Pukpip icecream

A perfectly imperfect sustainable snack

Pukpip is a small brand with a big mission: to help customers eat more fruit in fun, delicious and convenient ways. Zara Godfrey, one of the founding members of Pukpip, adored her Mum’s homemade chocolate dipped frozen bananas as a child – and took the homegrown idea to market.

“Our research shows that 9 out of 10 consumers want to eat more fruit. But when they're looking for a snack or dessert, fruit is often the last thing on their mind. We spotted a gap in the market for healthier snacks that also taste great, and launched Pukpip – the UK’s first indulgent frozen fruit brand, offering a range of chocolate dipped frozen bananas. We bring consumers the best of both worlds: ‘real fruit that’s real indulgent’. Launched in Jan 2023, Pukpip is already available in 250 Health Food Stores across the UK, as well as Spinneys & Waitrose in Dubai.” – Zara Godfrey, founder

Pukpip’s chocolate dipped frozen bananas are not only transforming the ice cream category with whole real fruit, but are also eco-friendly – helping to do their bit to tackle food waste at source in Ecuador, where their products are manufactured. Pukpip buys “perfectly imperfect” bananas, which are rejected from export due to small markings on their skin, variation in size, or because there are too many on a bunch, and upcycles them into their snacks. Even the skins are put back into the ecosystem, often as compost.

But this seemingly simple sustainable idea hit customs stumbling blocks.

Female checking the inventory log

Cracking the customs challenge

Chocolate dipped frozen bananas had never been shipped before and had no commodity code, which would impact the necessary duties paid. How to categorise the product and explain it to customs authorities was a complete unknown.

As a small business, Pukpip used external customs consultants – but the consultants came up against seemingly insurmountable barriers. Did the product need a health certificate? Could it be stable at ambient temperature? What customs information was really needed?

“Other consultants were struggling to figure it out how to ship our chocolate bananas, and we couldn’t get past the barriers of what was actually needed to ship our products. We knew there had to be a solution, so we got in touch with Maersk. As a huge shipping company with expertise in transporting bananas, we trusted they could support with customs clearance. And although our first conversation was around customs, Maersk had shorter lead times and a competitive price for shipping the goods by ocean from Ecuador to the UK. So for us it made sense to use one partner for both.” – Zara Godfrey, founder

Pukpip engaged with Maersk’s customs consultancy experts, who were able to clarify issues around the HS code; communicate with authorities; and identify all of the necessary documents. Maersk even established that the product did not need a veterinary certificate, saving Pupkip considerable costs.

Critically, the goods were then able to clear through customs and into the UK. 

Maersk supported us through the customs issues, making it a much quicker process than we could’ve managed by ourselves. They provided all the paper work, answered any questions from customs and were able to get our goods released quickly. Without Maersk we’d have been stuck in customs and had to pay significant charges. They’ve also taught us how to manage some of it ourselves, which is great and saves us money.

Zara Godfrey
Founder, Pukpip
Maersk vessel in an ocean

From Ecuador to the UK

Pukpip use Maersk’s ocean freight to carry the frozen product from Ecuador to the UK, in refrigerated containers that allow for remote temperature monitoring and control via Maersk’s digital reefer visibility assistant, Captain Peter. Having one partner handle the ocean transport and customs means a more seamless process and reduced risk to the cold chain – which is essential to ensure no food is wasted through warm-ups.

“It's easier, especially when you're a small brand, to have one partner do both ocean freight and customs. We trust Maersk to collect the goods, which will arrive on time in great condition, and clear customs. Plus if there are ever any short delays at customs, Maersk ensure the goods are never left to melt.” - Zara Godfrey, founder

Digitising your supply chain makes it easier to trade. And with Maersk’s portal, it’s simple for any small to medium-sized business to book their ocean freight online – and even add customs to the service.

“We book through the portal, which is really easy to use. We get competitive rates too, so it’s a big help!” - Zara Godfrey, founder

A set of hands sorting the inventory

Looking to the future

Pupkip’s success means the company is looking to branch out into more markets and launch a new range of Banana Bites – and they are prepared for potential challenges.

“Every time we ship a new product we’ll hit barriers with customs. We’re not surprised by it now. Maersk help us to pre-empt and prepare for inspections, with all the paperwork on hand to present quickly. They get us through customs promptly so we’ll keep using Maersk’s services.” - Zara Godfrey, founder

Pukpip recommend that any entrepreneur or small to medium-sized business engage with customs consultancy services as early as possible, to prevent delays.

It’s best to invest upfront to ensure you have the right paperwork and that your goods arrive in perfect condition. Yes it can be expensive for a start-up to work with a consultancy, but it saves a lot of money in the long run because you’re already set up for success.

Zara Godfrey
Founder, Pukpip

“We relished the customs challenge that Pukpip brought to us, and we’re delighted that the outcome was so positive for their business. We look forward to expanding our partnership as Pukpip’s incredible brand journey continues to develop.” – Bryan Stocker, Maersk Customs Consultant

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