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Tim Hortons expands into ice cream

The new line of five ice creams draws inspiration from its baked goods and drinks
Lineup of Tim Hortons ice cream tubs
Tim Hortons brings its iconic flavours to the ice cream aisle with the launch of its rich and premium quality Tim Hortons Ice Cream, made in Canada with 100% Canadian dairy. (CNW Group/Tim Hortons)

Tim Hortons is introducing an ice cream line that draws from its most popular baked goods and beverage products.

The 500 ml tubs will be available in five flavours: Salted Caramel Iced Capp, Double Chocolate Donut, Birthday Cake Timbits, Apple Fritter, and Fruit Explosion.

The beloved coffee chain partnered with Ontario-based ice cream company Shaw’s to develop the ice cream. While it did experiment with other flavours in its brand portfolio, these were the clear favourites when it came to consumer testing, says vice-president of CPG Sourabh Malik.

The product launch takes the significant brand equity that Tims has with Canadians, and brings it together with flavours that are distinctively its own, says Malik. So how closely do the ice cream’s flavours come to their non-frozen counterparts?

“When you taste them, you can definitely recall the Tim Hortons café experience,” says Malik. The expectation, he says, is that the Salted Caramel Iced Capp and Birthday Cake Timbits will be the customer favourites, followed by Double Chocolate Donut and Apple Fritter.

Tims has been steadily expanding into packaged foods in recent years, branching out from natural brand expansions such as coffee, tea and hot chocolate, into food items like soups, granola bars and breakfast cereal. The goal, says Malik, is to “own the pantry,” particularly as dining has become a decidedly more in-home experience over the past two years.

Tim Hortons took the new ice cream product from ideation to market in just over six months. “It’s one of the fastest product launches our team has done,” says Malik. “Everyone was highly engaged to make this happen.”

The ice cream will be carried by major national retailers including Walmart, Loblaws and Sobeys. “There was huge excitement among Canadian retailers, which gave us even more confidence that the category is growing, that there’s room for us, and our brand is really strong,” says Malik.

Tims is orienting the products around young families, with Malik saying the selected flavours are designed to have appeal for both adults and children. “We’re expecting families to buy multiple flavours,” he says. “It’s very similar to cereal consumption, where families are buying kids cereal, adult cereal and functional cereals.”

“We know that we have a ton of equity with our restaurant menu items,” he adds. “If we can connect those items with highly penetrated consumer categories, the chances of success are high.”

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