Starbucks Coffee Company (NASDAQ:SBUX) and Unilever (NYSE:UN)(NYSE:UL) today announced an exclusive licensing agreement for the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of Starbucks® ice cream in the U.S. and Canada. The agreement leverages Starbucks coffee expertise and passion for innovation and Unilever’s capabilities as the leading global manufacturer and marketer of ice cream, strengthening the companies’ super-premium positions in the more than $17 billion ice cream category in the U.S. and Canada.
“Unilever’s industry-leading innovation and commitment to social responsibility with brands like Ben & Jerry’s are well-aligned with our values and vision for the business,” said Gerry Lopez, president, Starbucks Global Consumer Products, Starbucks Foodservice and Seattle’s Best Coffee. “This relationship will enable us to introduce exciting new products and extend the Starbucks Experience to a larger base of consumers.”
Starbucks® ice cream was first introduced in 1996, at which time it quickly became a leading brand of coffee ice cream in the U.S. Starbucks ice cream is made with arabica coffee, purchased and roasted in accordance with Starbucks stringent standards.
In addition to Ben & Jerry’s®, Unilever’s iconic ice cream brands in North America include Breyers®, Good Humor®, Klondike® and Popsicle®. .
“Ice cream is a core strategic category for Unilever, generating more than $6 billion in annual sales for us globally,” said Peter Ter Kulve, Unilever Senior Vice President, Global Ice Cream. “Starbucks is recognized around the world for its high-quality coffee and innovative approach to products, and thus Starbucks-branded super-premium ice cream is a perfect complement to our portfolio. We look forward to working together to deliver a signature and unparalleled frozen dessert experience to consumers.”
The companies’ ice cream licensing agreement builds upon an existing relationship for the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of Starbucks® Tazo® ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages, which was announced last month. Starbucks and the Pepsi/Lipton Tea Partnership (PLP), a joint venture between Unilever and PepsiCo, signed a licensing agreement to manage the product line.