Unilever partners with Flytrex for drone ice cream deliveries

By Katy Askew contact

- Last updated on GMT

Unilever's ice cream drone delivery with Flytrex / Pic: Flytrex
Unilever's ice cream drone delivery with Flytrex / Pic: Flytrex

Related tags: on-demand delivery, Unilever, Ice cream, drone delivery

Unilever’s first ever digital storefront, The Ice Cream Shop, plans to take to the skies in partnership with Flytrex for its latest foray in ultrafast on-demand delivery.

Consumers who place their order using the Flytrex app can expect a drone delivery of Unilever ice cream brands to their ‘front and backyards’ within three minutes. The app provides customers with ‘real time updates’ along the delivery route until the package is lowered from the drone ‘safely by wire’.

Unilever’s drive into on-demand ice cream

Unilever’s The Ice Cream Shop is its first virtual storefront. It carries ice cream brands including Ben & Jerry’s, Breyers, Good Humor, Klondike, Magnum, Popsicle and Talenti.

Russel Lilly, General Manager of Unilever’s North American ice cream business, said that Flytrex is the CPG giants ‘first ever drone delivery partner’ bringing The Ice Cream Shop to ‘new heights’. “Not only are we providing an exciting, innovative and ultra-fast way for ice cream fans to enjoy their favorite Unilever ice cream brands, but The Ice Cream Shop and Flytrex have exclusive ice cream bundles available for purchase. Whether you need some treats to sweeten up your backyard BBQ or are craving a cookie crunch, we’re ready to fly straight to your doorstep.”

This new partnership is Unilever’s latest experiment in on-demand delivery. Last month, group announced The Ice Cream Shop is also partnering with food tech group Robomart​ to trial on-demand mobile mini-marts in Los Angeles. 

The more recently announced tie-up with Flytrex will be available across the delivery tech start-ups US locations: Holly Springs, Fayetteville and Raeford, North Carolina, and Granbury, Texas.

Drones will ‘absolutely’ shape the future of delivery

Flytrex is a business-to-consumer provider of autonomous delivery services. It claims to offer ‘unmatched’ delivery costs, ultra-fast delivery and ‘greater reach than ever before’. For these reasons, Flytech CEO & Co-Founder Yariv Bash believes drones will ‘absolutely’ play an important role in the future of D2C delivery.

“On-demand delivery is seen as economically impractical in suburban and rural areas, where traditional couriers are only able to make around two deliveries per-hour. Flytrex is changing that by operating automated backyard drone deliveries in these underserved areas,"​ he told DairyReporter. “Through the new partnership with Unilever’s digital storefront, you can scream for ice cream and have it in just minutes.”

This partnership is the latest in a series of milestones for Flytrex. Most recently, the ultrafast drone delivery company launched in Granbury, Texas, just outside of Dallas-Fort Worth. Flytrex has also been operating in the state of North Carolina since September 2020, beginning in Fayetteville, and expanding to the town of Raeford. In October 2021, Flytrex launched its third drone delivery station in the ‘First in Flight’ state at the Holly Springs Towne Center. Flytrex’s delivery service is now available to 10,000 homes across North Carolina and Texas.

“Flytrex provides retailers and restaurants a seamless, almost instantaneous delivery experience. Moreover, the average flight time for an order with Flytrex is just over two minutes, allowing retailers to keep up with the growing pressures of the “on-demand age” while simultaneously keeping customers satisfied and sated. In addition to significantly cutting costs and delivery time, Flytrex’s drones are 100% electric and autonomous, meaning less pollution and less congestion on the roads,”​ Bash told us.

Regulation, safety and drone deliveries 

The Ice Cream Shop service is operating in cooperation with long-time Flytrex partner Causey Aviation Unmanned under a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) waiver allowing a delivery radius of one nautical mile. This means the drones can reach ‘thousands of potential homes’. Flytrex and Causey conduct all flights while maintaining the highest safety standards, the company stressed.

“Drones are held to the same regulatory standards as the manned commercial aviation industry. In this way, drone delivery commercially requires a certification process akin to any other manned commercial aircraft,”​ Bash explained.

“To meet these stringent safety standards, Flytrex has developed its own drone, ensuring full control over its design and manufacturing – down to the smallest bolt – much like a commercial aircraft.”

The company also continues to work alongside regulators to tackle the remaining hurdles in drone regulation, we heard. “Flytrex works closely with regulators to help ensure the highest safety standards. It participated in the FAA’s UAS Integration Pilot Program (IPP) which concluded in October 2020, and has continued with the FAA’s subsequent initiative, BEYOND -- working with the North Carolina Department of Transportation to help tackle the remaining challenges of UAS integration and bring swift, affordable and sustainable on-demand drone delivery to more partners, communities and consumers across the country.”

The Ice Cream Shop’s exclusive bundles

If you live in the communities served by Flytrex, you’ll have access not only to swift ice cream delivery, consumers will also be able to order exclusive ice cream bundles delivered to their homes. These include:

  • Chocolate Lovers Bundle​ featuring Breyers Chocolate Truffle, Klondike Original Vanilla Bar, Magnum Mini Double Caramel Bars, Popsicle Fudgsicle, Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie
  • Cookie Crunch Bundle​ featuring Breyers Cookies & Cream, Klondike Vanilla Sandwich, Talenti Caramel Cookie Crunch, Ben & Jerry’s Milk & Cookies, Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
  • Backyard BBQ Bundle​ featuring Breyers Natural Vanilla, Breyers Chocolate, Good Humor Strawberry Shortcake Bars, Popsicle Grape, Cherry, Orange Pops, Klondike Vanilla Sandwich, Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food, Ben & Jerry’s Americone Dream
  • Berry Fruity Bundle​ featuring Breyers Strawberry, Good Humor Strawberry Shortcake Bars, Popsicle Grape, Cherry, Orange Pops, Talenti Roman Raspberry, Ben & Jerry’s Strawberry Cheesecake
  • Ice Cream Favorites Bundle​ featuring Ben & Jerry's Half Baked, Breyers Natural Vanilla, Klondike Original Vanilla Bar, Magnum Ice Cream Bars Double Caramel
  • Ben & Jerry’s Favorites Bundle​ featuring Ben & Jerry's Half Baked, Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia, Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Related topics: Ice Cream, Unilever, R&D

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