Thursday 13 June 2024
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“New gelato” wins over the Middle East, through franchising

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All the ingredients are there: a hot (indeed sizzling) climate, consumer curiosity and a keen interest in good foods that are never boring, and plenty of purchasing power. Add to this the virtually unlimited opportunity for creating flavours and aromas suited to local tastes and success is guaranteed.

Gelato is indeed enjoying a period of particularly good fortune in the Middle East right now, with many chains (American ones above all, but also some Italian ones) entering a market that does not yet seem saturated.

2016 saw the arrival of two US ice-cream chains in particular, Sloan’s e Camille’s, with two formats that look similar but are actually rather different. The key to their success seems to be all about offering new, original flavours while paying attention to wholesomeness and health aspects.

When you enter one of the Florida-based Sloan’s parlours, you feel a bit like Hansel and Gretel stepping inside the gingerbread house.

Exquisitely flavoured ice creams such as Almond Joy and Birthday are offered together with an infinite array of sweet, crunchy dressings, but the parlours also offer cakes biscuits and milk shakes.

The walls are painted fuchsia and bright green. The chain made its debut on Kuwait’s Promenade Mall last March.

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Meanwhile, the Texan-based Camille’s Ice Cream Bars concept, which has now arrived in Saudi Arabia, focuses on two concepts: product personalisation made possible by the huge array of flavours, crunchy, nutty “dip and dress” coatings and toppings; and secondly their natural quality, made possible by the use of frozen yoghurt and fruit bases.

Rather than traditional cones, Camille’s sells bars on sticks, which can be chosen and personalised with the chosen topping at the moment It is served.

Uncompromising wholesomeness is the trump card with which Italy’s own Grom chain (even after being taken over by Unilever last year) has entered the Middle Eastern market.

There are already two stores in Dubai selling “Gelato Like it Used to be Made”. The use of 100% natural ingredients and fresh fruit has been a hit locally, to the point where the brand has developed – alongside its ever-popular classic flavours – local specialities, such as fiordilatte with Bateel dates and Apulian almonds, presented during Ramadan.

Photo from Camille’s Ice Cream Bars – Doha, Qatar Facebook page.

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