Brand extensions have proven a very successful tool to add value to the ice cream market by bringing in new consumers to the category.
And, unlike with some other categories, if an attempt fails the effort has not necessarily been wasted, says Miki Handzar, trading manager at Musgrave Budgens Londis. She says that failed extensions in some categories can put shoppers off trying new lines subsequently. But they have less negative impact in ice cream because consumers tend to be forgiving of failure.
"It would still have served a purpose by driving the innovation process and it is very unlikely that any unsuccessful brand extensions in ice cream would have an impact similar to that of one in the soup market, for example," she says.
When it comes to brand extensions, Unilever Ice Cream & Frozen Food has been at the forefront. Encouraged by the success of its Wall's Cornetto Love Potions and Magnum Seven Deadly Sins, the ice cream giant kicked off last year with the launch of Magnum 5 Senses, which has helped the brand achieve record-breaking market share and double-digit sales growth, according to Anuj Lal, Wall's business director.
This year, the Wall's children's range will be joined by an in-home product in the Calippo range - Wall's Mini Calippo Strawberry & Tropical, the first dual-flavoured Calippo in the range.
Elsewhere, building on the success of its 2004 Fab It's Orange extension, Richmond Foods is to introduce a limited-edition Fab Looney Lime this year. Clare McIntosh, marketing manager, says: "Brand extensions give fresh impetus and drive incremental sales. Fab It's Orange achieved some 80% incremental sales."
The company also plans to build on the success of its Skinny Cow brand with range extensions, and also strengthen last year's Mr Men launch with the addition of mini pots to the lollies range.