Natural fruit popsicles can be eaten year round and are hard to resist. And now, thanks to a unique patent by a natural popsicle company – Lily Pops – they can be healthy, delicious and serve as a boost for athletes looking for a burst of energy before an endurance activity.
Awareness of health and nutrition has been on the rise in recent years as evidenced by a growing number of health food stores, publications on this topic and a variety of new products directed at vegetarian and vegan audiences. More and more dessert products are now based on fruits and other natural ingredients.
Leading this trend in Israel are Helen and Eldad Sagi, a Messianic family from Haifa and the founders of Lily Pops.
”Healthy food can always be found in our home. Maybe because I am vegan and an athlete,” Helen said. “To me, even a meal in the most expensive restaurant cannot compare to the food my husband prepares. Knowing the food is fresh and of high quality, and I know what it contains – makes all the difference to me.”
Helen’s main sport is running. Whenever she’d head out for a run or another endurance activity, she would whip up one of her own homemade energy gels. One day she decided that instead of making one each time she needs, she would make a batch and freeze them as popsicles.
For five years that idea and the desire to leverage this hobby into a high quality and healthy product brewed in the Sagi home. But the fulfillment of their dream only occurred after the family faced a major crisis: An autoimmune disease attacked Eldad’s nervous system and caused partial paralysis in his arms and legs, leaving him bedridden. He was told that to return to even partial function, he would need specialized crutches that are worth thousands of shekels.
The family turned to Israel Firstfruits Center for Economic Advancement (IFC) for assistance. They were told that the organization helps businesses, but that they would pass their information on to other groups that would help. Two weeks later, representatives from the E.L.Y. Israel visited the Sagis with the funds that would help them get the walking device for Eldad.
During the visit, the Sagis served Helen’s popsicles and shared that this hobby was something they wanted to develop into a business. The timing couldn’t have been better: The representatives told the family about a meeting scheduled for the next day of Messianic businesses at Haifa’s Beit Eliyahu congregation.
Helen and Eldad went to the meeting and received coaching regarding opening their business. They were also encouraged to compete in the annual business plan competition held by Israel Firstfruits and E.L.Y. Israel. After some hesitation, they entered the competition and eventually won first place. With the help of the prize money and a business loan given to them by Firstfruits, they were able to launch their business.
Lily Pops are for suitable for athletes, vegans, gluten-free eaters and anyone who loves a good popsicle. They are made by hand with 100 percent natural ingredients, free of preservatives, gluten and dairy. Flavors include strawberry, mango, pineapple, blueberry-pineapple, strawberry-kiwi, passion fruit, banana-date-pecan, strawberry-mango-pineapple, vanilla, vanilla-coconut, chocolate and chocolate-coconut.
Lily Pops have competitors in the popsicle market, but in the sports field they are unique and patented. They have been sold at the Haifa Marathon and are available at swimming pools and at a health food store in Haifa.
Aside from the business success, Eldad’s condition is also improving and the Sagis believe that will continue. They are a living testimony of a couple that trusted God and “And out of the strong came something sweet.” (Judges 14:14)