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Mintel: Ice cream market hitting stride

BY Allison Cerra

CHICAGO — The ice cream market has emerged from struggling sales, posting a 4.1% increase in retail sales to $10.7 billion, and is expected to grow an additional 4% this year, according to Mintel.

New product development will play a large role in the continued success of the ice cream market in the coming years, Mintel food and drink analyst John Frank said, adding that new flavor profiles and ingredients, better-for-you products and new packaging concepts will be instrumental in its success. Mintel’s research also found that when buying ice cream or other frozen novelties, 94% of survey respondents said they base their decision on flavor, while 83% said they look at price and 72% look for a sale or promotion. When it comes to brand loyalty, more than two-thirds (68%) of respondents make their selections based on brand alone.

"Aside from the flavor of frozen treats, price is the key factor in a consumer’s decision on what to purchase," Frank said. "Price is more important than brand, quality and health information which makes it difficult for brands to break away from a price promotion strategy, but does give private-label products a major opportunity for growth."

Besides price and promotions, Mintel said reduced fat (38%), reduced sugar (38%) and reduced calorie (36%), are the most important claims consumers are looking for on the packaging of their favorite frozen treat. However, gluten-free and dairy-free products are rapidly growing in popularity with 14% and 15% of Mintel respondents, respectively, saying they are "very or somewhat important" to them. Size also matters: 69% of survey respondents who buy frozen treats — especially those ages 18 to 24 years (74%) who are the most likely to eat it away from the home directly after purchasing it from the grocery or convenience store — said portion size is important.

Mintel also said that one segment getting a lot of attention in the U.S. market is Greek yogurt. The popularity of Greek yogurt is spilling over into the ice cream and frozen novelty market and prompted total U.S. retail sales of frozen yogurt to jump 9.7% from 2011 to 2012. It also demonstrated the highest growth percentage of the four ice cream and frozen novelty segments, Mintel noted.

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Sartori introduces peppermint BellaVitano cheese

BY Allison Cerra

PLYMOUTH, Wis. — Sartori has introduced a limited-edition cheese.

New peppermint BellaVitano cheese is a unique artisan cheese that combines BellaVitano Gold with crushed peppermint candy, giving the cheese both a sweetness and bright pink hue to the creamy, crumbly texture. As part of the launch, a portion of all the proceeds of this product will be donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation in support of breast cancer awareness, Sartori said.

"Our cheesemakers crafted this fun, delicious cheese with the intention of using it to help raise money for breast cancer awareness," Sartori’s third-generation company leader Jim Sartori said. "We couldn’t have found a better partner than the National Breast Cancer Foundation, an outstanding organization dedicated to creating awareness and saving lives through early detection. We are amazed at how many retail partners have come forward to help bring this whole program to life. It’s great to see so many doing so much for a great cause."

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H. D. Smith names new head of its home healthcare division

BY Michael Johnsen

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — H. D. Smith, one of the nation’s largest pharmaceutical wholesalers, on Monday named Timothy Booth to corporate VP and head of its home healthcare division. Booth will report to Christopher Smith, H. D. Smith’s president and COO.

“One of the nation’s important healthcare trends is the shift of patients from hospitals to home where they can advance their rehabilitation and wellness," stated Dale Smith, H. D. Smith chairman and CEO. "Meeting our customers’ and patients’ needs requires granular ability to ensure health products reach those in need to advance their care. … Timothy Booth’s success in managing businesses across multiple health product sectors, and commitment to improving the patient experience and supporting patient care, will enhance our industry-leading customer service and further bolster our HHC offerings.” 

Booth brings to H. D. Smith nearly 20 years of expertise in the pharmaceutical manufacturing, packaging and distribution industries as a corporate executive and counselor. Most recently, he was an independent consultant providing guidance to companies in pharmaceutical industry strategy, operations, operating metrics, product pricing mechanisms and technical and regulatory information; prior to that role, he was president and CEO of PrePak Holdings, a pharmaceutical and consumer care contract packaging company based in Cookeville, Tenn. He also served as president of McKesson’s RxPak division, where he increased division revenue from $625 million to $1.2 billion, H. D. Smith reported.

Booth earned his bachelor’s and Master of Business Administration from Cleveland State University.  


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