Corte Diletto took an innovative approach to product development. The 15-person company was the first to launch sugar-free ice cream – even the concept was called “impossible”. Corte Diletto needed external help to develop the idea but struggled to convince manufacturers it was possible.
Founder and managing director Kalina Halatchev said the development process was tough because lots of people said it wasn’t possible. She relied on self-motivation and advice from mentors to keep motivated and went back to detractors to convince them to try the recipe.
In the end, Halatchev’s perseverance was successful in convincing manufacturers to experiment. The company was able to work with its Stevia supplier and milk producers to benefit from their research and development (R&D) expertise. Ingredients suppliers were happy to share recipes and technological advice too.
Using their expertise didn’t mean outsourcing product development permanently. Halatchev recommends being as hands-on and learning as much as possible if you’re using external contacts, so that you can control the process in the future.
The company called its sugar-free ice cream Coppa della Maga – “The Bowl of the Magician” in Italian. “We thought that if it was impossible, but we did it nevertheless, it must have been magic!” said Halatchev.
Since launching the flavour, Corte Diletto has been developing its in-house R&D capabilities. Halatchev is committed to constantly learning about food and believes that R&D is among the most precious assets of the company.
“It was a huge challenge as I was just starting my business. I had this crazy idea for ice cream without sugar and no one was taking me seriously. All the food experts were saying that it is impossible to make it.
“If you have an innovative idea, don’t let others demotivate you just because they don’t know anyone who’s done it before. Use your judgement for how much external advice to take and how much of it to disregard, and follow your instinct on your way to growth,” said Halatchev.