But in a conference room in Brenham, Texas, there is a small group that faithfully gathers each work day morning for something few consider as a day breaker. They sit around a large table, spoons in hand, to do what might be the most important act of their business day. They eat ice cream.
|Want to win one of five coupons for a free half-gallon of Blue Bell |
Ice Cream? Follow Eating My Words (directions at right)
and @jwlucasnc on Twitter by midnight Wednesday, March 21.
Winners will be chosen at random and announced on March 22.
Blue Bell is straying a bit this week, gearing up new trucks and delivery teams to officially enter the Triangle market on Monday, when its products will be available at Kroger, Lowes Foods and Walmart stores. Other sellers are expected to follow.
Valera, a 31-year veteran who has developed countless flavors for the company, said the R&D unit typically considers about 300 concepts annually and produces as many as 20-25 of the most promising in small batches. Only 10 to 12 of those ever get invited to a series of tastings the company conducts each May, which further winnows the field to five or six winners.
One such example was Rocky Mountain Road, which was introduced in January. The decadent blend features dark chocolate ice cream, dark chocolate-coated peanuts, milk chocolate-coated pecans, white chocolate-coated almonds and roasted walnuts, all surrounded by a marshmallow swirl. It proved so popular that it likely will reappear in rotation.
Blue Bell does not operate any ice cream shops but does prepare three-gallon containers for the commercial markets. Its options for most North Carolina consumers will include half-gallons of ice cream and frozen yogurt, as well as frozen snacks.
All Blue Bell products are manufactured in the company’s Texas plant and handled exclusively by employees until it is placed in a store’s freezer case. Warehouse and cold storage are managed locally in Morrisville and Greensboro, respectively, with a distribution facility to follow in Raleigh or Durham.
“We want to make sure that people who handle our brand know the importance of temperature control,” Valera said. “Freshness is of utmost importance to us. It’s a product that can be easily damaged.”
Blue Bell likewise wants to take special care of its fans by inviting them to register online for Extra Scoops. These special promotions include monthly coupons, recipes and advance notice of new flavors.
“We take seriously our responsibility to make sure our customers are happy,” Valera said. “It’s a great feeling when you talk to people and they find out where you work. I’m ecstatic that people enjoy what we create.”
*Note: Coupons for free half-gallons of ice cream are provided as a promotional item by Blue Bell. Be sure to follow both Eating My Words and @jwlucasnc on Twitter by midnight Wednesday, March 22. Winners will be chosen at random and announced on March 23.