The award-winning ice cream manufacturer based in Essex has grown from a seaside local producer to selling in retailer outlets ASDA, Morrisons and Coop Stores. It recently launched in three JJ Food Service depots with plans to distribute its products nationally.
At the beginning of 2017, the company also moved from its original Lucy Road factory, where it was established since 1967, to new purpose built premises at Temple Farm Industrial Estate, Southend.
Colin Gray, director, Rossi, told DairyReporter, when the company was acquired in 2006 from a remaining Rossi Family member the business was archaic, with the most up to date piece of technology being a fax machine. Accounts and all other business was carried out with a pen and paper.
“We have now brought the entire company up-to-date over the last 10 years with changes including moving away from cardboard packaging and introducing an interim range including barcodes to allow for retail sales,” he said.
“In the summer of 2015 we launched a brand refresh of Rossi, introducing the companies first ever printed containers in over 80 years. Together with the updated Rossi Logo this enabled our products to sit proudly on retailer’s shelves, reflecting the premium ice cream we produce and we achieved SALSA Accreditation in 2010 to allow for Rossi to be sold in large retailers.”
Since then the company has set up social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) for the brand, created a website and refreshed this last year introducing two additional sites for events and personalized tubs of ice cream.
Corporate branded tubs
Some of its highlights have included introducing corporate branded ice cream tubs in 2012 to promote a company, product or brand and producing tubs for major names such as Easy Jet, Tommy Hilfiger, National Rail, Sensodyne, Elizabeth Arden Cosmetics and Deliveroo.
“Above all Rossi is an Essex institution and it has been hard work to bring it into the current age but now we look forward to the future with something that is beginning to blossom further and progress into trading areas that Mr Rossi would have been proud of,” added Gray.
The company celebrated its anniversary this month by launching a limited-edition Birthday cake ice cream and an event at its premises with more than 150 guests.
“The ice cream is a creative take on a classic party favorite that combines creamy vanilla ice cream, cake pieces, rainbow sprinkles finished with a blue icing ripple,” said Matt Davis, operations manager, Rossi.
Guests also enjoyed tours of the new Rossi premises, production and distribution areas, taking in the display of historical memorabilia of old packaging, labelling, signage, historical documents and several awards and diplomas including the certificate of 60 years membership of the ICA since 1951.
Machinery on display included some of the original milk churns, an old ice cream trike and a 1931 fruit feeder.
The first ice cream parlour was opened in 1932, in High Street, Southend-on-Sea. The parlour was opened by Massimiliano Agostino (known as ‘Gus’) and his wife Anna Rossi.
As business flourished a further parlour was opened in Marine Parade. This branch began a partnership with Pietro Rossi, a distant cousin of Anna’s who’d moved to Southend. Pietro and his family relocated from Consett, County Durham, where they owned their own ice cream business.
Unfortunately, the partnership did not last and soon after dissolved in 1938.
It was agreed Pietro Rossi and his wife Luisa would trade along the seafront, while keeping Marine Parade. The iconic Westcliff parlour was opened and later a factory was built on Lucy Road in the late 1960’s. The business was acquired by new owners in 2006.
“85 years is a long time and we hope for many more successful years as we continue to expand the business and thank all of the generations who have enjoyed Rossi ice cream over the years,” said Gray.