Rivals Birds Eye Wall's and Richmond Frozen Foods will be going head to head with branded ice cream dispensers. BEW's Cornetto Soft was trialled in the UK last year following a successful European roll out and it aims to place 5,000 in UK outlets by the end of April. Brand manager Lily Donagh says that in addition to the dispenser, cups, cones and spoons, the benefits are that anyone can operate it, everything is pre-portioned so there is no wastage, and there is no need for extra food safety measures. "And it appeals to consumers because it's made in front of them," adds Donagh. Soft ice cream is a key driver in the market, worth nearly £276.8m, she says, accounting for 29% of the total market. In January RFF acquired Ice Creamery from the Dairygold Co-op. The £561,000 deal enabled the company to tap into the potential of soft serve ice cream and dispensers. Future plans include using Nestlé brands in machines. {{FOCUS SPECIALS }}