Worried about a double-dip recession? Why not have a double dip on a waffle cone, instead? Never mind that 9 percent of us can’t find jobs and recent college grads might as well use those liberal-arts degrees as wallpaper. The local ice-cream shop is doing just fine. (In fact, maybe they’re accepting resumes!) The National Ice Cream Retailers Association recently told Time magazine that some of its members have clocked sales spikes of 25 percent over last year. Unilever, which owns sweet and drippy brands like Good Humor and Ben & Jerry’s, posted Q1 ice-cream sales up 7.4 percent. You don’t need an MBA to figure this one out: Ice cream is an affordable way to feel good when everything else sucks. Enough said. This might explain the spate of branding news on the ice-cream front lately.
Starbucks, which started chillin’ last year with the introduction of an ice-cream line, just rolled out its eighth flavor on July 23. (It’s Peppermint Mocha, and with a MSRP hovering between $3.89 and $4.39, it’s cheaper than some Starbucks drinks.) We’ve got no moles in the Starbucks test kitchens, but the company seems to know exactly what it’s doing with this pint-size strategy. The flavors, which include Vanilla Bean Frappuccino and Strawberries & Crème, not only stick to Americans’ perennial faves (yes, vanilla, chocolate and strawberry are still the most popular varieties according to the International Ice Cream Association) but carry the same drink names you’ll find on the Starbucks beverage board. (Psst, it’s called consistent branding.)