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Lasco enters market with powdered ice cream

Published:Sunday | January 24, 2016 | 1:00 AMTameka Gordon
Lasco Ice Dream dessert mix
Lasco Ice Dream dessert mix
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Lasco Manufacturing has entered the ice cream market, but not in a traditional way.

The company is making the powdered version of the treat, called Lasco Ice Dream dessert mix, which will be sold not from freezers in grocery stores, but the dry goods shelves.

The product will hit the market this week, distributed by sister company Lasco Distributors. Lasco is upbeat on the market's receptivity to the product, saying discrete tests have indicated that it is a hit with children.

The powdered ice cream will be launched in two flavours - vanilla and chocolate - but others are being developed for roll-out soon, says Beverage Marketing Manager Catherine Goodall.

Lasco Manufacturing is projecting that the ice cream line will boost sales of its 'powdered' line of goods which already include soy milk and flavoured milks by around 20 per cent.

Goodall says the ice cream product was in development for around three years, but declined to comment on the full scope of the market tests behind it. She said production of the dessert mix required no special capital outlay or upgrades to equipment, since the company already operates a powder plant for its drink mix lines.

The dessert mixes are sold in 130 gramme packs and will retail for roughly $110 to $120, including tax, the company said.

"We were working for the last three years to bring an affordable ice cream that everybody will love. So the taste had to be right and the price has to be right," Goodall said.

Basically, "you just take the product, add water, mix it and freeze it", she said, noting its easy preparation, which "even children can do".

"The most exciting thing about the product is that the vanilla flavour can be used as a base to make so many other flavours. Chefs can use it to make desserts," she said.

Years ago, when Lasco Food Drink just hit the market, the product line included a cookies and cream food drink, which lent itself to an ice cream mix. It was popular among customers who would mix, freeze and consume it as a frozen dessert.

Production of the flavour was discontinued some time ago, but Goodall now says cookies and cream lovers could see its return.

"It is perfect for ice cream" but discontinued making it "because it wasn't inexpensive - that defeated the purpose of having it - but we are working on having a new one," the marketing manager said.

Asked why the company opted for a powdered ice cream mix, rather than the frozen version, Goodall said storage and accessibility were key factors in the decision.

"Everybody loves ice cream, but not everybody has the storage for ice cream so we wanted it to be more accessible something that you can mix whenever you want it," she said.

By Sunday Business checks, Lasco Manufacturing is the first in Jamaica to produce a powdered ice cream.

Goodall was initially guarded on the revenue impact, but eventually said the company believes it could grow powdered sales by 20 per cent.

"Chairman (Lascelles Chin) is always trying to find things that the Jamaican consumer needs and tries to give it to them at an affordable price. So, to think about a sachet of ice cream that you can make almost a pint of ice cream from ... you can't buy a pint of ice cream for $120," she said.

Lasco's dessert mixes will debut in retail chains and, based on market response, may eventually be marketed by wholesalers.

"If we do have the overwhelming response that we are hoping for, then yes," Goodall said of a possible crossover.

tameka.gordon@gleanerjm.com