Royal Wolf Create 'Ice Cream Factory' in a Container

Royal Wolf has modified a 40 foot container into a portable ice cream factory for Auckland-based business Joy Ice Cream. The mini ice cream manufacturing plant will be based in Auckland and supply Joy’s retail selling “Pods” which are located around the city. There are plans for three other ice cream factory containers – known as “Hubs” - to be produced by Royal Wolf for the Australian market which will be operational in the first half of next year.

Joy Ice Cream, a company which assists young people into their own ice cream selling businesses, plans to locate more of the portable factories in other cities around the world. In the past, Royal Wolf, who specialise in the hire, sales and modification of shipping containers, has customised containers for projects ranging from Pop-Up cafes to retail shopping malls. Glen Millen, Royal Wolf Sales Manager North Island, says the ice cream factory is one of Royal Wolf’s most ambitious and challenging projects to date.

“It was a fantastic opportunity to create a quality bespoke product for a new and exciting business with very specific requirements,” says Millen. Royal Wolf worked closely with Auckland architect Frank Tonetti to ensure every component of the container factory was built strictly to specifications. One of the biggest challenges was building multiple internal rooms in a small area where temperatures will range from -22 degrees Celsius in the freezer to around 20 degrees in the main factory room.

“That’s more than a 40 degree temperature variance within a 29 square metre space which is a big ask,” says Millen.

“And we had to construct it all within a very tight time frame to meet the client’s deadline - because they wanted to start making ice cream. It’s also the first bright pink container we’ve ever painted,” he says. Joy Ice Cream co-founder James Coddington says the container factories will ensure the quality of Joy’s ice cream is properly controlled no matter where it is being sold in the world.

“We aren’t just a bunch of nutty scientists,” says Coddington. “We want to replicate these micro factories and ship them to other parts of the world so that we have control over our product. We want people to experience the world’s best ice cream no matter where they are around the world.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s being sold on street corners in Auckland, Sydney or New York, we know it will taste the same because we have control over the manufacturing process and we control the mix.”

The mini container factories have the capacity to produce enough ice cream to supply 50 Joy Ice Cream Pods per day.

Mr Coddington says the beauty of the containers is that they can arrive in a city and start operating within a week. Also key to the project is the fact the containers are a sustainable, long-term and highly transportable product. Ross McCallum, the guru behind Kapiti ice cream and co-founder of Kapiti Cheese Ltd which he sold in 2003, is Joy’s advisor (aka the “Ice Cream Wizard”).

He says while ice cream has been made and sold in a similar way in the past there has been nothing as sophisticated as “The Hub”.


“This is a totally integrated mini ice cream plant that’s highly transportable to any location in the world, while allowing us to retain control over the product. In essence it is a mini version of an ice cream factory. We churn it in the mini factory, we add the flavour, and we pack it.”

And the ice cream factories are only part of the story. Joy was started by Coddington and business partner Tony Balfour, formerly General Manager at Icebreaker clothing, almost two years ago with a focus on addressing youth unemployment around the world and getting young people into their own businesses. Or, as Coddington and his team put it, “to create one new entrepreneur every single day forever”.

“Nothing’s really been done about youth unemployment and we thought it would be cool to create a brand that reflects the values of youth and at the same time deliver to their wants and needs as well,” says Coddington.

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