Taking on Tip Top

Here’s an email exchange I had with Tip Top.


Dear Tip Top

This is how my family enjoys your ice cream: whenever it is on special ($4.50 or less) we grab a 2L carton, usually vanilla. In an ice cream emergency, if there is no other ice cream on special and we have to pay full price, that’s when we treat ourselves to one of the flavours that doesn’t normally make it into the specials, usually Jelly Tip. So Jelly Tip (and one or two other flavours) are now being sold in 1.6 litre cartons, with no price difference to compensate. Tip Top has plummeted into Cadbury chocolate territory; in an attempt to look classy Cadbury made their chocolate bars smaller and thinner. Nobody is fooled and I haven’t met anyone who likes it. Please rethink this strategy. I’m sure it seemed like a good idea in the board room, with the words ‘bottom line’ and ‘profit margin’ written on the white board. You’ve fixed that awful, cheesy ‘happy people smiling’ lid art and the new branding looks great. But we won’t be buying Jelly Tip any more. Your ice cream rules, you don’t need to pretend it is more valuable than it already is. Especially at the expense of people who can’t justify the cost any more.

Formally a happy customer.

Marcel Currin


Dear Marcel

Thank you for your feedback regarding the change of four of our products to a 1.6L tub. Just to explain the changes, please be assured nine of our top selling favourite flavours including Hokey Pokey, Vanilla & Chocolate have not and will not change their pack size. These flavours will remain in a 2L tub. Only four flavours have moved to 1.6L and there are two reasons for this. Firstly, the reality that our ‘everyday favourites’ (e.g. vanilla, hokey pokey) had price-wise, been carrying the ‘family reward’ flavours (e.g. Gone Fishing, Goody Goody Gum Drops) for a while. In our view, moving the four ‘family reward’ flavours into a 1.6 litre tub was the fairest way to correct this. If all the pack sizes had stayed the same, the price of all products including ‘everyday favourites’ would have gone up, and we didn’t think this was fair on New Zealand families. Secondly, these changes also reflect what consumers have been telling us over the past year – they are buying plainer flavours for everyday use and more indulgent flavours for occasional family treats. To make these indulgent flavours more ‘treaty’, on average our ‘rewards’ range has 17% more inclusions added, like more Jelly in Jelly Tip and more Fish in Gone Fishing. Tip Top prides itself on using fresh NZ milk and cream and we’re committed to making all our ice cream right here in NZ, with quality local ingredients. While we regret that these changes may not be ideal, we feel this is the best way to ensure we can continue to deliver a great quality product at a fair price.


With regards

(full name supplied)


Hi Becs

Thanks so much for your quick response to my email, I really appreciate it. Your explanation is polite and straightforward. It also makes good business sense and I know that every business needs to change with the times (even one whose parent company appears to be Fonterra). But I’m still a bit grumpy. The fact is that I have never asked for 17% more jelly in Jelly Tip or for more fish in Gone Fishing. I’m quite happy with the jelly-to-ice cream ratio, and it bothers me somewhat that a smaller tub will now have more jelly in it. In effect you are altering the product, serving it in a smaller portion and charging more. How about we forget about the 17% extra jelly, go back to 2L tub and call it even? The reason I’m so passionate about this is because I love ice cream and so do my three boys. I’m not irresponsible about it; I’m fit, trim and healthy, and my boys (2, 4 and 6) are very active. We grow our own vegetables but we love our ice cream. For a single income family, if we’re going to treat ourselves to ice cream and I have the option of 2L or 1.6L for the same or similar price I will choose the 2L every time. (In fact, for around the same price I can probably get 2L of Cadbury’s Caramello icecream – which totally rocks. If they downsize their ice cream as they did with their chocolate I’ll be a very unhappy kiwi.) I suspect that your target market for the ‘family reward’ flavours has shifted to the double income no kids bracket. That’s Tip Top’s prerogative. The reality is that my family won’t be buying the ‘extra treaty’ flavours any more unless they go on special, and even then: 2L still wins. I do appreciate your reply. For the record, I wrote this while eating Tip Top’s new Hocus Pocus ice cream. Not bad, but I really would have prefered Jelly Tip.


Regards Marcel


Hi Marcel

thanks for your feedback it is appreciated. I have forwarded your comments to our Marketing team for their information. Please forward me your boys names so that I can send a Mega Milk drink bottle to them.

With regards



Hi Becs

They’d love that. (Not that I was complaining about a shortage of drink bottles.) Their names are Fletcher, Toby and Dante (oldest to youngest.) Righto, I’ve been boxing at lunchtime and cycled home from work this evening, time for some more Hocus Pocus.