Yolé Zero Sugar Ice Cream/Yogurt Concept Entering Canadian Market with Store Expansion [Interview]

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Yolé Zero Sugar Ice Cream & Healthy Frozen Yogurt is looking to expand to Canada.

The brand, which was created in 2020, has grown to more than 50 outlets in more than nine countries with more than 300 locations signed around the world.

And now it has its sights set on the Canadian market with its immediate focus on the Greater Toronto Area.

Image: Yolé
Avi Behar

Toronto-based real estate company The Behar Group Realty is spearheading Yolé’s Canadian expansion plans as it searches for the ideal locations to launch in the market.

“They’re under development generally through franchise partnerships in Peru, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Italy, Guatemala, El Salvador and of course Canada and the US,” said Avi Behar, Chairman and CEO of The Behar Group Realty.

“We’ve been retained to oversee the Canadian expansion. Kelley (Farraj, Vice-President) is leading that for us. But the intent is to develop locations across the country obviously starting with the major markets. We’d like to do the first one in Toronto.”

In 2022, the brand started their expansion toward European and American countries. They are the first brand in the world to offer soft ice cream and ice cream tubs for all distribution channels. They are the first plant-based and no-sugar-added ice cream. Products are made in Spain and their sustainable packaging and kiosks meet high environmental guidelines, says a Behar Group fact sheet on the brand. 

Yolé belongs to D+1 Holding, a well-known food and beverage company in Asia recognized for bringing Spanish values to Asian markets through their brands.

Yolé is based in Singapore with offices in Spain and Miami.

Kelly Farraj

Farraj said the healthy part of the brand would give it a nice boost in the Canadian market. 

“We like the fact that all their products have no sugar added. They do have a lot of plant-based options which is big right now and we believe it will continue to be big and it will continue to grow on people,” said Farraj.

“We believe it’s an appeal to a huge segment of the population.”

Farraj said the real estate company’s approach is to focus on the bigger shopping centres of Toronto.

“We’d like to start there and branch out into the smaller and more active cities and hit up some stores with good foot traffic. Maybe Queen West, maybe around Dundas Square. We believe there is room for at least a dozen or two in the Greater Toronto Area,” he said.

Behar said that nationally the initial projection for the number of stores is probably about 45 to 50 locations across the country and probably over a seven or eight year period.

Image: Yolé

“Ice cream is obviously like a favourite food or product for the masses. I don’t know many people, if any, who don’t like ice cream. I think what Yolé is doing is a lot different than what’s out there, largely because of the zero sugar,” he said.

“The ability to have a plant-based, tasty product, I don’t think is a trend. It’s a lifestyle that more and more are adopting. I believe that there’s lots of legs behind this type of a business. It’s been kind of tried and tested now on a global basis with good results and I believe the Canadian consumer will really embrace this.

“From a real estate perspective, there’s flexibility on the size. The stores themselves are not all cookie cutter although there are prototypes. But they’ll generally range from kiosks as small as approximately 300 square feet to slightly larger stores whether it’s a streetfront, plaza or shopping centre. That could be 900 square feet, 1,000 square feet or more depending on the rental structure and the financial terms. There’s a range in sizes and we’re open to looking at all opportunities so long as they’re high profile, high traffic, good visibility.”

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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