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Haagen-Dazs packs gelato.

Just a few months after launching its new gelato product though its shops, Haagen-Dazs has introduced a packaged version to extend distribution of the line through retail channels. The gelato was introduced just before Columbus Day in order to celebrate the product's Italian heritage. The company is placing a good deal of emphasis on that heritage, positioning its version of gelato as "authentic Italian-style" to help consumers understand why it is different from its other ice creams, and stressing that it has called upon the expertise of an Italian gelato maker "to perfect the recipe and technique" and to help ensure an authentic gelato "just like those served at Italian gelaterie." A spokesperson for the company told Ice Cream Reporter that the rollout will see the gelato in supermarkets and convenience stores nationwide, as well as in the company's shops.

Given the impact of the company's packaged sorbet rollout in 1995, which legitimized the product for both consumers and retailers; and which also triggered the introduction of packaged sorbets by most of the major frozen dessert marketers in the country, it might follow that gelatos could be popping up in the product lines of companies across the country next spring. But despite the ties being made to the product's Italian heritage, consumers may find that this Haagen-Dazs is more like other premium American ice creams that the Italian frozen dessert for which it is named. This is the result of the use of corn syrup in the recipe, an ingredient common to U.S. ice creams, but previously avoided in Haagen-Dazs ice creams.

Nevertheless, Haagen-Dazs may be the beneficiary of good timing. As Ice Cream Reporter noted at the time of the product introduction in the company's shops, America could be ready for gelato. One strong indication is that the International Dairy Foods Association has added gelato as a unique category for the first time to the list of frozen dessert products it tracks. Some marketers already offering gelatos looks on the entry of Haagen-Dazs as a good thing that will benefit everyone in the category. Since gelato has had relatively minor exposure in the U.S., there is tremendous opportunity for everyone to grow.

The new line is being offered in five flavors: Chocolate, Hazelnut, Cappuccino, Coconut, and Raspberry. They are packed in pint containers and carry a suggested retail price of $3,29, comparable to other Haagen-Dazs pints. In addition, the Chocolate and Hazelnut flavors will be available for a limited time in trial pack size, consisting of two 4.23 oz. cups per pack, for a suggested retail price of $1.99.
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Publication:Ice Cream Reporter
Date:Nov 20, 2000
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