After escaping my home in Chicago to attend Dairy Forum a few weeks ago in Palm Desert, Calif., and then the Winter Fancy Food Show this past week in Las Vegas, I have major spring fever! So, let’s talk ice cream and think about warm summer days.
The Fancy Food Show, which is produced by the Specialty Food Association, had more than 800 exhibiting companies. The prominent theme of the show was comfort foods with a twist. These products speak to consumers who continue to seek new, yet familiar experiences at home amid the ongoing pandemic. This is fueling innovation in ice cream.
What makes a food special? The $170.4 billion specialty food industry encompasses foods and beverages that are of the highest grade, style or quality. Their specialty nature includes attributes such as uniqueness, exotic origin, particular processing (and often an intentional lack thereof), design, limited supply, unusual application/use, compelling packaging or channel of distribution/sale.
Smaller pack size—such as the pint—helps make ice cream special. Pints have been a powerful package size in the world of ice cream for the past decade. They command a premium and invite trial without the commitment to quart or half-gallon container.
By definition, pints hold 16 fluid ounces of product; however, for economics, some “pint” packs contain a little less. Regardless of how much is inside, pints cost more--often a lot more—on a per-ounce-base than larger-sized ice cream containers.
Pints allow for unique formulations, such as crispy layers, solid fudge tops and cores of goodies. Pints also make sense for limited-edition, special-batch and seasonal concepts. Short-time offerings create an urgency to purchase. When they come in a smaller-sized package, the consumer is often more willing to buy and bring home. There’s less of a commitment. In their mind, it’s a tasting, a sampling event.