- BUSINESS TALKS -
Gaining momentum in your home market is not without its challenges, but growing and scaling internationally can be even more difficult with many different elements to consider and plan ahead for. This is an ambitious process for any brand and this article aims to share some insights and learnings from a brand who is currently making their way through the international scaling process.
Forbes explains that “Founders must employ a regional if not global mindset from the onset” in order to be successful in the domestic and international market. Two Founders who have adopted this global mindset approach from the very beginning are Pepe Biaggio and Luke Saldanha (pictured left) from Pink Albatross.
After launching their vegan ice cream brand in the Spanish market in 2019, just before the pandemic hit, they have started to scale their brand to international markets. We spoke with them recently to learn more about their experiences of developing, growing, and internationally scaling a vegan ice cream brand throughout a pandemic. You can read what they had to say below.
You have achieved quite a lot for a new brand since launching, what do you accredit those achievements to?
In April 2019, we launched our very first SKU. Our first funding round, which closed in June 2020 at the peak of the pandemic, was a very rewarding moment and the first time our company was reinforced by external support. This allowed us to increase our range of SKU’s to include eight core flavours by 2021.
Additionally in 2021, having quadrupled the value of the business and closed the year with a second funding round of 1,2M, we were also able to attract investments from key players in the agrifood sector, such as Tech Transfer Agrifood and Rockstart, while maintaining the support of previous investors.
We also received an immense amount of support from our community through a crowd equity campaign which awarded us the recognition and the means to accelerate the business in 2022.
At the core of our success, besides a lot of work from the team and partners (we are more than just the 2 co-founders now!), lies an exceptional product. This is what has really helped us to continue to increase our distribution and grow a core community of consumers that are loyal fans of our ice creams.
Growing any brand is never easy, what are the main challenges you faced as a new brand in the vegan ice cream category?
The biggest overall challenge for us, as with many other new businesses, was the timing of our launch during the Covid-19 pandemic - we launched our first ice cream range at the beginning of Summer in 2019. The ice cream category in Spain is extremely seasonal and by the time we launched, all of the portfolio-based decisions had been made for that season which made our first year to market less than ideal.
Following that, 2020 came and the pandemic hit so preparing for 2021 was also challenging because while at-home consumption experienced huge increases due to lockdowns and a lack of out-of-home options, retail buyers were not necessarily interested in introducing novelties. Assuring the velocity of products already listed was the priority at the time, so we had a harder time in getting their attention.
Despite all of these challenges, we still managed to increase our distribution by x4 in 2021 and grow our sales by 400%. This was largely due to our opportunity to enter some key retail players in the Spanish market, followed by a great reception of the product in the speciality channel as well.
What is the most important thing you have learned since launching Pink Albatross?
The most important thing we have learned has been to recognise our limitations as Founders. We acknowledge that we can’t do everything nor are we the best at everything so to compensate for the gaps in our knowledge and skills, we have built an impressive team and repertoire of partners who have a deeper level of knowledge and expertise in product development, commercialisation, production, storage, logistics, branding, content, digital marketing, etc.
We realised early on that we would need to build a solid network of partners like this who can excel at whatever we cannot and we believe this has been a cornerstone of our success.
What’s next for Pink Albatross?
Overall, we will be focusing on getting our brand in front of more consumers and generating trial opportunities. After more than doubling our flavour range last year, 2022 will be the year where several more innovations will see the light. For instance, we are launching a new single serving 90ml format tub that has been highly demanded by the foodservice channel.
We are also launching a multipack format of this smaller tub as an entry level format directed towards consumers that haven’t yet tried our products, and those who prefer portion-sized options.
Additionally, our Product Development team is working on introducing a stick ice cream trial at the beginning of Summer 2022. It will be a product that really surprises you as one usually expects an icy experience from a stick, but our proposal will be to create a creamy ice cream stick. Our initial research has shown great interest from both the channel and consumers. Alongside our new flavours, there are several additional new format developments underway as we are already placing our attention on 2023 and beyond.
Our other main goal for Pink Albatross in 2022 is to scale up our domestic and international distribution. In Spain, we will be increasing our availability in the retail channel and also focusing our efforts on foodservice. To date, we have been pleasantly surprised by the performance of our ice creams in the quick commerce channel. We are already available in Dija and Getir, the latter also in Portugal, and the velocity the product has in this channel is extremely positive.
Beyond the Spanish market, we are also currently present in Portugal, The Philippines and Greece, and have several other EU markets identified as opportunities. In the short term, Germany and The Netherlands will be among the first new countries for us to explore in 2022.
Alternatively, if you have a business solution or brand story that you would like to share with the ecosystem, reach out here.
Founded by former executives in the Ice Cream industry, INNODELICE aims to create a worldwide ecosystem of solutions within the frozen dessert industry. Thanks to the relationships fostered by INNODELICE, manufacturers, brands, importers, distributors and suppliers can discover, buy and sell solutions to GROW their business. These solutions include co-manufactured and branded products as well as innovative and competitive ingredients, packaging and services. Our collaboration model generates lower costs and fewer risks for our participating partners while optimising their time to market. To learn more about INNODELICE, contact Andrea MONTREUIL (email@example.com) or visit www.innodelice.com.