The first Swirl It! kiosk opened this month at The Metro Centre in Gateshead, offering soft Wall’s ice cream with a choice of fruit, chocolate, nuts, nougat and biscuit toppings. It also sells ice cream-based milkshakes, smoothies and a range of doughnuts and includes a seating area for shoppers.
Three more kiosks will be opened in shopping malls across the UK in the coming months.
Jill Turner, Unilever Ice Cream & Frozen Food category and channel development director, said: “We don’t know whether it is appealing enough to justify a standalone concept, but early indications are that it has appeal. If it does take off, we expect to roll out more.”
Unilever owns the similar concept, Swirl’s, in the Netherlands, where it operates 50 outlets, and said the UK could have a similar number of outlets depending on demand. “We want to deseasonalise the ice cream market - hopefully selling more on a year-round basis and evening out the peaks in the summer,” said Turner.
Cargill is to restructure its Cerestar sweeteners production in the UK. This will include the construction of a state-of-the-art wheat plant at its Manchester site. Sweeteners production at the Cerestar Tilbury facility is due to be shut down by the end of December with capability partly transferred to Manchester.
A data synchronisation system that is used by 90% of the retailers in the US is coming to the UK. The Kewill Inovis Catalogue allows suppliers and retailers to share common codes and information about products so transaction and invoice errors can be cut out.
Research by AT Kearney, the business strategy and analysis company, has found that 60% of invoices contain errors, and that each error can cost up to £115 to correct.
Cash acceptance company Alphyra Payzone has been shortlisted to partner Transport For London’s Oyster e-money project. The cards can be used to pay for goods and services at a range of outlets including newsagents and supermarkets.
The National Federation of Retail Newsagents has welcomed WHSmith News’ announcement that it will be trialling a review of 40 independents’ magazine ranges from August. The scheme will run until October and will examine issues including over-allocation and merchandising.
New food minister Lord Bach has visited British Bakeries in Nottingham, where almost one third of the UK’s bread is produced. Bach toured the factory, witnessing production from start to finish in order to glean a deeper insight into the evolution of British baking.