Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It's a Michigan thing: December a big month for ice cream

It's a Michigan thing: December a big month for ice creamSpartan Stores is rolling out a new line of premium ice cream called Indulgent Creations. Winter might seem like an odd time to introduce a new line of ice cream but the holidays drive up sales of this chilly treat.

“Around the holidays, we see a seasonal hike as people entertain,” said Alan Hartline, executive vice president merchandising and marketing. Earlier this month Hudsonville Creamery & Ice Cream unveiled its new “Lake Affection” ice cream that sells for $4.99. The special edition ice cream – blue mint swirled vanilla – plays off the winter-weather phenomenon that keeps the company's Holland headquarters blanketed in snow for most of the winter.

Playing up to that holiday appetite, the Byron Township grocer debuted White Christmas -- a flavor with bits of peppermint sticks mixed with vanilla ice cream that will only be around until the end of December.

Indulgent Creations' four core year-round flavors include: Double Vanilla, Toasted Butter Pecan, Mint Chip, and Double Dark Chocolate. They'll be supplemented by seasonal flavors like Honey & Caramel, Apple Pie, Michigan Blueberry, Peaches & Cream, Brownies & Fudge and Café Mocha.

The first week they were introduced in early December, Indulgent Creations ice cream sold out, Hartline said.

This week, the ice cream that retails for $4.49 for a 1.5 quart is on sale for 3 for $10. The retailer has also been offering coupons.

Indulgent Creations is carried by Spartan's nearly 97 stores throughout Michigan including D&W Fresh Market, Family Fare, Felpausch, Glen's Market and VG's stores – available at some of the 350 independent grocery stores in Michigan,Ohio and Indiana that are Spartan's wholesale customers.

The premium ice cream line is the latest Michigan-made product Spartan Stores is highlighting on its shelves. The retailer has found sweet success with its Michigan's Best promotion for the past two summers.

The grocer isn't revealing the companies or farms that produce the ingredients or manufacture the ice cream, but says it's all produced in the Mitten State.

“Many of its finest flavorings and ingredients are sourced locally,” Hartline said.

“Supporting Michigan companies and farmers is extremely important to Spartan Stores and we’re very pleased that we have West Michigan connections for this premium line of ice cream.”

Hartline says the costlier ingredients and the “thick and rich” ice cream is comparable to Häagen-Dazs, a top-shelf ice cream sells for $4.49 for a 14-ounce container.

The launch of Indulgent Creations marks Spartan Stores' second effort with a high-end store brand, after introducing premium coffee beans in 2007.


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