Next time you're on a long-haul BA flight, the chances are that the complimentary chocolate-coated frozen yoghurt bar you're handed mid-flight will be from Glasay International. Founded in 1992 by husband-and-wife team Maurice Ostro and Katy Sonabend, the company started with pounds 130,000 and is now a pounds 2.5 million business selling 15 million portions a year.
The pair were lawyers who had tried frozen yoghurt in America and wanted to make it available in the UK. They toured food trade shows in search of potential suppliers, enlisting a dairy in Somerset. It was hard going.
'There were only two of us and the driver we hired rarely turned up,' Maurice recalls. 'I'd get up at 4.30 and distribute the frozen yoghurt, then put on a suit and come in to work.'
Glasay supplied restaurant chains, but its big break was a contract with British Airways - still the largest of its kind for ice- cream products.
Glasay now supplies 15 airlines, as well as Virgin trains. Along the way, Ostro patented the ingenious Dryce Box, which uses dry ice to keep products frozen over long journeys. A major ice-cream retailer looks set to agree a deal with Glasay to rent space in the boxes. Meanwhile, Ostro and Sonabend, both 35, are hoping to partner a larger food retailer to sell their products in supermarkets. 'We've had lots of approaches,' says Maurice. 'Things are very interesting at the moment.'