OAKLAND, Calif.The venerable direct store delivery distribution system of Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream Inc., may remain open to competitors even after the company merges with Nestlé. At least that’s the way it sounded when the company’s CFO was quizzed last month during a conference call releasing Dreyer's 2002 financial reports.
“We run an open system,” said Timothy Kahn, CFO and v.p. of finance and administration at Dreyer’s. “We’re proud of the fact that we give best efforts for our competitors when they’re on our trucks. We don’t sell for them or look at their pricing and promotion policies. Most of the people who are competitors with us have been on our trucks, (and) seem very happy about it. The choice is always theirs and they have many other choices.”
The statement was in answer to an analyst’s question about competition in the superpremium segment and how it might effect the relationship with Unilever. Analysts have been speculating that with Ben & Jerry’s brand being under the Unilever umbrella, and with Dreyer’s about to become part of Nestlé, the successful distribution arrangement, which has the superpremium B&J distributed by Dreyer’s, might come to an end.
Dreyers’ consolidated net sales for 2002 increased 11% to $1.35 billion.