Doha: There are very few places in the world where opportunities reward brave initiative: Qatar is one of such places. Gianfrancesco Peretti came from Italy to Qatar more than 10 years ago and he immediately realised that this was a place where business could offer lucrative returns.
Starting from a small business, Peretti had the ability of gauging the necessities of the place and to turn the opportunities the Qatar market offered into a great business.
“I had a restaurant some years ago with an adjoining ice cream shop. People liked artisanal ice cream. There was a strong demand for the product,” said Peretti. Now, he has built the Colosseum ice cream factory that supplies to big names like Qatar Airways, the US military bases and all Qatar National Hotels, producing 800 litres per day in a range of 100 flavours. And the business runs without competitors.
“We have no home-made ice cream competitors. We are the only one. There are around three ice-cream shops, but they produce ice cream by using basic mixture industrially prepared and ready to use by adding milk and water. No home made ingredients,” he added.
Peretti explains that his real competitors are brands like Häagen-Dazs and London Dairy, but ice cream is one of those few products not really suitable to be made on an industrial scale as thawing is exports’ enemy number one: you need to add fat to the basic mix of the ice cream in order to die down the defrost process and that will of course alter completely the taste of the ice cream and also its calories contribution.
An ice-cream man is more a chemist than a chef. He doesn’t only have to know how to put together the different flavours, but he also has to know how to create those flavours. This is the reason why Peretti has a kitchen in his factory separated from the machines where he cooks the raw materials and makes the necessary ingredients for the ice cream.
A market without competitors is very unhealthy especially for the customers because there are no incentives for the producers to improve the quality, but the lack of competitors is what makes the Qatari market a unique one and full of opportunities for those enterprising enough to invest in the right direction.
Peretti explains that in his case he had to struggle every day to create a tastier ice cream as the Italian institutions didn’t help him at all to penetrate the Qatari market as they were mainly promoting big brands and not small companies like his.
However, the local market welcomed him.