Product innovation is nowhere more evident than in the dynamic world of flavours. News this week from a leading UK brewer could mark a new direction for ice cream flavours with Scottish Courage announcing that the consumer can expect to see Newcastle Brown Ale ice cream in the freezer cabinet. Will other manufacturers follow suit?
The Newcastle Brown Ale flavoured ice cream was launched in the UK last week following a six month licensing deal between Scottish Courage and fellow north east company Doddington Dairies, reports market analysts Datamonitor.
The handmade product is said to possess a subtle taste of Newcastle Brown mixed in with a more overt caramel flavouring. Containing less than 1 per cent alcohol it will initially be available in 125ml and 480ml tubs, retailing at £1.20 and £3.49 respectively.
Datamonitor continues that it is uncertain how many resources will be invested into the launch, but the product has already aroused the interest of Asda, which may trial the ice cream in its northern stores.
The product's best chance of success is in the north east, where both companies have a strong identity, writes Datamonitor. The gamble is whether consumers can see a logical extension between this iconic brew, with its strong masculine heritage, and ice cream. According to Datamonitor, perhaps aware of this risk, both parties have restricted the initial licensing deal to only six months. Any further deal rests firmly on the success of this rollout.
So what does this launch mean for the ice cream industry. For Datamonitor, it marks a continuing period of innovation in the ice cream category. Organic ice cream is one particular growth avenue both in Europe and the US, while Unilever caused a stir back in March when it announced the potential foray into savoury flavours including parmesan and curry ice cream.
For the market analysts, by taking this innovative step, Scottish Courage and Doddington Dairy could well capitalise on consumers' increasing willingness to sample speciality products that dare to be different. If successful, in the highly competitive world of food it is likely that other food manufacturers will pick up on the idea, with consumers witnessing increasingly diverse flavours in the freezer cabinets.