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Cold war for Tip Top over copy-cat ice cream claims

Boutique ice cream maker Holy Moly has picked a fight with industry giant Fonterra, claiming it has copied its donut-flavoured ice cream.

Holy Moly says the flavour will form part of a range of “crammed” ice creams Fonterra’s subsidiary Tip Top plans to launch this month.

Fonterra has denied the allegations.

But Holy Moly general manager James Oliver says Fonterra contacted his business about their ice cream early this year and shortly afterwards someone using a Fonterra credit card bought all the Holy Moly ice cream in a Ponsonby outlet.

The ice cream war has surfaced just as Fonterra prepares to give outside investors exposure to its $20 billion dairy business and retain capital to allow it to pursue growth in Asia, particularly China and India.

For the full story of the ice cream war read today’s National Business Review print edition.

Comments and questions

A little ironic when Holy Moly has chosen packaging, branding, flavours and an approach that is very similar to Ben & Jerrys in the USA.

They don't exist in NZ. What's your point?

I think the point is that these ideas are not original but copy-cat ideas and that to claim that Fonterra is ripping off an idea (from Holy Moly) that was ripped off from someone else (Ben and Jerry's) is fair game regardless whether or not they are in this market.

That is exactly the point.

Holy Moly's packaging, branding and flavour approach is not similar enough to Ben & Jerry's to even draw a legitimate comparison.

A lot of Kiwi 'innovators' are thieves. Just look at Trade-me. This is a complete rip-off of eBay

Good on Holy Moly for making a stand against a giant. If I was the person who had crafted a flavour I'd be pissed if someone tried to take it. Fonterra should back off, one extra flavour isn't going to change their income is it!

Fonterra up to their old tricks eh!

Good on Holy Moly for daring to voice their opinion against a large corporate.
It's not the first time Fonterra have done it either. Such a shame when they have the money to support Kiwi innovators and help them take on the world.

It's very obvious to me that the first comment about Holy Moly coping Ben and Jerrys is clearly a comment that has been posted by Fonterra lol secondly having similar flavours shouldn't be an issue, it is clear that Holy Moly came up with an amazing and successful flavor that Fonterra has decided to copy as a result. Surely Fonterra or Tip Top should have the funds to hire people with innovation and the ability to create new flavors that exceed Holy Moly's ice cream which clearly is not the case.

The real answer will be who's flavor tastes the best as seen in the case of many products such as tomato sauce.

I just don't get it? why can't Fonterra see the value in supporting NZ's dairy product innovators, and assist them to scale their businesses globally, rather than taking a "dog in a manger" approach and trying to stomp them out as domestic competitors. Wouldn't that be best for NZ's farmer/stakeholders plus generate more foreign exchange income flowing into NZ plus increasing more added value diary exports (higher $/kg than exporting milk powder!!!) . BTW the packaging design of Fonterra's product range looks remarkably like Holy Moly's, how bizarre.

Yeah, to the Trade Me comment, thankfully Fonterra are not in the ecommerce space otherwise they would have tried to crush Trade Me when it started, and had a go at killing Xero as well - long may Fonterra stick to exporting cheap commodity products, it should leave value-add to the innovators.

I wonder where Holy Moly get their milk from to make their ice cream?

I think its a joke that Holy Moly thinks Fonterra have copied them! Donut flavoured ice cream has been around for years. This is just an attempt by Holy Moly to get free publicity.

Copying flavours is not new. We won a silver medal for our Gingerbeer sorbet in the national ice cream awards in May 2011. Nobody else was making anything like it at the time. By the time spring came around (Sept 2011) both Tip Top and Nice Blocks had developed and launched a Gingerbeer block. Maybe we gave them the idea, maybe not. We didn't toss our toys or even make a fuss. As a good friend of mine says 'don't be afraid to do what others are doing - just do it better'. I doubt there is a patent on the flavour, or that one could be created.

How can Holy Moly compare a flavour that consists of vanilla ice cream, caramel ripple, cinnamon donut chunks and roasted peanuts with Tip Top Crammed's raspberry ripple ice cream with cinnamon donut bits, raspberry sauce and cream? The only thing in common is donuts....that's like saying they can't do any flavours with chocolate because Holy Moly has already made one.

Really! I agree with Gelissimo above......Holy Moly should stop worrying what everyone else is doing and just get on with what they do and do it better. The proof is in the pudding.