Thorntons may have bitten off more than it can chew with last year’s launch of its premium ice cream tubs. Taking on established names such as Ben & Jerry’s and Häagen-Dazs has proved an uphill struggle for the high street retailer, which hoped to muscle in on the premium ice cream sector in supermarkets with the Pure Indulgence range of luxury 500ml tubs.
With initial listings in Safeway, Budgens and Booths, the future looked bright for the newcomer, but a year down the line it has only managed to capture £627,000 in sales, a 0.3% share of the total ice cream category valued at £204m [ACNielsen, 52 weeks to Feb 7, 2004]. And one retailer, Budgens, has delisted the range. Budgens senior buyer for frozen foods, Anna Roddis, said: “We listed all four flavours when the range was launched and have recently delisted the range due to poor sales.
“The quality of the product is excellent and the packaging is very premium. However, consumers have a lot of choice at this end of the market and tend to be very loyal.” Roddis also said it was questionable whether the 10p price difference between the Thorntons’ product and its biggest rivals, Ben & Jerry’s and Häagen-Dazs, was a big enough incentive to get consumers to try it.
Of the four flavours available, Vanilla Truffle was top with a 36% share of the ice cream brand’s sales followed by Toffee Brazil with 34%. Chocolate Seville lagged behind at 27% and Almond Praline managed just 2%.