Thorntons unveils ice cream launch

Thorntons, the high street chocolatier, is launching into the ice cream sector for the first time. The ice cream will be positioned as a super premium product and will be introduced early in the new year.

The product will be made under licence by Richmond Foods, which also makes products for Nestlé, and will have a number of different variants including milk chocolate and dark chocolate.

It will be the first time the retailer has launched an ice cream through convenience stores and supermarkets. It has sold ice cream in its stores.

It is understood the product, which will be priced at £1.40, will go head-on with Unilever-owned brand Magnum. Unilever has launched a number of variants of the brand over recent years and it is currently reviewing the brand’s £104m advertising business.

The Ecuador Dark and Colombia Aroma variants, which were launched earlier this year, are positioned at the premium end of the market. It is understood that Unilever is planning a third product in this range next year.

Industry insiders say it is a significant launch for Richmond and that it is planning to invest in a major campaign to back it, although details have yet to be revealed.

Its launch is part of a strategy developed by the retailer to boost its listings in the major supermarkets. Retailers such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s already stock a number of its boxed products. It is understood that Thorntons hopes to extend its listings into other retailers as well as increasing its own portfolio from 366 to 400 products over the next couple of years.

Richmond Foods declined to comment.

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