Magnolia Ice Cream

Magnolia Ice Cream

Magnolia Dairy Ice Cream is a Philippine brand of ice cream that includes unusual tropical flavors and is sold domestically in the Philippines and in other markets such as Thailand, the United States, Australia, Malaysia, and Singapore. Magnolia was founded in 1925[1] and the company's ice cream flavors include halo-halo (a mix of fruit and beans), Buko Pandan (young coconut with pandan), mais-queso (corn and cheese), avocado, jackfruit with cashew, taro and buko salad (coconut and fruit), and macapuno (a variety of coconut). The brand also offers mango and more typical flavors like chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla.[2] They also sold special edition ice cream dubbed "Flavor of The Month," which is only sold for a month.

Magnolia is a division of San Miguel Corporation, one Asia's largest food and beverage conglomerates in Asia.[2][2] It was purchased by Nestle Philippines in 1999, but the brand was relaunched by San Miguel in the Philippines in 2004 after a five year hiatus.

Upon reintroduction rocky road, cookies and cream, dulce de leche and double dutch were added as "gold label" flavors. [2] In 2008 the company introduced Coffee Vienna and Waffle Cheesecake for the Christmas holidays.[3]

Magnolia brand ice creams originated in Manila, a tropical city with a hot and humid climate.[4] Flavors like purple taro ice cream, are said to be especially refreshing, and one reviewer compared it to cookies-and-cream.[4] Other flavors are mango, jackfruit, macapuno (coconut), and ube (purple yam) flavors. [4]



From the 1960s until the 1990s Magnolia operated an ice cream parlor at its plant along Aurora Boulevard in Manila, "where customers could feast on traditional concoctions like banana splits, sundaes and parfaits," and opened many additional locations around the city.[1] The parlor was part of the deal when Magnolia was acquired by Nestle in 1996[1] and the name Magnolia was phased into Nestle branded ice creams, but it was reintroduced in 2004 by San Miguel[5] and the parlor reopened with a partner in 2008.[6] The division had been marketed as one of the "family" brands of San Miguel.[7]The reintroduction followed the expiration of a non-compete clause.[8]

The company expanded and modernized in the early 1990s, with three new plants including one in Iliolo, part of a P25 billion investment plan.[9] Other ice cream production plants were located in Quezon City, Cebu, Davao and Cagayan de Oro, reducing transportation costs.[9]

San Miguel had been barred from participating in the ice cream industry for five years starting in 1998, following the "sale of its 45% stake in its joint venture with Nestle S.A. of Switzerland, Nestle Philippines Inc."[8] due to a non-compete clause in the agreement. A multi-product industrial park and plant was planned in the Laguna industrial park in Santa Rosa City outside Manila costing $18 million and was expected to come on line in 2005. San Miguel is one of Asia's largest food and beverage conglomerates. [8] The company is working to regain market leadership in bulk ice cream "through innovations in product packaging and cheaper but premium quality products" in a market at P5 billion and dominated by Unilever’s Selecta brand with 40 percent, Nestle with 35 percent and Magnolia with only two percent, as of 2008.[1]

In 2009 the company decorated its containers with artworks by renown Filipino artist Fernando Amorsolo.[10]

International Operations

In Thailand, Magnolia is manufactured by Singapore based Fraser & Neave, a company that in 1999 established its first presence in Thailand with 500 million baht investment to buy the United ice-cream brand from a Thai partner [11] "After the acquisition, it closed all ice-cream factories in Singapore and Malaysia and relocated the production to Thailand and F&N rebranded the United ice-cream into Magnolia."[11] Six years later F&N's Magnolia is profitable according to a company executive and among the top three brands in Thailand's six-billion-baht ice-cream market, after Wall's of Unilever Thai Trading and Nestle's Thai division. About 60 percent of the total output is slated for exports. [11] The company produced over 300 stock-keeping units in 2005, the smallest unit of measure when the ice-cream is issued from or returned to a warehouse, and had a research and development centre exclusively for the Magnolia ice-cream.[11] According to an executive, "We want to make Thailand stronger as a production centre for Magnolia ice-cream. We have no plans to move the plant to China as we believe Thailand can produce better and high-quality products." [11]

In the United States, the Magnolia Brand and Trademark are owned by a separate family business which has no connection to San Miguel Corporation. The ice cream is manufactured by Ramar International Corp. in Pittsburg, California which "produces a quality line of ice cream based on traditional Filipino flavors" including their best seller, Ube, an ice cream made from purple yams. Currently, Ramar Foods produces one of the only tropical ice cream products in the industry made from real Butterfat, as opposed to Mellorine, which is common among tropical ice cream brands. According to manufacturing manager Steven Eis, the ice cream is very popular in the Filipino communities and is sold in ethnic grocery stores throughout California and Hawaii. "But it's beginning to draw customers from outside the market as people search for alternatives to vanilla and chocolate."[12]

In popular culture

Magnolia held a Christmas tub wrap design contest in 2008.[13]


  1. ^ a b c d Rose de la Cruz Magnolia revives ice cream parlor business May 19, 2008 The Philippine Star
  2. ^ a b c d San Miguel relaunches Magnolia ice cream 27-Oct-2004 AP-Food Technology
  3. ^ I scream for ice cream this Christmas November 20, 2008 The Philippine Star
  4. ^ a b c "Too bad, but Jegimajo! no longer carries corn-and-cheese ice cream; it's difficult to describe that eating experience but, trust me, it's better than it sounds." Keep Austin Chilled; Where to go for sweet relief from the heat JULY 1, 2005 FOOD Austin Chronicle
  5. ^ "Did you notice the way the Magnolia ice cream brand name was slowly phased out by the Nestlé brand name when Nestlé bought Magnolia? (Nestlé bought Magnolia ice cream in 1996 from San Miguel Corp. In 2004 the Magnolia brand ice cream was relaunched by San Miguel). Anyway, Nestlé did the brand name replacement/conditioning game in the same manner. First it was: Magnolia Nestlé Ice Cream. Then it became Nestlé Magnolia Ice Cream Then it was just Nestlé Ice Cream" Ned Roberto, Ardy Roberto The replacements 06/15/2007 Inquirer
  6. ^ Kenneth del Rosario Old-time ice cream concoctions now back 05/03/2008 Philippine Daily Inquirer
  7. ^ [1] May 16, 1993 Manila Standard page 19
  8. ^ a b c San Miguel back in ice cream October 20, 2004 Ice Cream Reporter
  9. ^ a b Magnolia Ice Cream Plant in Iliolo up by December September 10, 1990 Manila Standard
  10. ^ The art of cool March 13, 2009 The Philippine Star
  11. ^ a b c d e Sukanya Parnsoonthorn Sarsi root beer stages fizzy return to Thai market after seven years May 3, 2005 Bangkok Post (Thailand) Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
  12. ^ We all scream for gelato! July 18, 2005 Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, CA)
  13. ^ Paul Rana of PWU Wins Magnolia Ice Cream's Christmas tubwrap contest November 10, 2008 The Philippine Star

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