Photo Credit: Fiasco Gelato
Fiasco Gelato is a Certified B-Corporation crafting artisan gelato and dairy-free sorbetto in Calgary, Alberta. At Fiasco, their team believes that the key to success is "finding something you love, striving everyday to be better at it, and always remembering to be humbled by where you've come from."
We had a chance to speak with Fiasco's own Mike McGregor last week and dove deeper into the story behind their amazing products, what makes their business unique, and their core values!
What strikes us most about Fiasco is their zeal for being a force for good. As a Certified B-Corp like Localize, they meet challenging standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. From reducing their carbon footprint with Nest Thermostats & Bullfrog green energy to diverting waste with Hop Compost and partnering with organizations like United Way of Calgary and Mealshare to pay-it-forward, it's easy to recognize Fiasco as an ethical food brand. Growing to take on some of the larger frozen desert companies in the world, they hope to inspire other businesses to follow suit.
Fiasco opened in 2003 and was taken over in 2009 by James Boettcher, who was doing design work for the company at the time. His passion for the brand, for big ideas, and for building something that matters, has resulted in huge success for Fiasco in the last 9 years.
Localize partner, Calgary Co-op, was the first grocer to stock Fiasco products. In response to the city floods in the summer of 2013, Fiasco approached Co-op to raise funds and help the Calgary Zoo with their estimated $50 million in repairs. A dollar from each purchase of their limited edition zoo flavors, Bananimal Cracker Gelato and High Water Hippo Sorbetto, was donated. After the campaign, Co-op was so happy with Fiasco, they decided to list their whole line! From there, Fiasco has grown to supply larger chains like Whole Foods, Thrifty Foods, Save-on-Foods, and Sobey's.
Community involvement and philanthropy continues to be at the forefront of what they do. From partnering with creative local businesses like Pinnovate — Calgary's only DIY Studio — to being the first business to donate a full day of sales at their cafe to Fort McMurray fire relief, they strive to always find a way to say yes.
Ingredients for their gelato and sorbetto are sourced based on two criteria. First —quality, and second— location. Most of their berries are grown in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia and their milk is Canadian. When it is not possible to get a certain ingredient close to home, like mangoes or nuts, they search for the highest quality possible to know that was it going into the marketplace is clean and responsible. "It's the right way to do things, even though it can sometimes be more expensive," Mike says, aligned with their company expression that "quality means doing it right even when nobody is looking."
Their packaging is simple and eye-catching. Serving up their small-batches in a clear container represents an emphasis on transparency — allowing customers to see exactly what's inside. The first thing on the package you see is not Fiasco, but the flavour!, inverted from the norm. "It's always flavour first," Mike comments. Flavour options include Mint Stracciatella, Raspberry lime, Caramel Seasalt, Bourbon Vanilla Bean, and more.
We got Mike talking about what the company culture at Fiasco is like and what he loves about working on their 40-person team."I personally love working at Fiasco because it is very team-driven," he reflects, "there are no departments, we have pods — there are no managers, we have leads. Everyone is empowered to make decisions and has the freedom to fail."Uplifting!
We love sharing lessons learned between food brands. Supporting a community of food makers, here is Mike's humble advice for any up-and-coming brands out there:
"No shortcuts! Be committed to the product and keep going with it. Use business for the force of good. If you're a good person, it usually works out, despite a lot of ups and downs."
Thanks for your insight, Mike, and for taking the time to share the story behind Fiasco!
You can snag your Fiasco Gelato and Sorbetto at their storefront in Calgary on 221 19 Street SE, Calgary Co-op, Whole Foods, and various Thrifty, Save-on-Foods, and Sobey's locations across Canada. Check out their full store list here.
We are a B-Corporation, certified woman-owned business with a mission to support diverse, social, and ethical products to thrive in retail aisles. Localize was founded in 2011 to answer one question: "Where does our food come from?" Since then, we've evolved to become a connector between food businesses, retailers, and consumers who care.
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