Magnolia Ice Cream

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For its parent company, see Magnolia, Inc..
Product type Dairy products (Ice cream, frozen desserts, UHT milk, butter, margarine, processed cheese, all-purpose cream)
Owner Magnolia, Inc.
(a subsidiay of San Miguel Pure Foods Company, Inc.)
Country Philippines
Introduced 1925
Markets Philippines
Tagline Celebrate Goodness Everyday

Magnolia is a brand of ice cream and dairy products owned by San Miguel Corporation (SMC). The brand was commercially established by SMC (then known as San Miguel Brewery) in 1925. From its core products of ice cream and milk, the brand expanded into frozen desserts, butter, margarine and processed cheese and operated as the Magnolia Division of San Miguel Corporation until 1996. After a brief spin-off of the ice cream and milk business from 1996 to 1998 (and its hibernation from 1998 to 2003), these products were combined once again under one corporation in 2004 - Magnolia, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of San Miguel Pure Foods Company, Inc. The Magnolia brand name is also used by other SMC companies for various food and beverage products.


The history of the Magnolia brand can be traced back to 1899 when an American by the name of William J. Schober arrived in the Philippines as a cook in the volunteer army and introduced the “magnolia pie”, “magnolia ice cream” and “magnolia ice-drop”.[1] In 1925, Schober sold his business interests to SMC (then known as San Miguel Brewery). The dairy plant at 526 Calle Aviles in the San Miguel district of Manila stood on the same street as the original San Miguel brewery (6 Calle Aviles). A year later, the dairy was relocated to Calle Echague (now C. Palanca Sr., Street) in Quiapo, Manila.[2] In 1970, production was transferred to a new modern facility in Aurora Boulevard, Quezon City, known as the Magnolia Dairy Products Plant. The facility also housed the main branch of its Magnolia ice cream parlor.[3]

In 1981, SMC spun off its butter and margarine production to a new subsidiary named Philippine Dairy Products Corporation (PDPC – now known as, Magnolia, Inc.), a joint-venture with New Zealand Dairy Board, with its production facility based in the Aurora Boulevard plant.

In 1996, SMC transferred its ice cream and milk businesses to a new company, Magnolia-Nestlé Corporation, a joint-venture with Nestlé. SMC retained ownership of the Magnolia brand since it was also being used by other SMC products. SMC also retained ownership of the Aurora Boulevard property. In 1998, SMC withdrew from the Magnolia-Nestlé venture and a non-compete clause barred it from the ice cream and milk businesses for five years. Upon the expiration of the non-compete clause in 2004, SMC revived its ice cream and milk businesses through its subsidiary, Magnolia, Inc.[4] On May 19, 2010, Magnolia, Inc. inaugurated its main ice cream production facility in Santa Rosa, Laguna.[5][6]


Affiliated products[edit]

  • Magnolia Chicken (San Miguel Foods, Inc., a subsidiary of San Miguel Pure Foods Company, Inc.) began in 1953 when the first B-Meg feedmill of the San Miguel Brewery, located in Balintawak, converted by-products of San Miguel's beer production into animal feeds. In 1972, San Miguel’s integrated poultry operations began with its first breeder farm in Cavite. The first chicken processing plant was set up in Muntinlupa in 1973 and marketed under the Magnolia brand. The venture expanded its facilities with two more feedmills, three more breeder farms, hatcheries and another processing plant – thus, creating the Feeds and Livestock Division of San Miguel Corporation. In 1991, the division was spun off, becoming a subsidiary known as San Miguel Foods, Inc. (SMFI). In 2001, San Miguel acquired Pure Foods Corporation (which had a similar division) bringing together the two industry leaders. Pure Foods Corporation was renamed San Miguel Pure Foods Company, Inc. in 2002, becoming the corporate parent of San Miguel's entire food business portfolio.
  • Magnolia All-Purpose Flour, Magnolia Pancake Plus, Magnolia Pancake and Waffle Mix and Magnolia Cake Mixes (San Miguel Mills, Inc., a subsidiary of San Miguel Pure Foods Company, Inc.)

Trademark dispute[edit]

In the United States, Ramar Foods International, a company founded in 1969 and based in Pittsburg, California, markets its own line of ice cream under the Magnolia trademark “since 1972”[7] using a brand identity similar to that created and used by San Miguel Corporation (SMC). The company has no connection with SMC.

SMC currently exports its ice cream in the US and Canada under the San Miguel Gold Label brand and its line of butter, margarine and cheese to the US under the Magnolia brand.[8][9] In a decision dated August 27, 2015, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals denied the appeal filed by Ramar on the March 2013 judgment of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in favor of SMC regarding the use of the Magnolia brand on its butter, margarine and cheese products. Additionally, the Court of Appeals had reversed the injunction issued by the District Court that prevented SMC from using the Magnolia brand for new Magnolia food products in the United States. It noted that Ramar had failed to prove that it suffered any irreparable injury by SMC’s use of the Magnolia trademark on its products in the United States. In rendering the decision, the US Court of Appeals recognized that SMC was using the Magnolia brand on its butter, margarine and cheese products to invoke the goodwill that SMC had built in the Philippines, not the goodwill created by Ramar in the United States.[10][11]

Relation to Magnolia (Singapore)[edit]

Although similar in name and product line, there is no relation between San Miguel’s Magnolia brand with that of Singapore-based Fraser and Neave Ltd. (F&N), whose Magnolia brand was established in Singapore in 1937 and now known as F&N Magnolia.[12]

Aurora Boulevard site[edit]

The plant facility located along Aurora Boulevard, Quezon City was inaugurated in 1970 by San Miguel as the Magnolia Dairy Products Plant, producing ice cream, milk, butter, margarine and processed cheese. The property where the plant stood was owned by San Miguel Corporation.

In 1981, San Miguel spun off its butter, margarine and processed cheese assets into a joint-venture with New Zealand Dairy Board, forming Philippine Dairy Products Corporation (now, Magnolia, Inc.). The Aurora Boulevard plant remained as its production facility until 2000 when it transferred to a new facility in General Trias, Cavite.

When San Miguel spun off its ice cream and milk business into a joint-venture with Nestlé in 1996, forming Magnolia-Nestlé Corporation, the Aurora Boulevard property remained under the ownership of San Miguel and served as the venture's main production facility and site of its ice cream parlor. After San Miguel withdrew from the venture in 1998, Nestlé Philippines continued with the business under the Nestlé brand name (the ice cream parlor became known as Nestlé Creamery). Nestlé’s production was gradually transferred to a new site and in 1999, Nestlé closed down operations in the Aurora Boulevard facility.[13]

In 2008, San Miguel sold the property to Robinsons Land Corporation (RLC), a subsidiary of JG Summit Holdings, Inc. News reports cited that the property was sold reportedly in the amount of P1.6 billion. The property was developed by RLC into a mall (Robinsons Magnolia) and residential condominiums (The Magnolia Residences).[14] One of the mall’s establishments is a Magnolia-franchised ice cream parlor named Magnolia Flavor House, as a fitting homage to the property’s roots.[15]


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