Being the president of an ice cream company has its perks, but sometimes, I have to make tough decisions. One of those decisions was whether or not to decrease the size of Turkey Hill’s ice cream packaging.
I remember when buying a half a gallon of ice cream meant you actually brought home a half a gallon of ice cream. But times change. Today, the half gallon is extinct, and the new standard throughout the ice cream industry is 1.5 quarts. That includes Turkey Hill. Our containers used to be 1.75 quarts (56 ounces). At the beginning of the year, we began the shift to 1.5 quarts (48 ounces) for our Light Ice cream and Frozen Yogurt. In August we’re going to start changing over the Premium Ice Cream line.
The difference is about a cup of ice cream – roughly two servings – but it feels like more, doesn’t it? That’s why I struggled with the decision to downsize our containers. In fact, I resisted it for a long time. Longer than both our national brand competitors.
Contrary to what some may think, this is not a case of ice cream companies trying to deceive customers or yield huge profits. In the end, we had to do it. In our industry, and in many others, manufacturing costs continue to escalate. The costs of ingredients such as milk, cream, cocoa and sweeteners are also rising. So is the cost of packaging, fuel and labor.
Considering the circumstances, Turkey Hill was faced with three choices. First, we could use cheaper, lower quality ingredients to make what some companies call a “frozen dairy dessert” (that’s not ice cream, in my opinion). Anyone who’s ever tasted Turkey Hill ice cream knows that wasn’t an option. Second, we could keep the containers the same size and raise the cost. That also wasn’t an option because raising the price would prevent Turkey Hill products from being able to compete for many grocery store sales promotions and everyday low cost programs. We also conducted focus groups and surveys, and our customers told us that raising the cost wasn’t something they’d like to see.
Instead, the overwhelming majority in our focus groups told us that keeping the price the same and decreasing the size of the package was the best answer, even if no one was really happy about it (including myself). It really is the most sensible solution, and one that will allow us to continue making ice cream in Lancaster County, instead of making it somewhere for less cost, and continue to use the premium ingredients that make our ice cream taste so good.
While we have reduced the size of the package we have maintained the quality recipes and selections of finest ingredients. We’ve also announced a small reduction in price effective October 6th to help stretch your dollar at the grocery store.
In the end, we hope you would agree with us that what matters isn’t the size of the package, but the passion of the people who make the product and the quality of what’s inside.
President, Turkey Hill Dairy
P.S. – More than anything, I want to know what you — our customers — think about this issue. Please feel free to offer your opinion by leaving a comment below.