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Ice cream producers go into overdrive as demand surges

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: July 20, 2013

Some of the biggest retailers in Devon and Cornwall have already sold up to two and half times the amount of ice cream they sold throughout last July

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It is not just the holidaymakers who have been making the most of the good weather, with the Westcountry's ice cream producers working round the clock to record massive sales increases.

Some of the biggest retailers in Devon and Cornwall have already sold up to two and half times the amount of ice cream they sold throughout July last year, to record huge profits and cushion the blow of months of bad weather, including a wash-out Easter.

The demand has been such that staff have been pulling extra shifts to make sure their delivery trucks are stocked and shop shelves are full, with one retailer in North Devon telling how he has been working 18-hour days to make the most of the increase in interest as a result of the sweltering heat.

Roskilly's, which is based between St Keverne and Coverack on the Lizard, have seen sales rise 150% this month. "We have sold about 50,000 litres so far in July," said Silke Roskilly, who works at the farm. "If you compare that to last July we sold 20,000 litres over the same two-week period.

"We are going back to what it used to be like five or six years ago. It is so desperately important this year for Cornwall. Everyone is breathing a great big sigh of relief."

Melanie Marsh, from Callestick Farm near Truro, said sales of their Cornish Dairy Ice Cream were up 71% year-on-year.

She said: "Staff are being drafted in from other areas of the business to do extra runs with the delivery vehicles. Where we would usually be just starting to wind things up for the start of the season as the children start breaking up it is all systems go and sales have leapt suddenly since the sun came out."

Somerset-based Yeo Valley has recorded a 26% increase in sales of the vanilla-flavoured ice cream compared with last year, whereas Langage Farm near Plymouth, has sold 15,000 litres so far in July compared to 6,500 last year.

Bodmin-based Kelly's, which has been selling ice creams at the Royal Cornwall Show for more than half a century, said it was producing record volumes of ice cream due to demand.

Brand manager Nina Lumsden said: "Staff are working an additional 50 hours a week now, including all day Friday, Saturday and Monday. They are maintaining stock and supply but the ice cream is selling as quickly as it is being made."

Neil Hocking, who is a partner in the family-run Hocking's in North Devon, said he is working 18-hour days just to get the ice cream out.

He said: "Last July we sold 6,000 litres, this year we have sold 10,000 litres already.

"We don't usually do much business while the children are at school but this year has been different. I usually work 14-hour days in the summer, but last week I did 18-hour days and I had my first day off yesterday.

"It's good for the whole area to have nice weather, it's nice for visitors.

"Last year when it poured down with rain it all the retailers were concerned."

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