Winter-themed marketing and NPD could bring £30m in incremental sales to the ice cream ­category this year, Unilever has claimed.

The supplier is ramping up its activity, describing winter ice cream as one of the biggest opportunities for the fmcg market. “Winter feels like the final frontier in terms of untapped opportunity,” said ice cream brand building director Noel Clarke, adding this winter’s activity - which includes dedicated PoS material - was on a larger scale than it had run before.

Launching this month are two Ben & Jerry’s flavours: mint chocolate chip Minter Wonderland, and Joy to the Swirled, with swirls of caramel and chocolate fudge in vanilla ice cream (rsp: £4.99/500ml). Christmas-inspired Cinnamon Biscuit is joining the Carte d’Or line-up this month (rsp: £3.49/900ml).

Magnum is being expanded in October with Magnum Mini line White & White Almond, and for the first time will offer a pack containing only the Minis Classic variant. Returning to market this winter are Magnum Mini Baileys (rsp: £3.89) and Magnum After Dinner (rsp: £3.89), which launched in 2013 and are worth £1.1m and £2m respectively [Nielsen 52 w/e 23 August 2014].

“Innovation has focused on our biggest brands as fewer consumers walk the freezer aisle in winter and we will use these brands to drive footfall,” said Clarke.

Meanwhile, Unilever is hoping to grow the ice cream sandwich, a popular format in some European countries. It rolled out the Iceberger ice cream sandwich in single packs for the out-of-home market this April, and is this month launching a retail product - the Gingerbread Sandwich - under the Wall’s brand. With an rsp of £2.99 for a four-pack, it features vanilla flavour ice cream surrounded by soft gingerbread biscuits.