NOW HOME DELIVERY ICE CREAM
This company conquered the ice cream market. Home delivery is the final frontier
NOW HOME DELIVERY ICE CREAM IN 30 MINUTES
Thomas Wall had a problem. It was the summer of 1913 and business was flagging at T. Wall & Sons, his family butcher shop in London.
Overheated shoppers just weren’t buying the company’s specialty sausages. Then, Wall had an epiphany: Selling ice cream could help counteract the seasonal sales slump.
The idea was set aside when World War I started a year later. But the arrival of a commercial freezer from the United States in 1922 catalyzed his ambitions. From a factory in west London, Wall’s ice cream was soon being hawked to Londoners via horse and cart, and then by salespeople on tricycles. By 1939, there were 8,500 of the company’s tricycles on Britain’s roads.
Wall’s ice cream salesmen in Britain in 1922 (left) and 1938 (right).
Meanwhile, a consumer goods juggernaut was being created. Wall’s was bought by Lever Brothers, then selling Sunlight soap, which merged with Dutch company Margarine Unie in 1930 to create Unilever (UL).
The Anglo-Dutch firm has gone on to acquire some two dozen other major ice cream brands, including Klondike and Ben & Jerry’s, while pioneering its own Magnum line. It sells ice cream in 63 countries around the world and commands almost a fifth of global ice cream sales, a bigger share than its next four competitors combined, according to market research firm Euromonitor.
Unilever is now the undisputed king of ice cream. But as the coronavirus pandemic rages on, and lockdowns persist, the company is taking inspiration from the delivery tricycles of its early years to conquer one final frontier: ice cream delivered to your home, on demand.
Ice cream around every corner
It won’t have far to travel. Chances are, while reading this article you’re no more than a few hundred yards away from a Unilever ice cream…….