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November 22, 2017

Gelato Fiasco: No. 1 fastest-growing gelato pint brand in groceries

Photo / Tim Greenway
Photo / Tim Greenway
Joshua Davis, co-founder of Gelato Fiasco with Bruno Tropeano, stands inside the company's "Flavor Factory" in Brunswick. The company reported this week that its national sales have propelled it to being the No. 1 fastest-growing gelato pint brand in U.S. grocery stores.

Gelato Fiasco is the No. 1 fastest-growing gelato pint brand in U.S. grocery stores, according to an analysis by the Brunswick-based company of recent industry data compiled by Information Resources Inc.

The company reported its year-over-year growth exceeds 44% nationally and 84% on the East Coast, with its pints being sold at more than 5,000 grocery stores across the United States. The company also operates year-round scoop shops in Brunswick and Portland.

The analysis is based on IRI data for the one-year and half-year periods ending Sept. 10, 2017.

Gelato Fiasco told Mainebiz in June it planned to expand its shops, employees and revenue after raising a little over half of a $1 million equity offering at that time. The company, which was founded in 2007 by Joshua Davis and Bruno Tropeano, reported revenue of just under $10 million in 2015.

"One of the purposes of the fund raise is to grow the business to the $20 million range in 2018," Davis, told Mainebiz in June. He was a 2016 Mainebiz Business Leader of the Year.

Venues selling Gelato Fiasco include nearly 1,100 Publix stores across the Southeast; about 800 Ahold-owned Giant and Stop 'n' Shop stores up the East Coast; some 250 Walmart stores in Texas; and thousands of other regional and independent grocers. Popular flavors include Mascarpone Pistachio Caramel, Torched Marshmallow S'more, and Dark Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt, the company stated.

Its "Flavor Foundry" in Brunswick, Gelato Fiasco now creates about 12,000 pints on a typical day, with all gelato flavors being made with milk from family farms and natural cane sugar, among other ingredients. Gelato Fiasco currently offers 14 flavors in pints, with six more flavors planned to be released for 2018 to meet consumer demand for what the company describes as "indulgent chunks and swirls."

National growth strategy working

As evidence that its "Maine-made, indulgent flavors is breaking through in a notoriously competitive section of the grocery store, which is crowded by brands owned by multinational corporations," the company reported in its news release that IRI's data shows:

  • On the East Coast, Gelato Fiasco is now the No. 2 gelato pint brand in overall total sales, nipping at the heels of Unilever-owned Talenti.
  • Gelato Fiasco is now the No. 1 independently owned gelato pint brand in total overall sales on the East Coast.
  • Beyond gelato, Gelato Fiasco is the No. 3 fastest-growing frozen dairy pint brand on the East Coast among companies with significant distribution. When excluding trendy erythritol desserts, Gelato Fiasco catapults to No. 1 on this measure.

The company reported that it expects those growth trends to continue in 2018, with recent or confirmed upcoming additions in Sprouts Farmers Market, a fast-growing chain of grocers mostly in the Southwestern United States, and Earth Fare, a popular chain on in the Southeast. The company has reduced its suggested retail price to $5.99 and reported that its sales team is "aggressively pursuing many other major retailers as part of a national all-in strategy."

"Once it appeared we'd be nationally viable, we chose to invest locally and build our Flavor Foundry in Brunswick into a state-of-the-art facility," Davis said. "Ultimately, that investment in people and equipment paid off — we are able to stay in our hometown, make the best-tasting all-natural gelato, and produce pints to meet demand from fans across the country."

Davis said the company's expansion and national growth has benefited from financing provided by Camden National Bank and Finance Authority of Maine.

Accolades continue

Courtesy / Gelato Fiasco
Courtesy / Gelato Fiasco
Brunswick-based Gelato Fiasco had six of its flavors featured in the August issue of O, The Oprah Magazine.

Gelato Fiasco's flavors have received the highest awards for quality in the Specialty Food Association's annual sofi competition and were twice-featured by the editors of O, The Oprah Magazine.

Other accolades appeared in articles published by the Wall Street Journal, Food & Wine and Bon Appetit.

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