BELLEVUE, Wash. -- Quality Food Centers here has introduced a private-label superpremium ice cream, supporting it with substantial advertising and in-store sampling.
Called Castlebury's Super Rich Premium Ice Cream, the pints-only brand was rolled out in early June at QFC supermarkets and Olson's Food Stores, a Mountlake Terrace, Wash.-based chain QFC owns.
"We skew to a superpremium [ice cream] customer, and we do well in that segment vs. the [overall] market," said Brian Anderson, QFC's ice cream buyer. "So it's a real strength for us, and we decided that we would add a line that plays to that strength." He declined to disclose where the ice cream was made.
Castlebury's comes in 10 flavors, including chocolate raspberry truffle, brownie nut fudge and mocha espresso. Its retail prices, Anderson said, are "roughly competitive" with Ben & Jerry's and Haagen-Dazs, the segment's market leaders. At one QFC store, all three brands cost $2.89 a pint.
"We carry most of the major [ice cream] brands -- Ben & Jerry's, Haagen Dazs, etc. -- and several local brands in the same superpremium pint," he said. QFC also has a store-brand brick ice cream, he added.
Castlebury's is prominently displayed in the freezer, Anderson said. "This [store label] has about the same space as a major national brand," he explained.
The brand also is getting premium promotional play. Its introduction was announced in a full-page newspaper ad, and QFC is conducting extensive product sampling in stores.
"It's something we're really trying to get behind," Anderson said. "Demos to the customer will probably be one of the biggest ways to get that [brand] out there and get it across. If they try it, they'll like it."
"We have not done a Coke/Pepsi-type comparison. We just put it out there on its own merit," Anderson said. "We support the national brands, so it's not normally a tactic we would use."