Hackney’s Brown Bread & Marmalade gelato

Premium UK ice cream brand Hackney Gelato has secured a £1.3m investment to scale up production to meet surging global demand for upmarket gelato.

The company has been backed with a £1.3m follow-on investment from existing investor venture capital trust Pembroke VCT, which first invested in the brand in 2020.

The new funding will support increased production, recruitment and a consumer marketing drive.

Hackney Gelato is also targeting an expansion into new international markets and further growth in the out-of-home sector.

The gelato is currently sold in Spinneys stores in Dubai and the business is now eyeing opportunities across the Middle East and Asia, capitalising on regions with a strong appetite for premium products and ice cream.

Current overall sales growth is exceeding 60%, with the brand stocked nationwide in retailers such as Tesco, Waitrose, Ocado, Whole Foods Market and the Co-op.

Meanwhile, the group has also pledged to continue to strengthen its focus on the out-of-home sector.

Its products are already offered across London’s high-end food scene – in restaurants such as Hakkasan, Brat, Som Saa and Gordon Ramsay.

With this new investment, the brand will look to diversify its out-of-home presence in locations such as cinemas, theatres and airlines.

“We started Hackney Gelato to bring true Italian gelato to the UK,” said Enrico Pavoncelli and Sam Newman, co-founders of Hackney Gelato. “We are proud that our gelato is now available nationwide and consumers are loving our range, shown by our incredibly strong sales results.

“We have the ambition to truly step-change the quality of ice cream in the UK and abroad by producing restaurant-quality gelato for all. We are on track to deliver just that.”

Andrew Wolfson, CEO of Pembroke VCT, added: “Hackney Gelato is a fun and innovative London food business. They have bucked the trend in their category by bringing restaurant-quality ice cream to the high street and into people’s homes.

“The escalating demand for their exceptional products is a testament to the simple yet effective formula at play: they make excellent gelato and have the business acumen to match. Pembroke are delighted to be on this journey with Enrico, Sam and the Hackney Gelato team to open doors for the new opportunities that lie ahead.”

Pembroke is a serial investor in fast-growing food and drink SMEs, having backed Plenish, Pasta Evangelists and Rubies in the Rubble.

The new funding is in addition to the £998k Hackney Gelato raised in October 2022 via crowdfunding platform Crowdcube, which valued the company at £10m at the time.

The brand manufactures traditional Italian gelato using slow churning techniques from its kitchen in East London. Its current range includes Sea Salted Caramel, Pistachio, Almond & Lemon and Dark Chocolate Sorbetto.

It also continues to innovate with the recent launch of its Sticky Toffee Pudding flavour and it collaborated with Pip & Nut to launch Sea Salted Caramel Almond Butter, which was named The Grocer’s top launch of 2023 in the jams & spreads category.