Apparently at Ferrero they have acquired a taste for commercial battles and now they are setting out on the assault on the business sector packaged ice cream. A company statement announced that they will soon hit supermarket shelves in Italy, France, Germany, Austria and Spain five new products: a stick with the Ferrero Rocher brand in three versions and two icicles “Estathé Ice”. It is only the beginning of the penetration in a new sector, but the Piedmontese company is a elephant and opens onto a market that is valid in all respects in Italy 2 billion euros: “sticks” and “icicles” make up 25% of the total (respectively 18% and 7%), therefore revenues for 500 million the year.
Ferrero’s blitz basically has three targets: Algida of the Anglo-Dutch Unilever group which has 50% of the market, the Sammontana / Sanson of the Bagnoli family (about 20%) e Motta / Ancient ice cream parlor of the Course of Nestlé (18%). It will be a classic trade war, but fought over a product with an enormous symbolic significance and which – in addition to being a passion of the Italians – has actually accompanied the whole republican history. If the first milk ice cream is traced back to the court of Caterina de ‘Medici, the first widespread industrial product was born almost in a birth with the Republic: the “Mottarello” of the Milanese ice cream shop Motta, a stick of fiordilatte covered with chocolate, dates back to 1948, enters production in 1950 and will be the protagonist of one of the first advertising campaigns modern agri-food products the following year.
The history ofAlgida it is no less symbolic for republican Italy: founded in 1953 in Lazio, one of the four partners is the Austrian Jewish engineer Alfred Wiesner, escaped from Fossombrone prison in 1943, partisan, then entered the ice cream industry because – so the legend goes – at the end of the war the Americans to thank him gave him two machines to produce ice cream. And theindustrial approach was the real novelty that Algida brought to the sector: their first product was the “Cremino”, a big success. As for their most famous ice cream – the “a croissant” – was invented by the ice cream parlor Spica of Naples in 1959 and is therefore the ice cream of economic boom, but it was in the seventies that it became a global brand, when the patent ended up in the hands of Unilever which advertised it precisely with the Algida brand. The “heart of cream” it will be the ice cream of the summers of the Eighties.
The Seventies, on the other hand, are the decade in which the Sammontana jar. The Bagnoli brothers, in that of Empoli, they have been making ice cream in metal jars since the 1950s, but the one-liter jar with the cardboard tray only comes in 1971, along with the domestic spread of refrigerator with freezer: to get anywhere, the Bagnoli also invented the concession on loan for use of freezers to merchants. Curiously, ice cream enters the homes of Italians just as the state enters the ice cream industry: three years earlier, in 1968, IRI acquired 35% of the Milanese Motta and – amidst ups and downs that will involve other historic food brands – the company will remain in the public orbit until 1993, when it will end up at Nestlé together with Antica gelateria del Corso, Alemagna and La Valle degli Orti.
Spring 2021 is that of the Ferrero’s assault on the rich market for packaged ice cream. They will make money even if they do not have to come up with an ice cream capable of embodying an era: their place in the collective imagination is not in question since it was the 1964 in Alba, they started producing the Nutella.