Flake shortage could lead to 99 problems for ice cream shop owners

Flake shortage could lead to 99 problems for ice cream shop owners

Owner of Beach World Declan O’Connor and his colleague Isabella Butler at the store on Strand Road, Tramore: 'Potentially there isn’t going to be any 99s and a 99 is the Flake – other than that it’s just a plain old cone.'

Some people like a scoop of ice cream, others prefer it whirled up in a tub, but for lovers of the 99, the supply of the Irish delicacy could be cut short this summer.

Over the past number of months, the implication of the UK leaving the EU has been felt by shops and businesses in the Republic who would have regularly imported products from Britain.

For shops that sell 99 ice-creams, like Beach World in Tramore, Co Waterford, there has been a massive scramble to stock up on Cadbury’s Flakes.

The owner of the shop on Strand Road, Declan O’Connor, said due to difficulties getting the Flakes, he potentially may not be able to sell 99s once the stock runs out.

I got a phone call a couple of weeks ago to tip me off about the fact Cadbury’s in England didn’t have any 99 Flakes in stock.

“There was a big scramble to see if we could get as many as we could to try and keep us going until they’re available again.

“Potentially there isn’t going to be any 99s and a 99 is the Flake – other than that it’s just a plain old cone,” Mr O’Connor said.

DG Foods Ltd is a Waterford company that supplies local businesses with international products – many of whom are based in the UK. Andrew Hepburn is a consultant for the company.

'There is a panic'

“There is a panic, and people are buying more stock than they normally would so for instance in Tramore – they want to make sure they’re the one that doesn’t run out of a Flake.

“We’re hoping that after another six months, things will start to level out and people will be bringing stock in via Europe, because it seems the tariffs from here to UK are higher.

“At the moment if you were to import stock from France that was already imported from the UK, it seems to be cheaper than if the stock was directly imported from the UK to Ireland,” Mr Hepburn said.

Economist Jim Power said until substitutes are made available on the Irish market, businesses in the Republic are going to continue to be stung.

Importance of brand can never be underestimated, and it will certainly take an effort to convince Irish consumers to move away from brands they’ve grown up with and they love.

“If those brands are not available or become more expensive though, consumers will have no choice but to explore other brands.

“If you can’t get Flakes, some substitute is going to have to be found, but for businesses in the immediate term like the 99 sellers in Tramore, it’s going to be a challenging few months,” Mr Power said.

A Mondelez International spokesperson said the company had seen increased demand for the Flake in Ireland and that it was working closely with customers to supply it. 

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