Island Gelato appoints Impact PR to support multi-channel expansion

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Island Gelato appoints Impact PR to support multi-channel expansion

A rapidly expanding gelato maker has appointed Auckland-based public relations agency Impact PR to implement its communications strategy – as it begins a multi-channel expansion programme.


Manufacturer and retailer Island Gelato Co, which grew from a single Waiheke Island kiosk a decade ago into a chain of five retail stores with a wholesale supply arm, will launch six of its 70+ flavours in all Farro supermarkets.

Ana Schwarz, Masterchef runner-up and Island Gelato co-founder, says the strategic move into premium supermarkets and hospitality channels is the first stage in the company’s five-year expansion programme designed to see their high-value range exported into key offshore markets.

She says growing mainstream demand for artisanal gelato has seen the company expand into supermarkets, as it eyes future domestic and export growth opportunities.

The entry into the FMCG channel will also pave the way for an increase in the production of upcycled gelato – made from perishable produce diverted from landfill.

Schwarz says as awareness grows through direct-to-consumer retail stores it will naturally progress into demand within higher volume channels, however, they have an ongoing industry education role to convert consumers from other ice cream products.

Island Gelato appoints Impact PR to support multi-channel expansion

She says they are looking to public relations to help communicate the difference between frozen dessert offerings and convey brand messages to their target market: “While the gelato category is growing rapidly, we recognise there is still a significant portion of the market that is not yet aware of the unique flavour attributes of gelato.

“Gelato, which means ice cream in Italian, uses milk and no additional cream in its production, giving you a lower fat percentage in gelato than ice cream. Without the additional fat to coat your palate the flavour of gelato is more immediate. Gelato is also churned at a slower rate than ice cream, so it contains less air, and the resulting product has a richer, more intense flavour and a denser texture.

“This stage of our multi-channel expansion will see us expand further into premium supermarkets and retailers, and upmarket hospitality – including catering suppliers and restaurants.

“From there we would look to grow the number of supermarket doors we are in, strategically selecting stores that have a similar target market to our own and then progressively move into premium niche export markets where we can maximise our revenue per kilogramme, over the next three to five years.

“We believe the key to success will be the protection of our brand through a highly selective distribution model, as we evolve within New Zealand and beyond. If we can identify well-aligned channels to grow through, we can ensure the brand retains its premium positioning while still maintaining strong annual growth.”

Fleur Revell-Devlin, Impact PR managing director, says food and beverage retail brands and new product launches are a growing proportion of their business.

She says the development of the new campaign follows Impact PR’s successful PR and influencer strategy execution last year, which leveraged the company’s world-first upcycled kumara gelato to generate nationwide media coverage across general news and social media platforms: “This campaign involved earned news coverage and an organic influencer outreach programme which also contributed to 147% growth in Island Gelato’s takeaway containers and handcrafted cake products.

“Where public relations is particularly effective as a marketing tool is in delivering high-reach, credible coverage.

“Innovative or premium food and beverage products lend themselves particularly well to this marketing approach and when executed well, PR content is often published by a wide range of credible media titles along.

“This typically provides clients with an unmatched return on their investment and in this case complemented a successful organic influencer campaign.”