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Times are sweet for Carmen’s Best as it opens a 2nd ice cream parlor

Nationwide expansion in the works

CARMEN’S BEST is riding the ice cream train by opening a second ice cream parlor, this time at the Mall of Asia (MOA) complex in Pasay City. With this comes the teasing of new variants, more stores, and even a nationwide expansion.

The Carmen’s Best ice cream parlor in front of the SMX convention center officially opened on Dec. 1. There they offer all 15 of their flavors (including Salted Caramel, Strawberry, Malted Milk, Dark Chocolate, and Brazilian Coffee, just to name a few), plus three new holiday goodies (Eggnog, S’mores, and Mint Chocolate). A mural on the wall is splashed with some brand elements, and even the ceiling lamps are shaped like scoops of ice cream. As a touch of elegance, the brand’s logo is inl aid in brass on the floor, reminding customers of the ice cream’s premium quality (and price: a pint can cost upwards of P400).

While a just-relaunched e-commerce platform (carmensbest.com) offers ice cream for enjoying at home, there are some store-only exclusives. These include sandwiches, cones, milkshakes, affogato, and ice cream cakes.

“We offer the same menu of ice cream, plus plus. You get a little bit more than the usual pint,” Carmen’s Best Head of Marketing Missy Mediana told BusinessWorld.

Ms. Mediana emphasized the quality of their product, considering the rise of indie ice cream makers in the city. “One hundred percent fresh milk. That’s what we’re made of,” she said. She pointed out that there is a gap in the supply of locally available fresh milk, which is why some ice cream brands resort to using additives in their products. “You’ll see it in the taste,” she said.

A store at the Power Plant mall in Rockwell, Makati opened back in 2018, and the new MOA branch is just their second, but it serves as a signal of things to come since their partnership with Metro Pacific Agro Ventures (MPAV), under Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), last year. “We’re planning more stores in key cities in the metro; at the very least, about one to two a year,” said Ms. Mediana.

They’re also planning to dot the city with smaller scooping stations. This expansion also means reaching out to more cities: Ms. Mediana said that they already have a presence in supermarkets across Luzon, but have yet to maximize their growth in Visayas and Mindanao. “Not so much, because they’re still being air-freighted,” she said about the ice cream’s limited reach in cities down south. “Eventually, we’re also planning to go nationwide. That’s the goal.”

Ms. Mediana also teased a few projects that they are beginning next year. While it had been previously announced that Carmen’s Best would be venturing into other dairy products like cheese, yogurt, and fresh milk, Ms. Mediana gave a timeline for the middle of 2024 for those to hit the market. She also gave hints about the resurrection of certain phased-out flavors, and something to appeal to a more health-conscious segment.

“Next year, it’s another full grid of innovations. Something’s coming that’s a little bit more healthy. For people who don’t like it too much sweet — I won’t say,” she teased.

MPIC is one of three key Philippine units of First Pacific, the others being Philex Mining Corp. and PLDT, Inc. Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Joseph L. Garcia