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Israel's taste for ice cream goes upscale as old and new players feed the appetite.

While Israel may be in the throes of economic recession, one sector that continues to expand sweetly is the ice cream industry. New products, many of which are both exotic and expensive, are streaming into the marketplace with no sign of slowdown.

Snowcrest has brought out a number of upscale treats under the Specials brand, while also unveiling low-fat frozen yogurts which feature flavors such as peach/ granola. Rounding out its offerings is a low-lactose dietary ice cream sweetened with aspartame and enriched with fibre.

Tenne Noga Dairy is marketing a range of luxury ice creams filled with chewy or crunchy candy. Called Noga-Kid, flavors are chocolate with marshmallows, vanilla with chocolate-covered crunchies, and caramel with toffee.

The Strauss Co. features a new ice cream on a stick called Monaco. Twice as expensive at NIS 3.35 than ordinary "Artic" bars, the vanilla product is covered with rich, Elite chocolate. The 90-gram item is merchandised in a protective cardboard box.

Meanwhile, from Vermont, USA, the entrance of Ben & Jerry's has some of Israel's established ice cream makers stirring. Licensee Avi Zinger already has nine B&J retail outlets up and running. They are being supplied from a factory in Yavneh.

The ice cream stores, built to Ben & Jerry's specifications, offer the same menu, layout and counters as are found in units in the United States. American health regulations are strictly adhered to, and the counter attendants even wear hats. They are the only ice cream retail workers in Israel to do so.

Numerically, Ben & Jerry's is the largest chain on the scene. But in terms of sales, its volume is much smaller than long-established companies such as Strauss and Snowcrest. This is partly because B&J does not yet have distribution into hypermarkets and supermarkets.

Ice cream in Israel must be kosher, according to Rabbinate dicates. Without a certificate of kashrut, food does not stand a chance of selling. While most of Ben & Jerry's flavors were kosher to begin with, Cherry Garcia was initially rejected because of a red coloring ingredient. A kosher substitute was soon found, however, to gratefully remedy the problem.
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Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Date:Jan 1, 1993
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