- Ample Hills Creamery is unveiling square-shaped pints and placing Mickey and Minnie Mouse on the packaging of ice cream that will be launched at retail stores in September, according to FoodNavigator. The new product is part of an effort to stand out and better connect with consumers.
- The small New York company collaborated with Disney to make a collection of three pints of ice cream that will retail for $45. The ice cream is being sold to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Mickey Mouse.
- The packaging changes were made to evoke nostalgia in costumers, the owners of Ample Hills Creamery told FoodNavigator. “The whole goal is to trigger an emotional response in somebody who is reading it or seeing it and some memory of their own comes to the surface,” company co-founder Brian Smith told the publication.
It’s tough for local brands to compete with big-name labels such as Ben & Jerry's, Breyers and Häagen-Dazs that dominate the ice cream industry. But smaller companies have successfully purloined customers from industry heavyweights with unique marketing ideas.
It's not a surprise that both big and small companies are looking to grab market share in ice cream. The average American consumes more than 23 pounds of ice cream per year, according to the International Dairy Foods Association. The trade group estimated the industry contributes more than $39 billion to the national economy annually.
For some brands, revamping the label is enough to get them noticed, a tactic that has been used many times before. Van Leeuwen, a Brooklyn, New York, ice cream company, redesigned its packaging to be more Instagram-friendly and saw sales rise by 50%. Ample Hills Creamery is hoping that carton characters, nostalgia and the decision to abandon the typical round containers used by other ice cream companies will yield similar results.
Ample Hills Creamery started in 2011 by advertising its organic ingredients, including hormone free milk, cream from grass fed cows and cane sugar that are all popular with today's consumers. Now, the owners are shaking up their promotion by partnering with Disney and trying out a nostalgic square design that pays homage to the rectangular cardboard pints popular in the 1930s and 1940s, according to FoodNavigator. Although some people may be drawn to products that spark childhood memories, at a pricey $45 to pre-order the entire three-pint collection, the Disney-inspired products from Ample Hills Creamery will likely be picked up mainly by super fans and collectors.
While the ice cream industry is packed with iconic brands, there is room for disruption. Halo Top started its business in 2012 and has rapidly grown to become the #1 seller of pint ice cream in the U.S., beating out brands such as Ben & Jerry’s and Breyers. It single-handedly changed the ice cream space by featuring prominently on its label the calorie count, forcing its big-name, deep-pocket competitors to take notice with copy-cat products of their own.
Ample Hills Creamery is unlikely to achieve the same level of success as Halo Top, but the unique box design could attract new customers and spur sales to other products sold by the New York company. As with most food and beverage products, the Mickey ice cream and other items from Ample Hills Creamery will have to deliver on taste regardless of the packaging to ensure customers return.
This out-of-the-container idea is representative of a larger theme in the CPG space. To stay relevant, even large brands are redesigning their packages to attract new and younger customers. Just last year, Häagen-Dazs announced plans to overhaul its brand, altering its packaging, introducing a new logo and releasing a global advertising campaign to target a millennial audience. Coca-Cola rolled out its “Share a Coke" campaign and Nutella turned to algorithm-designed jars that generated invaluable marketing buzz after the 7 million different packaging designs were immediately snapped up.
When brands change their packaging, consumers notice and sales typically increase. As large CPG companies and small brands alike battle for share in the ultra-competitive food and beverage sector, package redesigns are one prominent tool that will continue to be utilized to make brands stand out and attract the attention of savvy customers.