Magnolia Ice Cream
This article is about Magnolia Dairy and Magnolia Ice cream, Philippines.
Magnolia Dairy Ice Cream is a Philippine brand of ice cream sold domestically in the Philippines and in other markets such as Thailand, the United States, Australia, Malaysia, and Singapore. It is made by Magnolia Dairy, a subsidiary of San Miguel PureFoods Company Incorporated.
Magnolia icecream's tropical ice cream flavours include Halo-halo (a mix of fruits and beans), Buko Pandán (young coconut with pandan), Maís-Queso (corn and cheese), avocado, Nangkasúy (jackfruit with cashew), Ube and Buko Salad (young coconut and fruit), and Macapuno (coconut sport). The brand also offers mango and other flavours like chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla. They also sell special-edition ice cream dubbed "Flavor of The Month," which is only sold for a month.
The history of Magnolia ice cream can be traced back to 1925, when San Miguel Corporation acquired an ice cream plant at 526, Aviles street, Manila. A year later, the plant was shifted to Echague street, Manila and was christened "Magnolia Ice Cream House". Distribution of their ice cream took place mostly through small shops and vendors, though the American troops belonging to the USAFFE were their largest customers. While Ice cream sodas were not new to the Philippines, having come by way of the Americans just before the Second World War, they became more commonplace only in the 1950s because of such establishments as the Botica Boie (the first chain of drug stores in Philippines), Dairy Queen (a company that used to make frozen desserts), and Magnolia Ice Cream House. This helped boost the popularity of Magnolia ice cream, since at that time, drug stores tended to be among the only stores to have refrigerators and freezers which were necessary to store ice cream. Else, ice cream carts were a popular way of distribution, which continues to date.
The end of the world war and subsequent freedom of Philippines was a time of mixed views - Filipinos were tasting freedom for the first time, but still depended on USA for support. In some ways, they wanted to mimic Americans and their lifestyle, but still wanted to retain their indigenousness. It was in such an era, in 1954, that Magnolia ice cream introduced the idea of "flavor of the month" and started to concoct new flavours like Ube (Yam), which were typical to the Philippines. (Magnolia had already started making popsicles two years earlier, in 1952). As refrigeration became cheaper, distribution increased and in 1970, a new facility was opened on a 5.2 hectare lot along Aurora boulevard, Quezon city, which, along with an ice cream and dairy production line, also housed the first ice cream parlour in Philippines. Gradually, Magnolia started to open ice cream parlors in different parts of Philippines. However, while the parlors did not really proliferate, sales of Magnolia ice cream continued to grow as freezers became more common in shops smaller cities.
Until the 1990s Magnolia operated the ice cream parlor at its plant along Aurora Boulevard in Manila, "where customers could feast on traditional concoctions like banana splits, sundaes and parfaits". Favorites were Ernie and Bert, Black and White, the Choo-choo Train, Banana Split Fudge, Marshmallow Nut Sundae, and the Coney Island.
Magnolia opened many additional locations around Manila. The parlor was part of the deal when Magnolia was acquired by Nestle in 1996 and the name Magnolia was phased into Nestle branded ice creams, but it was reintroduced in 2004 by San Miguel and the parlor reopened with a partner in 2008. The division had been marketed as one of the "family" brands of San Miguel. The reintroduction followed the expiration of a non-compete clause. This plant was demolished in 2010 and now houses a set of condominiums and a shopping mall developed by Robinsons, nostalgically called "Robinsons Magnolia". It has an ice cream parlor called Magnolia's Ice Cream house.
The company expanded and modernized in the early 1990s, with three new plants including one in Iloilo, part of a P25 billion investment plan. Other ice cream production plants were located in Quezon City, Cebu, Davao and Cagayan de Oro, reducing transportation costs.
The milk and ice cream business of San Miguel was sold to Nestle Philippines in 1997, but the brand was retained and was relaunched by San Miguel in the Philippines in 2004 after a seven year hiatus. Upon reintroduction rocky road, cookies and cream, dulce de leche and double dutch were added as "gold label" flavors. In 2008 the company introduced Coffee Vienna and Waffle Cheesecake for the Christmas holidays.
From 1998 to 2003, San Miguel was barred from participating in the ice cream industry as part of the agreement of the sale of its 45% stake in its joint venture with Nestle S.A. of Switzerland, Nestle Philippines Inc." due to a non-compete clause in the agreement. A multi-product industrial park and plant was planned in the Laguna industrial park in Santa Rosa City outside Manila costing $18 million and was expected to come on line in 2005.
Magnolia is working to regain market leadership in bulk ice cream "through innovations in product packaging and cheaper but premium quality products" in a market at P5 billion and dominated by Unilever’s Selecta brand with 40 percent, Nestle with 35 percent and Magnolia with only two percent, as of 2008. In 2009 the company decorated its containers with artworks by renown Filipino artist Fernando Amorsolo. That same year, the old plant at Aurora Boulevard was closed and later demolished to make way for a new residential and commercial site developed by Robinsons Land, eventually reopened as Robinsons Magnolia three years later, with Magnolia Residences opening soon. The Magnolia Ice Cream parlor is located at the new mall. The Magnolia Ice Cream plant is now located in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, which is in operation since 2010.
