Italian gelato buyout sees Unilever eye scoop of premium ice cream market

By Nathan Gray contact

- Last updated on GMT

Italian gelato buyout sees Unilever eye scoop of premium ice cream market

Related tags: Ice cream, Italy, Unilever

Unilever looks set to take a bigger share of the premium ice cream market in addition to moving towards its own retail presence through the acquisition of Italian gelato business Grom.

The deal to buy Turin-based premium gelato chain for an undisclosed fee will strengthen Unilever’s ice cream portfolio and expand its presence in the premium gelato market, said the firm.

Grom, which opened its first store in 2003 and has expanded to more than 60 gelato shops in Italy and around the world, is a specialist in frozen desserts that are made with premium ingredients including organic fruit, cage-free eggs and spring water, and contain no added flavours, colours, preservatives or chemical additives.

“Unilever and Grom share the same passion for gelato and have aligned values in areas such as the sustainable sourcing of raw materials,”​ said Kevin Havelock, president of the Unilever’s refreshment category. “Grom consumers will continue to enjoy the same taste and flavours they have always loved, while Unilever’s scale will give access to new markets, helping Grom to fuel growth.”

Grom will be operated as a standalone unit – with its two founder, Federico Grom and Guido Martinetti, set to continue to managing the business from its Turin headquarters.

Angelo Trocchia, general manager of Unilever Italy said the firm has ‘deep roots’ in the country – where the company already has four factories and 3,000 employees.

“I am sure that such Italian heritage, together with our knowledge of the ice cream category, will help us work with Federico and Guido to unlock new opportunities for Grom,”​ said Trocchia.

Grom currently employs 650 people and has a turnover of €30 million.

Growing retail presence

The deal for Grom also sees Unilever add to its existing push into branded ice cream retail. The firm operates around 1,200 retail units globally – including Ben & Jerry's, Wall's Happiness stations and Magnum Pleasure shops. However, Havelock recently revealed plans to target 5,000 outlets by 2020.

Related topics: Manufacturers, Unilever, Ice Cream

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