IT’S a brand that most people would have either seen at the supermarket or for sale at hundreds of restaurants and ice cream stands across the country.

Jude’s ice cream, with its stripy packaging, is fast becoming a household name, rivalling the big names such as Haagen Daz and Ben and Jerry’s.

However the company, which employs about 60 people, started from humble beginnings 20 years ago in a small barn in Hampshire village, Easton.

The business was the brainwave of Theo Mezger, who was looking for something to occupy his time after leaving his high-flying banking job in London.

Hampshire Chronicle: Jude's ice cream

Luckily for Theo, his two sons Alex and Chow were keen to come on board, as was his wife Jude, and when the business started to take off in 2003, they were on hand to put in the graft, making and packaging ice cream in the barn, also promoting and selling it to restaurants across London.

A rebrand in 2009 gave the business a boost and saw it gain its recognisable stripes, prompting theatres to buy in, and then in 2015 the family brand broke into the supermarkets.

It now operates from a warehouse at Northfields Farm in Twyford and makes scores of flavours of both dairy and plant-based ice cream, and it has a range of ice lollies.

Hampshire Chronicle: Twyford Twyford

This year is its 20th year, and it has proudly become the first carbon negative ice cream company – and says it hopes to set an example of a better way to do business.

The three directors of the company Alex and Chow, plus their university friend James Wright, all share a passion for being a 'champion of change'.

READ MORE: Hampshire's first same sex couple to enter civil partnership celebrate 20-year work anniversary

Chow said: “Jude’s was started by my dad and it’s named after my mum. It started 20 years ago and we are based in Hampshire. We are trying to make the most delicious indulgent ice cream and we are trying to do it in the most sustainable way possible.”

James said: "We are making unbelievably delicious ice cream but we believe that business can be a force for good."

After a difficult period during the pandemic, which saw it lose 50 per cent of its trade overnight, Jude's is bouncing back.

The business has reduced its carbon intensity by 20 per cent in the last year alone and has brought in changes such as reducing its plastic and boosting its recycling, as well as bringing in more flavours to its greener lower carbon footprint dairy-free products.

Surprisingly, the most popular ice cream is not what you’d expect. Chow says that Jude’s sells more vegan vanilla ice cream than any other flavour.

SEE ALSO: Vegan Market is back in Winchester this month

In fact, there is so much interest in their plant-based products, they have recently launched a new salted caramel stick that would rival any Magnum and a limited edition plant-based peach and champagne ice cream to mark the 20 year anniversary.

Hampshire Chronicle: Jude's ice cream

With a range of strange favours - that even includes black coconut and salt and vinegar - Chow said the salted caramel, which the company pioneered in the UK after spotting it for sale in Italy while on holiday in 2009, also remained one its best sellers.

He said: “We have had a real journey, working with restaurants, we are now trying to make the most indulgent ice creams that people can enjoy at home on their sofas.”

Hampshire Chronicle: Jude's ice cream