Call it the final scoop in the great ice cream meltdown.
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Nestlé agreed to sell its U.S. ice cream operations for $4 billion. The deal includes Häagen-Dazs, Edy's and Drumstick cones. Nestlé sold off its Mexican ice cream operations in 2014 to Grupo Herdez in a deal worth about $68.7 million. In July the food giant sold its Israeli ice cream business to Froneri for an undisclosed sum.
Froneri is now the owner of Amaretto Black Cherry Almond and Bourbon Praline Pecan Ice Cream. Froneri is an ice cream-focused joint venture Nestlé created in 2016 with PAI Partners, a European private equity firm. The new entity combined Nestlé's European ice cream business in 20 countries and PAI-owned R&R to create one of the world's largest ice cream companies.
"The creation of Froneri has been a phenomenal success. We are now making this business our global strategic partner in ice cream and are convinced that Froneri's successful business model can be extended to the U.S. market," Nestlé CEO Mark Schneider said in a statement. "With this transaction, we are taking a decisive step towards our goal of achieving global leadership in ice cream."
Although in its 2017 annual review, Nestle didn't sound so hot on ice cream, noting, "We continued to transform our portfolio to reflect changing consumer needs." The report touted alternative products such as organic and yogurt products as well as lactose‑free items.
Still, good old-fashioned American ice cream is still popular in the USA. According to the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), the average American consumes more than 23 pounds of ice cream per year and "regular" ice cream complete with sugar and fat remains the most popular form of frozen desserts.
And while Nestlé's U.S. brand will now be going international, according to the IDFA, ice cream in the USA is an $11 billion industry that supports 26,000 direct jobs and generates $1.6 billion in direct wages.