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Women in Ice Cream 2023

Updated: Mar 8, 2023

Today, International Women’s Day, you’ll read a lot about the unfairness towards women in the world.


On LinkedIn, in particular, you’ll see countless stats highlighting that very few women reach executive levels and how women entrepreneurs face more obstacles when obtaining financing in most countries.

And yet, despite numerous efforts to improve gender disparities, the outlook continues to look bleak. A 2022 report by UN Women and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) reveals that achieving full gender equality – one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – could take 300 years to achieve if the current rate of progress continues.


Amidst this disheartening and unfair reality, there are words of encouragement, too: By doing things differently, we can improve gender equality. However, they all require everyone’s (yes, you too, gentlemen) renewed, consistent, conscientious efforts.


So today, we at INNODELICE wanted to do our part in the fight for equality.


We decided to search the world to find a few brilliant female founders – ones pushing the status quo in the frozen dessert category – interview them, and share our key findings with you.


In our conversations with these fearless females, we refrained from asking them about their struggles to reach the top. Instead, we focused on their strategies, milestones, and most significant takeaways.


We spoke to them not as women but as founders, executives, and leaders.


In fact, we decided to avoid asking them any questions that we wouldn’t have asked a man. After all, if we want to change the narrative, shouldn’t we change the questions, too?


We hope you enjoy – and find a way to make a positive impact towards gender parity, too.


Jump To:

Marcela Sancho – House of Pops, United Arab Emirates


Since starting with a bike and a big dream in 2018, House of Pops has sold 100 percent natural plant-based pops made from real fruit. Their fun-looking products are high in fiber and free from allergens, food colorings, preservatives, and refined sugar. They’re also the region's first (and only) plastic-free ice cream pop!

The brand has established operations in six channels in the United Arab Emirates and is currently pursuing an aggressive development plan in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Its impressive product portfolio includes 24 flavors and four main collections, with ice cream tubs as the most recently introduced product format.

What has been the last important milestone your business achieved?

“Knowing Saudi Arabia’s growing population and thriving business environment, I knew we wanted to expand into that area. Our expansion into the country through our franchise model has already led to three locations, preparations for three more, and coverage of major festivals nationwide.”

Why was that important for your business?

“Expanding into Saudi Arabia allows us to venture into new markets and reach a wider customer base – leading to more revenue growth and market share.”

What challenges did you overcome, and what enabled you to reach that milestone?

One major obstacle we faced was finding a suitable Franchisee who shared our vision and passion for the business and possessed the necessary infrastructure and mindset to scale up. This endeavor proved quite demanding, given that we placed a premium on locating a partner whose values were in sync with our own rather than just meeting financial criteria.” What advice would you give a business owner embarking on the same journey?

“It’s easy to get caught up in continuous innovation and emerging trends, but staying true to your business strategy is important. Striking the right balance between flexibility and strategic focus is key to success in this competitive market.

Ultimately, execution is paramount for this type of business to thrive, making it imperative to prioritize operational excellence in all aspects of the company.”


Katey Evans – Frozen Farmer, United States

The Frozen Farmer is a small farm with a big mission that connects us all in the fight against food waste. Using misfit fruits, Frozen Farm is helping create a more sustainable food system.

Every one of their decadent recipes is delightfully low-calorie and never goes out of season. The brand’s delicious sorbets and Froberts™ are made from imperfect fruits loaded with farm-fresh flavor.


The Frozen Farmer has 13 flavors across two product lines—no-sugar-added sorbets and Froberts™, a blend of sorbet and ice cream; both crafted from sustainable, upcycled ingredients. Find them at almost 5,000 retail locations across the country or online.


What has been the last important milestone your business achieved?


“Winning Kroger’s 2021 Innovative Item Placement provided us with national distribution in more than 2,400 Kroger Co. locations.”


Why was that important for your business?


“Entering the national retail market with Kroger led to opportunities with other retailers, like Walmart and Southeast Grocers. Our brand grew exponentially almost overnight!”


What challenges did you overcome, and what enabled you to reach that milestone?


As amazing as the Kroger opportunity was, we quickly realized we weren’t prepared for the rapid growth that accompanied it!


At the time, our small, family-founded company only had two full-time employees. So we quickly had to balance keeping up with product demand while growing a great team.

We partnered with a strong network of industry advisors and CPG experts to assist us. With their support, we’re now putting together a team of internal employees to help us manage the day-to-day operations – something that is a necessity for continued growth and long-term brand success.


What advice would you give a business owner embarking on the same journey?


“I’d tell them, ‘If you thought you knew what hard work was before, you better be prepared to rewrite the book!’


You must be passionate about this type of business because it’s easy to give up when it gets tough. And although it’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done, there’s a reward in that, too, if you never lose sight of why you started.


Overall, you need to plan for the worse and hope for the best. Always under promise and overdeliver – never the other way around.”


