Article appeared in issue 2, 2020

A good scoop

Scúp Gelato is a family-owned company that produces and supplies luxury gelatos and sorbets to the foodservice industry. Established in 2014 and headquartered in Wexford, last year they began exporting to South Korea. Director Siobhán Devereux shares how their Asian adventure began

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“We spotted a gap in the market where the foodservice industry needed top quality gelato and sorbets. Our managing director, Willie Devereux, was trained by an Italian gelato master and we now supply a variety of hotels and restaurants across Ireland,” Siobhán tells us. There are 60 products in the Scúp Gelato range, pronounced scoop, and it has won a number of awards including Great Taste Awards in 2017 for its hazelnut (two stars), and raspberry gelato (two stars); Blas na hÉireann awards in 2017 and 2019 for its strawberry and hazelnut flavours; and the Blas na hÉireann 2019 Best in Wexford award.

Using local seasonal ingredients is paramount to this Irish producer. “Ingredients are sourced locally where possible, we champion Irish producers, farmers and other businesses. We use Wexford milk and strawberries, and our blackberries come from a farm two miles away.” Ballycross Apple Farm, Keelings Fruit, Killowen Farm Yoghurts, Mr Jeffares Blackcurrants and Greenhill Fruit Farm are among the Wexford suppliers, with Glanbia in Kilkenny providing creamy Irish milk. “Quality is key and we self-distribute, allowing us full control over our supply chain, from manufacture to delivery.”

Local sourcing also helps to keep their carbon footprint down, something they are mindful of as a member of Origin Green. “We are fully accredited and very proud of that. It’s a fabulous programme that promotes sustainability and the local footprint. Trying to use local as much as possible is so important to our brand.”

Evolving consumer wants are also front of mind. “We have become mindful of the changing eating trends over the last couple of years, the increase in veganism and vegan offerings on menus, and we’ve made products which have enabled vegans to enjoy creamy delicious gelato, free from dairy.”

“We have also partnered with chefs to make bespoke flavours to complement their menus. We find that creative process fun, it’s nice to experiment and we look internationally for flavour profiles and for inspiration.”

And it isn’t just for inspiration they look to foreign fields – joining a Bord Bia (the Irish Food Board) trade visit to South Korea has produced their first export market. While not immediately the obvious choice, the dairy sector in Asia is a growth market for Irish producers.

“We were introduced to the idea through Bord Bia, they facilitated the channels into the market and we have made a number of visits to our trading partner out there. We were really grateful to be brought on the trade visit and really enjoyed it.”

The company is currently supplying a leading retailer in South Korea and has started exporting to the foodservice industry. Siobhán reveals what is it about Scúp Gelato that appeals to the South Korean consumer. “The Korean market is interested in the fact that it’s really Irish. They love the story around our brand, that it’s a family business. We’ve been supplying them for the last year and our hope is to continue with the suppliers that we have, our customers are very happy with the quality of the product they are receiving.”

The opportunity wasn’t without its challenges, but Siobhán believes these are learnings they can take with them when considering other markets. “Ingredients and nutritional information all have to be translated. You’re dealing with a different language and culture. From an expansion point of view, it’s in its early stages so we want to get it right. It’s a really interesting part of the business we never thought would happen. If we do this, we can do other markets.”