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TheStreet Open House

Small Biz Battles Popular Ice Cream Brands With Unusual Flavors

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- In a country where the most popular ice cream flavor is vanilla, it might seem crazy to sell such strange-sounding flavors as purple yam and avocado. Sure, you'll find some unusual flavors in restaurants and ice cream shops every now and then, but few end up in supermarkets next to conventional flavors.

With its Magnolia Ice Cream brand, Ramar Foods, a family-owned business in Pittsburg, Calif., is going head to head with the likes of Unilever's (UL) Breyers, Nestle's (NSRGY) Edy's and Kroger's (KR) Turkey Hill. Some of the flavors to look out for are avocado, purple yam, lychee, Thai tea, guava, mango and young coconut. (Click here to see photos and descriptions of each ice cream.)

Previously confined to Asian and ethnic grocery stores across the U.S. and Canada, Magnolia Ice Cream and milk bars are now available at mainstream supermarkets such as Whole Foods, Fresh & Easy, H-E-B, Kings, Balducci's, Morton Williams, Market District, Giant Eagle and Gourmet Garage.

"We have seen an overwhelming positive response from customers looking for a new ice cream experience," says PJ Quesada, Ramar Foods' vice president of marketing. "Over 90% of American households stock ice cream in their freezer regularly; we are happy to offer an alternative to the ordinary."

Made from California milk and tropical fruits almost exclusively imported from the Philippines, Magnolia Ice Cream hopes to attract shoppers with its colorful packaging and catchy phrases printed on the labels. For example, the label on a pint of avocado ice cream reads, "Tasty in a taco, mind-blowing in an ice cream."

Corn and cheese ice cream, anyone? That's actually a popular flavor among Magnolia's ethnic customers, but for now is only sold at Asian retailers.

"We look forward to introducing more flavors to our mainstream audience, but are taking the introduction to tropical flavors one sandy step at a time," Quesada says.

Check out these unusual ice cream flavors from Magnolia Ice Cream.

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