Jun 18, 2013
WEB EXTRA: National Ice Cream Month
By Jim Dudlicek
Summer is peak sales season for frozen desserts of all kinds, and grocers are taking advantage of National Ice Cream Month in July to step up promotional activities.
“We have month-long and summer-long promotions planned, which include in-store displays, ad mentions and a store contest to promote ice cream and novelties,” says Dave Marcus, frozen food category manager for Tyler, Texas-based Brookshire Grocery Co. “Our suppliers have stepped up promotional spending to assist with this very important selling period. We have offers for temporary price reductions and ads throughout National Ice Cream month, as well as the summer selling season.”
Whether it’s for house-brand products like Brookshire’s Goldenbrook Ice Cream or any of the national and regional brands, grocers can look to the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA) for inspiration.
The Harrisburg, Pa.-based trade group (is again providing marketing and PR opportunities to promote ice cream and novelties during June and July. Two dozen leading brands are sponsoring this year’s Summer Favorites Ice Cream & Novelties promotion, which includes a retail display contest, a consumer coupon and freezer giveaway, and many promotional resources to help reach out to shoppers and increase sales.
The display contest encourages retailers to develop creative merchandising displays and compete for the Golden Penguin Award. The displays will feature sponsoring brands and NFRA point-of-sale materials, as well as direct consumers to NFRA’s Easy Home Meals website and Facebook page to enter the giveaway. Entries are due Aug. 9; winners will be recognized at NFRA’s annual convention in October.
This summer is bringing a whole host of new products from national and regional ice cream brands.
Hackettstown, N.J.-based Mars is adding to its superpremium Dove pint line: Unconditional Chocolate blends rich chocolate ice cream, chunks made with Dove dark chocolate, and a chocolatey swirl. Mint Chocolate Chunk combines refreshing mint ice cream with dark chocolate chunks. Vanilla Ice Cream with Chocolate Chunks combines milk chocolate chunks with creamy vanilla ice cream.
Additionally, Mars is teaming up with Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.-based Redbox for the Fun Frozen Friday promotion, in which consumers purchase specially marked packages of multipacks of Snickers, M&M’s, Twix and Milky Way frozen snacks to obtain a unique code redeemable for a free movie rental at Redbox kiosks.
Brenham, Texas-based Blue Bell Creameries has introduced Italian Cream Cake, a creamy vanilla ice cream with pieces of Italian cream cake, shredded coconut, roasted pecans and a smooth cream cheese icing swirl.
“We’ve created a flavor that not only has all the ingredients of an Italian cream cake in each bite, but there are actual cake pieces in the ice cream, too,” says Wayne Hugo, general sales manager for Blue Bell. “I’m not sure it gets any better than that.”
Italian cream cake, a highly popular cake served at Southern weddings, is also known as an Italian wedding cake in other parts of the country. “Blue Bell is a Southern tradition, and so is Italian cream cake,” Hugo adds. “We have had lots of success with flavors inspired by cakes, so we figured we might just be onto something.”
Blue Bell also offers a Birthday Cake Ice Cream, which features chocolate cake combined with a vanilla ice cream, a chocolate icing swirl and bright multicolored sprinkles; also look for Key Lime Pie Ice Cream and Coconut Fudge Ice Cream.
The company also rereleased Caramel Turtle Cheesecake, the winner of its Crankin’ Back the Clock Flavor Contest – cheesecake ice cream filled with chocolate-coated caramel turtles, roasted pecans, and cheesecake pieces with a chocolate cookie crust, all surrounded by a smooth caramel swirl.
Further, Blue Bell is adding to its frozen novelties lineup. “We’ve combined the best-tasting berries – strawberries, blackberries and raspberries – and created something delicious and refreshing: our new 6 Pak Mixed Berries Fruit Bars,” notes Blue Bell’s Carl Breed. “Complementing our immensely popular fruit bar line, 6 Pak Mixed Berries Fruit Bars appeal to consumers of all ages, but especially those health-conscious consumers who are focused on healthier eating. Each bar is all-natural and is made with real fruit. In fact, 45 percent of each bar is made of strawberries, blackberries and raspberries. Strawberries lead the list of ingredients in our new fruit bar, while “water” is listed as the leading ingredient in most other branded fruit bars. Each bar is high in vitamin C, naturally fat-free and contains only 90 calories per bar.”
For something a little more indulgent, Blue Bell took its existing Coconut Fruit Bar and created 6 Pak Dipped Coconut Fruit Bars, loaded with flakes of fresh coconut and dipped in a thick layer of dark chocolate.
Blue Bell continues to slowly expand its market, establishing distribution facilities earlier this year in Virginia and North Carolina.
