Wexford gelato maker Scúp eyes retail expansion after scooping taste award

Scúp Gelato, which supplies ice cream to high-end hotels and restaurants, is looking to expand its sales after winning the Great Taste Golden Fork award.

Scúp Gelato, the Wexford-based ice cream company, is planning to expand its sales into retail outlets having just won a Great Taste Golden Fork award.

The business, founded in 2014, has enjoyed considerable success in recent years by providing its ice cream to high-end hotels and restaurants. It also began selling to cafes during the pandemic.

Now the family-owned firm wants to target independent retailers, but it is not planning a “scattergun” approach to selling in stores, according to Willie Devereux, the former Wexford hurler who runs the operation with his mother Siobhán.

“We’re careful with how we talk about this retail thing until it kicks off, because it is a tough market. You step into this market and suddenly you’re with Unilever and Ben and Jerry’s, and these boys. But we are putting our toe in the water and seeing how we’re getting on,” Devereux told the Business Post.

It’s exciting, because it could lead you anywhere. Before Covid we had a retail client in Korea, and that gave me an idea of how detailed, competitive and fast-paced the retail game is. You really need to know your target audience, and I think we do know our customers.”

The change in approach presents both opportunities and challenges for Scúp, but the company has no intention of compromising on quality, Devereux said.

“We’re not a cheap product, and I’m not afraid of saying that. There are cheaper variations out there, but what I’m banking on is that people want quality, and that’s what we provide,” he said.

Scúp has both the awards and the history to back up this claim. In the early days, when they were starting the business, the family hired a gelato master from Italy, bringing him to Wexford to show them how to create the product they wanted to sell.

“He was just amazed at the quality of the cream we had; he was just walking around smelling the cream from the carton,” Devereux recalled. “It just showed what an amazing resource we have here.”

Scúp’s first hotel client was the five-star Marker Hotel in Dublin, a considerable win for a company which was still in its infancy. The firm still sells to the hotel all these years later.

“To land a five-star as your first customer was daunting in some ways, but it gave us a model to work off,” Devereux said. “We said we’d make a premium product, and we felt there was a gap there for that. And that’s very much the road we went down.”

During the Covid lockdowns of 2020 and 2021, Scúp began selling into cafes and other pandemic-friendly food sellers. It was an unexpected bonus and still helps bolster the company’s balance sheet today.

Now, with a Golden Fork to its name for its natural yogurt flavour, Scúp is tentatively seeking to grow out further, with retail the main focus.

The Great Taste awards are run by the British-based Guild of Fine Food and the competition is judged by more than 500 food industry professionals, food writers and chefs.

“That award was great to win, but also we think it will open a few doors for us,” Devereux said. “We’re in the process of heading into retail, but we want to make sure we’ve sharpened the axe before we go at the tree.”

Source: Business Post

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