AG Barr launches exotic ice creams to ‘plug market gap’

By Freddie Dawson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Ice cream, Ice cream maker

AG Barr is crossing the Rubicon from drinks to ice cream and sorbet
AG Barr is crossing the Rubicon from drinks to ice cream and sorbet
Irn-Bru manufacturer AG Barr is diversifying into the £800M UK ice cream market with the launch of a new range of Rubicon-branded ice creams developed from its juice range.

The Scottish drinks firm will sell ice cream and sorbets flavoured with its Rubicon tropical fruits range in response to what it described as a ​lack of exotic flavours in the sector”. Flavours will include mango, lychee and passion fruit sold in push-up packs and tubs.

Adrian Troy, AG Barr’s head of marketing,said:“We are plugging a significant gap in the market, as ice cream is often lacking in choice of authentic exotic flavours, which Rubicon consumers, among many others, are now actively seeking.”

Troy described the launch as “a massive opportunity”​ to generate incremental sales from ice cream. “It gives retailers the chance to leverage Rubicon, which commands very strong brand loyalty and is one of the UK’s fastest-growing brands,”​ he said.

A spokeswoman for the firm told FoodManufacture.co.uk:“The March launch is timed to enable retailers to maximise from the peak summer demand for ice cream products. Nearly half of all sales revenue is generated between May and August.”

R&R Ice Cream

The ice creams will be made and packed by R&R Ice Cream – Europe’s largest own-label ice cream maker. Its Leeming Bar factory in Northallerton, North Yorkshire is already making the Rubicon range. Production started in February, a spokesman told FoodManufacture.co.uk.

The additional production did not require additional investment in capital equipment or new workers, he added.

Further ice cream launches may follow.“If other opportunities exist, where other AG Barr brands could offer something unique, it might be something we look at in the future,”​ she said.

Meanwhile AG Barr posted profits up by 16.4% to £35.4M for its financial year ending January 28, 2012.

The firm also reported a rise in turnover of 6.6% to £237M, which represented a cumulative increase of 27.6% in turnover over the past three years.

Juice brands

Growth was driven mainly by the manufacturer’s Rubicon and KA juice brands – with Rubicon growing by 6.9% in volume.

The firm also said it was talking to developers about the construction of a new production and warehousing facility in Milton Keynes. The facility is anticipated to cost about £20M and should be operational by the summer of 2013.

Roger White, chief executive at AG Barr, said: “We are further reinforcing our confidence in our future growth prospects with the confirmation of our plans to invest in a new site, with substantial future capacity, in the Milton Keynes area.”

Related topics: Dairy-based ingredients, Dairy

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