Mrinali Kumar – EatKinda, New Zealand


This start-up brand’s world-class cauliflower ice cream is created from cosmetically imperfect cauliflowers that would otherwise go to waste, Offered in three flavors, the innovative creamy plant-based frozen dessert promises to taste like the ‘real thing.’


Currently available in one café, it’s coming to the premium pizza chain Hell Pizza, with 73 stores nationwide, and has plans to expand further.


What has been the last important milestone your business achieved?


“Securing a nationwide partnership with a well-known and respected QSR like Hell Pizza is quite an important milestone for our business. We’ll get brand awareness without much capital investment – a win-win for any start-up venture!”


Why was that important for your business?

We know we have a great product, but we needed help letting others know! Our partnership with Hell Pizza will give us the brand awareness we need to continue creating a global brand.”


What challenges did you overcome, and what enabled you to reach that milestone?


“Competing against other start-ups, such as software or tech companies, is challenging. Food Tech is important – it provides solutions to big problems like climate change, food security, and health – yet doesn’t get the same hype around investment opportunities.”


What advice would you give a business owner embarking on the same journey?


“Surround yourself with amazing mentors – but remember that ultimately, it’s your business, and nobody knows it like you do.”


Didi Deane – POPCO, South Africa

On a mission to build South Africa’s best-loved ice cream, POPCO offers bold, delicious, and all-natural sorbet and ice cream popsicles. The brand’s 20+ flavors include decadent dairy creams, vegan creams, fruit sorbets, and a no-added-sugar selection.

Made in small batches with all-natural ingredients, the pops offer a lower calorie option than mainstream alternatives in-store. They’re found online and at 150 retail stockists nationwide, with more stores continuously added.

What has been the last important milestone your business achieved?


After four years, we have just closed our first financial year of profitability! We're still small, with lots of opportunities to learn. However, we've received wonderful support from our retail partners and customers and are now a sustainable, 15-person business with ambitious growth plans.


Why was that important for your business?


“POPCO is no longer a fragile start-up and is now a more viable business, with the right brand, customer support, and foundations to unlock further growth.”


What challenges did you overcome, and what enabled you to reach that milestone?


“Covid resulted in the loss of 80% of our revenue overnight. However, in retrospect, it was the curveball we needed. We decided to grow our direct-to-customer web offering and expand our stockists to move further into retail.


A challenge we’re currently facing is South Africa’s current power crisis and rolling power outages across the country.


Despite the challenges, we've had an unwavering belief in the quality of our product and our customer service. Together with an ongoing focus on our underlying economics, we have the confidence to continue building.” What advice would you give a business owner embarking on the same journey?

“Get as much feedback from your customer as you possibly can. All feedback, good and bad, is invaluable. Also, have lots of grit and patience!”


Rebecca Göckel – NOMOO, Germany


NOMOO’s products are produced sustainably, using the best organic ingredients available. Their all-natural ice cream is available in two sizes (to-go and in-home). It’s available in about 3,000 points of sale throughout Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic. Taste, texture, health, and sustainability are at the forefront of every pint produced.


What has been the last important milestone your business achieved?


“Our most recent achievement was two important listings with EDEKA and Kaufland, which debut in 2023.

In April, we’ll be launching a new product category and re-branding, too.”


Why was that important for your business?


“It’s an honor that those food chains chose NOMOO as their favorite ice cream brand for the organic and vegan category! Receiving this honor provides me with the motivation never to disappoint our partners. The recognition helps immensely with our brand awareness, too.”


What challenges did you overcome, and what enabled you to reach that milestone?


“Coming from a media management background, I knew nothing about retail. I quickly learned from meetings with supermarkets the value of building strong relationships and learning from others.


Another big challenge was the sales ratio in the markets. I quickly figured out what works best and where, and now target my brand to these specific areas.”


What advice would you give a business owner embarking on the same journey?


“You’ll need to work hard and have lots of resilience and patience to succeed in this industry. Take the time to build a strong network, be open-minded, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed.”

Conclusion


All of the women we interviewed shared a similar outlook on working in the ice cream industry: As innovative and fun as it can be, it requires an immense amount of dedication, patience, and hard work.


Being successful can’t be done alone, either – you need a supportive team, a solid group of investors, and a helpful network you can consult when needed.


Besides the five women we highlighted in our article, we found countless others making huge ripples (😉) in the ice cream and frozen dessert industry. In no way is this list of women founders and owners exhaustive, but it’s a great place to start for those looking to do business with female entrepreneurs. Here they are:


Women-Owned or Founded Ice Cream and Frozen Dessert Businesses


Canada

USA

LATIN AMERICA

EUROPE

AFRICA

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

ASIA

OCEANIA


Together, let’s celebrate this International Women’s Day and commit to being the change needed to achieve gender equality – in the ice cream industry and worldwide!


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ABOUT INNODELICE

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 businesses. These solutions include co-manufactured and branded products and innovative and competitive ingredients, packaging, and services. Our collaboration model generates lower costs and fewer risks for our participating partners while optimizing their time to market. To learn more about INNODELICE, contact Andrea Montreuil or visit www.innodelice.com.

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