Three Twins Ice Cream ceases operations: ‘Any chances of a last minute solution were erased by the pandemic’

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Neal Gottlieb: "The grocery business proved to be brutal..." (Picture: Michael B. Woolsey for Three Twins Ice Cream)
Neal Gottlieb: "The grocery business proved to be brutal..." (Picture: Michael B. Woolsey for Three Twins Ice Cream)

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Organic ice cream brand Three Twins has ceased operations after a 15-year rollercoaster ride, with founder Neal Gottlieb thanking staff and ice cream fans for their support but explaining that he had been unable to get to the scale “where we could have sustained profitability.”

In a letter​ posted on the firm’s website and social media accounts noting that the “grocery business proved to be brutal​," Gottlieb said: “We were always working towards a scale where we could have sustained profitability, but in more recent years we saw the business contract and margins get squeezed further.

"A capital infusion was necessary, but proved to be impossible. Any chances of a last-minute solution were erased by the pandemic. As a result, we have no choice but to shut down the business.”​ 

In an email to FoodNavigator-USA, he explained: "I would say that the grocery market got more and more competitive from an influx of artisanal brands, more space dedicated to plant-based frozen desserts, conventional buyers feeling less like they needed to have organic, and by Halo Top coming in and gaining at lot of shelf space at the expense of many brands.

"At the same time, vanilla prices rose dramatically over the past few years, while other inputs continued to creep up. Those factors when combined with incremental pressure to discount by retailers and distributors kept us from ever getting to sustained profitability."

He added: "We were trying to sell the company or raise money but any possibilities that were lingering disappeared with the global pandemic." 

'Vanilla prices rose dramatically over the past few years'

 It is possible that “somebody will revive the brand in the future, but unknown how likely that may be,” ​added Gottlieb, who started with a scoop shop in San Rafael, California, in 2005, acquired a factory in Petaluma in 2010​ part-funded by a local producer loan from Whole Foods Market, and later shifted production to Sheboygan Wisconsin.

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