Snacks & Candy

Rutter's Churns Out New Ice Cream

Pennsylvania chain to reformulate its private-label treat

YORK, Pa. -- Begun by brothers George and Bud Rutter in 1921, Rutter's is family-owned with a pride in identity as strong as it was more than 80 years ago. That self-esteem drives business decisions, such as one of the chain's most recent, to improve the ice cream that bears the name of the brothers who started the venture as a retail dairy operation.

According to Jeff Leedy, vice president of marketing for the York, Pa.-based chain of 50 convenience stores, the four SKUs of mid-level ice cream (manufactured by a co-packer) are being phased out. They [image-nocss] will be re-introduced with not only at a higher 14% butterfat blend, but also with what Leedy calls retro packaging.

The Rutter's brand is something that we're very protective of, Leedy told CSP Daily News. [The reformulation] is consistent with our brand image. We felt that the product was not of the sufficient quality that met our standards, and [we felt] that what we were going to do is bring it back at a much higher level and put some oomph behind it when it was re-introduced. [We're] bringing it back with the position that it's a brand equal to or superior to a Breyer's or an Edy's might be in this market.

Meanwhile, Leedy said the retro packaging is designed to make the brand stand out in the freezer. The packaging really is just to catch their eye, it's not so much hooked back to the heritage of the dairy, he said. What we're trying to do is get that visual hook in the case and then tell them the story about the quality of the product and go from there.

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