Packed with completely organic and plant-based ingredients, Yellofruit lights up (thanks to the vibrant colorful packaging) the freezers of over 1000 stores across Canada. The brand has its fan following and is already Canada’s fastest growing frozen dessert brand. All this started when the Kinnear family was looking for alternatives to ice cream as Claire, the mom, was allergic to dairy products. What started with a banana-based scoopable dessert from the food processor resulted in this fantastic cool and sweet non-dairy treat.
Andrew Kinnear, the co-founder of Yellofruit, says that there were numerous challenges faced while transitioning this idea into a commercially viable product. While he and his wife continued with their respective jobs, they did exhaustive market research about similar products, tasted different compositions and flavors, and explored product development options. Andrew also enrolled himself in an ice cream science course which was crucial in creating the product they wanted. He mentions “we were trying to emulate ice cream as close as possible with non-dairy ingredients” The course was important as it helped him understand a range of verticals in ice cream making. Whether it was the science behind the molecular composition of an ice cream or the distribution strategy in retailing, it gave him exposure to all those topics.
While the product development had hiccups, the brand development and marketing had its own set of hurdles. The start-up company was facing numerous bigger players in the market with an overwhelming list of choices in this segment. He explains “there were budget constraints and within that budget we had to create our niche in the market”. Andrew began with giving free samples of his product at Grocery Innovations Canada in 2018. This garnered the attention of interested people who eventually helped to steer the business ahead. Another challenge was planning and preparing for bigger grocery chains in the market. He adds “the smaller retailers work on short cycle time but for the bigger retailers we had to plan in advance so that the products would be on the shelf in time for summer.”
Hailing from a marketing background, Andrew knew that targeting the right customers will be helpful in brand awareness and selling. He adds “there will always be people who would never replace ice cream in their diets and there are those who have allergies and food intolerances and would want to enjoy something as an alternative.” They kept the label simple and attractive which clearly indicated the plant-based ingredients. The company also engaged in some eye-catching marketing events which included a roadshow in a Yellofruit sponsored banana car which made its way across Ontario. Andrew mentions that the summer of 2019 was fantastic, and they are gaining momentum with each passing day. They have vigorously covered Ontario and are targeting an increased presence in Canada and growth into the U.S in the coming years.
He sums up saying “every business has its own challenges but how we tackle those challenges is what makes us great entrepreneurs.” No wonder the product is being loved by people and was listed in 10 most innovative products at SIAL in 2019. They were also a finalist in the 2020 Canadian Grand Prix New Product Awards.
Fun Trivia: Each of the three Yellofruit flavours were tried, tasted, and consulted with the three kids of the Kinnear family and were eventually named after them. We have Monty’s Favourite Strawberry, Holly’s Favourite Mango, and Eddy’s Favourite Chocolate rocking the shelves of the frozen section aisles at grocery stores near you!