In Thailand, Magnolia is manufactured by Singapore based Fraser & Neave, a company that in 1999 established its first presence in Thailand with 500 million baht investment to buy the United ice-cream brand from a Thai partner  "After the acquisition, it closed all ice-cream factories in Singapore and Malaysia and relocated the production to Thailand and F&N rebranded the United ice-cream into Magnolia." Six years later F&N's Magnolia is profitable according to a company executive and among the top three brands in Thailand's six-billion-baht ice-cream market, after Wall's of Unilever Thai Trading and Nestle's Thai division. About 60 percent of the total output is slated for exports. The company produced over 300 stock-keeping units in 2005, the smallest unit of measure when the ice-cream is issued from or returned to a warehouse, and had a research and development centre exclusively for the Magnolia ice-cream. According to an executive, "We want to make Thailand stronger as a production centre for Magnolia ice-cream. We have no plans to move the plant to China as we believe Thailand can produce better and high-quality products." 
In the United States, the Magnolia Brand and Trademark are owned by a separate family business which has no connection to San Miguel Corporation. The ice cream is manufactured by Ramar International Corp. in Pittsburg, California which "produces a quality line of ice cream based on traditional Filipino flavors" including their best seller, Ube, an ice cream made from purple yams. Currently, Ramar Foods produces one of the only tropical ice cream products in the industry made from real Butterfat, as opposed to Mellorine, which is common among tropical ice cream brands. According to manufacturing manager Steven Eis, the ice cream is very popular in the Filipino communities and is sold in ethnic grocery stores throughout California and Hawaii. "But it's beginning to draw customers from outside the market as people search for alternatives to vanilla and chocolate."
In 2012, Ramar International won a trademark infringement case to San Miguel Corporation in the United States. However, San Miguel Corporation was only allowed to continue to export Philippine butter, margarine, and cheese to the US under the Magnolia brand. San Miguel sells their Mellorine to the US and Canada under the San Miguel Gold Label brand. Both parties are in the appeals process.
In popular culture
Magnolia Ice Cream is promoting tourism and local farm produce from different provinces of the Philippines through their "Best of the Philippines" ice cream flavor collections.
Ramar's Magnolia Ice Cream earned an American Graphic Design Award for Packaging by the American Graphic Design Institute.
- San Miguel relaunches Magnolia ice cream 27-October–2004 AP-Food Technology
- "The Magnolia heritage - About us". Official website - Magnolia Ice Crea. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
- Advertisements of Magnolia Ice Cream - 1970s
- Krasner-Khait, Barbara. The Impact of Refrigeration. USA: History Magazine.
- "Our History". Official website - Magnolia.
- "History and About us - San Miguel PureFoods". Official Website - San Miguel PureFoods. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
- Rose de la Cruz Magnolia revives ice cream parlor business May 19, 2008 The Philippine Star
- "Did you notice the way the Magnolia ice cream brand name was slowly phased out by the Nestlé brand name when Nestlé bought Magnolia? (Nestlé bought Magnolia ice cream in 1996 from San Miguel Corp. In 2004 the Magnolia brand ice cream was relaunched by San Miguel). Anyway, Nestlé did the brand name replacement/conditioning game in the same manner. First it was: Magnolia Nestlé Ice Cream. Then it became Nestlé Magnolia Ice Cream Then it was just Nestlé Ice Cream" Ned Roberto, Ardy Roberto The replacements 06/15/2007 Inquirer
- Kenneth del Rosario Old-time ice cream concoctions now back 05/03/2008 Philippine Daily Inquirer
-  May 16, 1993 Manila Standard page 19
- San Miguel back in ice cream October 20, 2004 Ice Cream Reporter
- "Robinsons Magnolia". Official website Robinsons malls. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
- Magnolia Ice Cream Plant in Iliolo up by December September 10, 1990 Manila Standard
- I scream for ice cream this Christmas November 20, 2008 The Philippine Star
- "Too bad, but Jegimajo! no longer carries corn-and-cheese ice cream; it's difficult to describe that eating experience but, trust me, it's better than it sounds." Keep Austin Chilled; Where to go for sweet relief from the heat JULY 1, 2005 FOOD Austin Chronicle
- The art of cool March 13, 2009 The Philippine Star
- Robinsons Magnolia: RLC’s newest lifestyle landmark August 16, 2012 Malaya
- Magnolia Ice Cream Inaugurates a New Plant San Miguel Corporation
- Sukanya Parnsoonthorn Sarsi root beer stages fizzy return to Thai market after seven years May 3, 2005 Bangkok Post (Thailand) Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
- We all scream for gelato! July 18, 2005 Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, CA)
- Paul Rana of PWU Wins Magnolia Ice Cream's Christmas tubwrap contest November 10, 2008 The Philippine Star