Meanwhile, Conestoga, Pa.-based Turkey Hill is relaunching its All Natural Ice Cream Line. “We are the only brand to offer a multiserve premium ice cream that is truly 100 percent all natural,” says Colin Wright, senior trade relations coordinator of the Kroger-owned dairy. “There’s no skimping on quality. We’ve searched for the best, minimally processed ingredients, and the result is apparent in each rich, flavorful spoonful of All Natural Ice Cream. That means no additives at all, just simple ingredients like milk, cream, sugar and delicious natural flavors.”
Turkey Hill offers seven flavors in its All Natural ice cream line, with the new Sea Salted Caramel and Vanilla Bean & Chocolate joining limited-edition flavors such as Butter Almond & Chocolate (January-April), Raspberry (May-August), and Butter Almond (September-December).
The relaunch of Turkey Hill All Natural ice cream comes with an updated unique package design: neutral yet distinct graphics with a fun retro logo that evokes simpler times.
New York-based Beyond Better Foods introduced Enlightened Ice Cream to address a simple problem, according to COO Neal Ludevig: “For the label-reading, health-conscious consumer, the best options in the ice cream aisle are just less bad.”
At 70 calories each, Enlightened ice cream bars contain 8 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, 20 percent of the RDA for calcium, and only 2 grams of fat and 3 grams of sugar. “We don't use artificial sweeteners, use rBST-free milk and are gluten-free,” Ludevig says. “In short, Enlightened has better nutrition specs than most protein bars, and our three flavors (Fudge, Coffee, & Orange Cream) are absolutely delicious!”
With a NuVal score of 81, Enlightened will be available across the country this summer at retailers such as Whole Foods, A&P, Publix, H-E-B, Sprouts, Costco, Ingles, Bristol Farms, Gelson's, FreshDirect and Fairway.
Mooresville, N.C.-based Front Porch Carolina Churned Ice Cream recently released four new flavors to its Southern-inspired ice cream line.
Front Porch’s new flavors are County Fair Fried Apple Pie, Happily Pineapply Upside Down Cake, My-O-My Peanut Butter Pie and Wildly Wildberry Cheesecake. All four flavors are available in pint-size containers in select grocers' freezers and at the authentic ice cream parlor located next to the original creamery in downtown Mooresville.
“The best part about Front Porch is the truly distinctive flavors,” says Michael Werran, production manager at Mooresville Ice Cream Co. and Front Porch. “These four new flavors fit perfectly with everything that is Front Porch and the South – plus they’re flavors everyone can enjoy!”
The ice cream is also now available in the frozen section of two new retailers, Kroger and Walmart. This expands Front Porch’s distribution from 1,500 Bi-Lo, Food City, Food Lion, Harris Teeter, Ingles, Lowes Foods and Piggly Wiggly stores in Alabama; Washington, D.C.; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Kentucky; Maryland; North Carolina; South Carolina; Tennessee; and Virginia to now almost 2,000 retailers. The ice cream can now be found westward into Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Virginia.
One new flavor, Happily Pineapply Upside Down Cake, comes from a recipe inspired by Carolyn Malone, a Johnson & Wales University alumna. Malone submitted her “Memaw’s Pineapple Upside Down Cake” recipe in an exclusive contest Front Porch hosted with the university’s Charlotte, N.C., campus in the spring of 2012.
Springfield, Mo.-based Hiland Ice Cream Co. is introducing Outlaw Run Ice Cream, a flavor inspired by the Outlaw Run wooden rollercoaster at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Mo. Outlaw Run Ice Cream offers similar twists as it mixes chocolate chunks and swirls of sea-salted caramel in rich vanilla ice cream. In celebration of this new product launch, Hiland Dairy is giving away a trip for four to Silver Dollar City in a contest that began May 13.
Austin, Texas-based NadaMoo is adding two new flavors, Chocolate Almond Chip and Sweet Cherry Lime, to its line of gluten- and dairy-free coconut milk ice cream, now totaling eight flavors.
Sweet Cherry Lime is NadaMoo’s first fruit-based coconut milk ice cream, introducing the tartness of a fruit sorbet with a creamy texture and chunks of fresh cherries. Chocolate Almond Chip is made with organic coconut milk, organic Fair Trade cocoa, and almonds and chocolate chips.
After a decade-long hiatus from the retail marketing channel, 101-year-old company Rosati Ice has inked an exclusive agreement with Acme Markets for its products to be sold in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware stores.
According to President Rich Trotter, the first product to be introduced is a new one for Rosati, a 4-quart plastic pail filled with Rosati water ice, dubbed the Rosati Party Pail. The launch will begin with two of Rosati’s most popular flavors, Mango Ice and Classic Rainbow, retailing for a suggested $8.95.
“The new product was developed in answer to consumer demand for a larger-volume container of water ice to enjoy at the beach, picnics, family reunions, or just to keep a supply on hand in the home,” Trotter says of the sturdy plastic recyclable container with the distinctive red handle.
“This is a big step forward for Rosati Ice to be back in the supermarket again,” Trotter adds. “We couldn’t think of a more fitting partnership than with Acme Markets; two iconic Philadelphia institutions are linking together.”
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