UAE-Born Canvas Gelato Is Carving A Niche For Itself In The Local Ice-Cream Market With Its Novel (And Diverse) Flavors "By not depending on any of the premade ingredients used in all the generic gelato and ice cream brands, we got the opportunity to offer something different in the market."

By Aby Sam Thomas

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Canvas Gelato
Ahmad Al Marri, founder, Canvas Gelato

Handcrafted, artisanal ice-cream that's delivered to your door: how can that be anything other than a great idea? But quite a lot of people thought otherwise when Ahmad Al Marri presented to them this premise with which he had launched Canvas Gelato in the UAE in 2017.

Indeed, these naysayers argued that ice-cream brands were aplenty in the market, and they simply couldn't see the appeal in Al Marri's offering of gelato made from scratch (using only real ingredients) that could be ordered online, and be delivered directly to people's homes. And while such feedback must have been disheartening to receive, Al Marri decided to pay them no mind.

Al Marri stood firm on his conviction that he was bringing something new and distinctive to the market- and that, as it turned out, would be enough to keep Canvas Gelato running as a business to this very day. "The idea for Canvas Gelato came about when I noticed that most gelato shops stocked the same flavors, using the same ingredients, sourced from the same suppliers," Al Marri recalls. "I realized there was room to be different."

Source: Canvas Gelato

What Canvas Gelato offers is different all together- and it's tantalizing tasty as well. And the credit for that, according to Al Marri, lies in the ingredients that underline all of the different flavor profiles in the Canvas Gelato portfolio today. Its chocolate soft serve, for instance, is made using the finest cocoa beans sourced from fellow Dubai-born business, Mirzam Chocolate, and one of its more intriguing flavor combinations has caramel gelato interspersed with smoked beef fat from the ovens of acclaimed Arab pitmaster, Hattem Mattar.

Related: Dubai-Based HaiyaTea Is On A Mission To Become The Ultimate Tea Lover's Delight

"By not depending on any of the premade ingredients used in all the generic gelato and ice cream brands, we got the opportunity to offer something different in the market, and we also got the opportunity to collaborate and work with food concepts and brands that are relevant to Canvas Gelato," Al Marri says. "We're not claiming to be better than everyone else; we're just offering something different."

Source: Canvas Gelato

Its novel creations have certainly earned Canvas Gelato a loyal following in the UAE, and Al Marri is hopeful that his brand will continue to be an active player in the homegrown F&B scene. "Canvas Gelato started with the help of the community," Al Marri says. "And, as such, it will continue to be a part of the local fabric, whether that is through pop-ups, collaborations, or wholesale relationships."

Eureka! Ahmad Al Marri on how to make an idea a great one

Never take no for an answer find a problem worth solving "People do not buy your product for vanity; they buy it to solve a certain problem, and fulfill a certain need. Find that kind of a problem, and try to solve it."

Be genuinely curious "Ask questions. Ask all the questions that will lead you to the answers you need, and keep asking why? Why are things this way? Why hasn't anyone done it before? Why so?"

Give more than you take "Giving fosters genuine relationships; it fulfills the need to be generous, kind, and giving, and it goes a long way when you're building your brand. You are also paying it forward, and helping others rise with you."

Related: How FreshToHome Co-Founder And CEO Shan Kadavil Built A Proficorn

Wavy Line
Aby Sam Thomas

Entrepreneur Staff

Editor in Chief, Entrepreneur Middle East

Aby Sam Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur Middle East. In this role, Aby is responsible for leading the publication on its editorial front, while also working to build the brand and grow its presence across the MENA region through the development and execution of events and other programming, as well as through representation in conferences, media, etc.

Aby has been working in journalism since 2011, prior to which he was an analyst programmer with Accenture, where he worked with J. P. Morgan Chase's investment banking arm at offices in Mumbai, London, and New York. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York.  

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