Case | HBS Case Collection | August 2006

Dreyer's Slow Churned(TM) Ice Cream

by Noel H. Watson, Steven C. Wheelwright and Brian DeLacey

Abstract

Examines capacity forecasting and planning in a complex new product introduction scenario. The introduction at Dreyer's, a large dairy snack manufacturer, involves not only a new product but a new manufacturing process and product package, thus implying a significant cross-functional coordination context. In December 2001, the company was faced with determining the roll-out plan for Slow Churned (TM), a new brand of ice cream made possible by capital-intensive innovations in Dreyer's manufacturing process. Using a patented extrusion technology (ET) operating at very low temperature and very high pressure, Dreyer's could produce ice cream that had half the fat of premium ice cream and one-third fewer calories, yet tasted as good as full-fat ice cream to 80% of the consumers surveyed. The recent strong results from a marketing B-scan test had CEO T. Gary Rogers about to ask his leadership team to consider a national launch. However, marketing had generated multiple options for packaging, branding, and advertising programs related to Slow Churned (TM), and manufacturing was anxious about a production scale-up as R&D continued to tweak the new process and refine its reliability and overall quality. Dreyer's Direct Store Delivery (DSD) system could reach 90% of the households in America as soon as any new product was ready, but the Sales organization remained skeptical of the reported B-Scan results.

Keywords: Advertising; Forecasting and Prediction; Growth and Development Strategy; Brands and Branding; Product Launch; Product Development; Planning; Food and Beverage Industry; United States;

Citation:

Watson, Noel H., Steven C. Wheelwright, and Brian DeLacey. "Dreyer's Slow Churned(TM) Ice Cream." Harvard Business School Case 607-018, August 2006.