As part of National Ice Cream Month we are highlighting three ice cream processors we’ve previously profiled at Dairy Foods and each company’s unique approaches to handling the ice cream business.

With all the competition in the world of ice cream, each of these companies has found a way to stay relevant, unique and rise above any challenges.

Magnolia ice cream blossoms with tropical flavors 

Food and flavor preferences are moving in the direction of adventurous eating and the owners of Pittsburg, Calif.-based Ramar Foods are banking on that. The company makes Filipino ice cream flavors, like purple yam, avocado, lychee, coconut and other tropical flavors in its Magnolia brand.

The brand has grown beyond mom-and-pop ethnic grocery stores to large chain supermarkets and into the home freezers of consumers across the United States. Moving from a grocer’s ethnic door to the ice cream door is where the company wants to be. But, as an executive notes, “It’s a lot more crowded in the ice cream door.” Read more about this company’s unique story here.

Mayfield Dairy Farms has the best of both worlds 

Mayfield Dairy Farms is a regional dairy, but with the backing of a national dairy powerhouse. The Athens, Tenn.-based dairy processor has developed a loyal following in the Southeast United States for its quality milk and ice creams. Mayfield is supported by the investment dollars and marketing muscle of a billion-dollar parent, Dean Foods Co., which acquired the company in 1990.

The company considers itself a manufacturer of premium ice creams that are more expensive than private label versions but less expensive per-ounce than super-premium brands. To back up its quality claim, the dairy can point to the Dean Foods CEO Quality Award for ice cream won by the Birmingham plant in 2013 and 2014. It was selected over Dean Foods’ eight other ice cream plants after a rigorous, year-long judging process. Read more about this company's story here.

How 100-year-old Velvet Ice Cream stays relevant  

Family-owned Velvet Ice Cream has made its way in the ice cream business for over 100 years. The headquarters and ice cream plant are in Licking County. (Could there be a better place name for an ice cream company?) To get where it is today, the company has had to overcome various obstacles, challenges and competition, but has always found a way to deal with them.

At Velvet, there is no such thing as plain vanilla. The company makes three versions, each packaged separately or combined into one carton (called Vanilla Lovers Trio) like a Neapolitan or spumoni ice cream would be packaged. The company also is known for its extensive use of nuts, inclusions and fruits, including buckeyes, raspberry, fudge ripples, caramel, pecans and cashews (the last two combined into one ice cream).

But after making ice cream for 100 years, Velvet has a pretty good idea of what will sell in more about this long-standing company's story here.