fruit Waste With Ice Pops

Ice Spring come in a variety of flavors made from fresh Taiwanese fruit.

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Taiwan, the self-proclaimed “The Kingdom of Fruits”, is one of Asia’s best destinations for feasting on colorful and exotic fruits. From exotic dragon fruit and wax apples, to more easily recognized fruits such as bananas and strawberries, local fruits are available year round and are usually some of the tastiest in the world. 

A field of pineapple grow in Luye Township, Taitung.
A pineapple field in Luye Township, Taitung.

Taitung’s Ice Spring Ice Pop Company, now one of Taiwan’s most successful ice pop companies, was inspired by the desire to reduce fruit waste while benefiting local fruit farmers. The story begins with Li Ming-huang, formerly a successful Taipei-based plastic exporter, moving to Luye with his family. Upon arriving, they were shocked to receive offers of crates of fruit from their farmer neighbors. The prices they were asking for were far below market price. 

A pineapple grows in a field in Luye Township, Taitung.

As it turns out, overproduction and consequent spoilage were both contributing to hardships for local farmers. While some of the unused produce was being used as fertilizer for soil, the rest was going to waste or being purchased at cost, causing farmers economic hardship.

Ice Spring come in a variety of flavors made from fresh Taiwanese fruit.
Made from fresh Taiwanese fruit, the flavors (roselle and green mango) reflect locally grown agricultural products.

Starting from scratch with no experience in the food industry, Ming-huang and his family set their mind on finding a way to create demand for excess and overripe fruit. They came up with a plan to capture the freshness of these fruits in ice pops. They started a non-profit organization and started buying fruit from farmers at market rate. Today, the company offers a variety of flavors made with locally grown fruits including: mango, watermelon, pineapple, dragon fruit, and passion fruit. 

Having earned the respect of the community and consumers alike, their popsicles are now sold all over Taiwan. But, the most special store is their unstaffed store in Luye. Taking a unique approach, this storefront works on an honor system. Visitors are free to sit down, rest and enjoy local flavors, and voluntarily pay before they leave.

The success of the Ice Spring Ice Pop Company has contributed to better fortunes for Luye’s farmers. Consequently, Ming-huang and his family still receive gifts of fruit but now with the additional meaning of expressing gratitude for establishing a successful social enterprise.

For more information on Ice Spring Ice Pop Company, or to find a brand store near you, head to their official website

For more uplifting agricultural stories from Taiwan, read about the establishment of the Dachu Coffee Farm in Tainan, which grows award-winning organic coffee.

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