A pop-tastic growth story

February 15, 2024 | By Anurima Das

Marcela Sancho and Mazen Kanaan

House of Pops is on a mission to spread happiness sourced from nature, one pop at a time. The brand’s all-natural, five-ingredient healthy snack pops are up to 94% made of fruit, handcrafted with love. The brand is steeped in six value propositions – purity, wellness, sustainability, creativity, customisation and quality.

“2023 was a year when we strengthened our fundamentals, fine-tuned our operations and solidified the foundation for our ambitious journey ahead,” said Mazen Kanaan, Chief Executive Officer of House of Pops.

In 2018, Kanaan and Marcela Sancho, Co-founder of House of Pops launched the brand in the ice-cream category for customers looking for a clean and light ice cream option. All pops are 100% plant-based and allergen free, which can cater to just about anyone. They’re inclusive by design, so the team makes sure that no matter your dietary preferences or allergies and intolerances, you are bound to find a flavour that tickles your tastebuds.

Over to some pop facts

  • In 2019, the brand entered the HORECA space by opening their first outlet in a hotel.
  • In 2020, House of Pops launched its portfolio online.
  • In 2022, it expanded beyond borders and opened its first international franchise in KSA.
  • In 2020, House of Pops expanded into its first school outlet.
  • In 2023, the brand’s partnership with Lifco promises to increase their UAE presence in modern trade from 48 to 1,000 stores by Q1 2024.

After four years of consistent growth, Kanaan and Sancho are more confident than ever in their business model. So, in 2023 they decided to strengthen the basics to accommodate for future exponential growth.

What next?

“There is one clear target for 2024 – Growth, Growth, Growth. We have spent 2023 to consolidate and reinforce the base, now we have all in place to grow, and growth will come from three pillars.”

  • Brand development and innovations: Bites and scooping
  • Footprint expansion: Through franchise and distribution across the GCC. In the UAE specifically, House of Pops has signed a distribution contract that will increase its reach in the supermarkets to 1,000 stores by the end of Q1 2024.
  • Private label: Using its spare capacity to do third-party ice-cream manufacturing.

“We’ve been operating for the last five years only on sticks, but this represents the smallest contribution in the ice-cream segment, which is dominated by the scooping format. Therefore, in 2024 we are going to launch our gelato range together with the innovative bites format. They will be available online, and in the trade as well,” Sancho revealed.

“We’ve completed major recruitments, and now have a powerhouse of six exceptional leaders with robust backgrounds from top multinationals, with a collective 120 years of experience to take us forward on this journey,” she added.

Homegrown: A key focus area

Both Kanaan and Sancho agreed that the expectations from the homegrown segment are high. Consumers are looking for quality, authenticity and innovation. They want brands that not only provide a product but also tell a story and connect with them on a personal level. Moreover, there’s an expectation of social responsibility – how these brands contribute to sustainability and community development.

“For House of Pops, being a part of this segment means we’re not just selling a product; we’re part of a movement. We’re committed to meeting these expectations by delivering natural, sustainable treats that celebrate the local taste while also contributing positively to the community and environment,” Kanaan concluded.

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