Baskin-Robbins enters Morrisons freezer aisle

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Competition is hotting up in the freezer aisles as US ice cream giant Baskin-Robbins takes on Ben & Jerry's and Häagen-Dazs with its first range of premium ice cream tubs aimed at the multiples.

The world's biggest chain of ice cream parlours is introducing its four top-selling lines into Morrisons across the UK this month.

Although it has limited listings in selected Londis, Spar and Blockbuster stores, the move marks the $7bn brand's first listing in a big four supermarket.

In an exclusive six-month deal for Morrisons, the Cookies & Cream, Hokey Pokey, Mint Choc Chip and Praline & Cream ice creams will be available in 500ml tubs with an rsp of £3.99 in line with Ben & Jerry's and Häagen-Dazs.

Baskin-Robbins is best known for its ice cream franchise, which has grown to 100 parlours since first launching in the UK more than 30 years ago, but the brand has also gained fame from product placements in US television shows and films such as Sex and the City, The Sopranos, The O.C. and Shrek 2.

British consumers had demanded the "grab and go" tubs be made available in supermarkets, said Giorgio Benza, marketing manager for Europe, Middle East and India. "We sell quality ice cream around the globe and Morrisons is a great partner to lead our expansion into the UK retail trade," he said.

Baskin-Robbins has appointed supplier May & Raeburn to manage its UK sales and marketing and hopes to expand distribution into other multiples by the end of 2010.

"Morrisons knew consumers had latent understanding of Baskin-Robbins and recognised its association with childhood nostalgia," said May & Raeburn senior brand manager Shane Angus. "We are already in talks with other retailers."

Morrisons head of fresh and frozen food Jamie Winter said the deal was timely. "Premium ice cream has seen a big uplift this year and there will be a ­level of expectation from our customers who are on the lookout for something different."

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