Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Ice Creamed: Haagen Dazs and Ben & Jerry's

(exhibit "A")

When I first arrived in Amsterdam, the only high quality ice cream available was Haagen Dazs, and it was only available at 6.25 per 500ml at the Albert Heijn, the country's dominant grocery chain.
That's US$8.53, at today's exchange rate. They added in Ben & Jerry's somewhere along the way, at 5.25 euro (US$7.17). I think they may have cut those prices by a few cents about two years back.

Anyhow, the point is, the chickens are finally coming home to roost. SUCK IT Haagen Dazs and Ben & Jerry's! And tell your masters (That's General Mills/Nestle and Unilever) the grim reaper has arrived!

Das Lidl (the German chain with the Wal-Mart type labor practices) and Dirk van de Broek (The cheap-o Dutch retailer whose name means "Dirk of the Pants") have both introduced cheaper versions of super high quality ice cream in the past month.

At the Dirk on Heinekenplein (where I do my shopping when I can) the new "Noblissima" brand is 2.99 euros. As you can see from exhibit A, they have Cookies & Cream, among others.

In exhibit B, you can see the Lidl sells the "Prestige" brand at that same price, featuring "Macadamia Nut Brittle," my personal favorite.

(exhibit "B")

Admittedly, it's not *quite* as good as the Haagen Dazs version, but it's definitely in the same ballpark.

Albert Heijn has stopped selling Haagen Dazs completely (they pulled it from the shelves in April), I guess because they have a deal with Unilever on Ben & Jerry's. But B&J prices have already been cut to 4.79 euros (US$6.54). (Exhibit C:)

And I bet the best is yet to come.

B&J have to fight against Albert Hein's in-house brand "Albert Heijn Excellent," available for 3.99 euro.

In other words, capitalism, in the form of price competition, is finally arriving in this cartel-run country.

The Oracle of Amsterdam predicts all purveyors of overpriced ice cream will feel the pain very, very soon. Or better yet _ commoditization! Margin squeeze! Affordable ice cream for all! Die, you consumer-hating corporate swine!

Die! Die! Die!

Can you tell I get worked up about this?

Especially Haagen Dazs must be suffering due to getting the 'boot' from Albert Heijn.
Apparently HD is still for sale at the chains "C1000" and "Super de Boer," but their owner Laurus is a step away from Chapter 11 anyhow (okay 2 steps), and they are like the dingleberries sticking to the backside of Albert Heijn in terms of size.

I've never even seen a Super de Boer in Amsterdam, and just one C1000, once.

The only way normal people can get Haagen Dazs now is from a pizza delivery company (or at the HD shop on Leidseplein). Delivery costs 6.75 (US$9.22) per pint.

Ha, ha! 'Tis to laugh.

-Your friendly neighborhood consumer advocate.

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