Hood ice cream promotion leaves N.H. in the cold

Just in time for the coming warmer months, the HP Hood dairy company has kicked off an ice cream promotion celebrating New England in partnership with the tourism boards of every state in the region — except New Hampshire.

With flavors like Maine Blueberry & Sweet Cream, Vermont Maple Nut and Boston Vanilla Bean ice cream, Hood on April 4 announced the launch of its New England Creamery Ice Cream by Hood line, with the Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont tourism agencies on board to promote the ice cream and tourism in those states. But flavors — perhaps named “Granite State Rocky Road” or “Winnipesaukee White Chocolate” — were curiously absent.

Vicki Cimino, communications manager for the state Division of Travel and Tourism Development, said the Chelsea, Mass.-based Hood approached the division several months ago with the proposition. “We were very enthusiastic about the promotion. Then we found out there were no ice cream flavors specific to New Hampshire. We were disappointed that they didn’t use us. We didn’t feel there was an equal partnership in the representation and didn’t want to use tourism dollars to promote non-New Hampshire flavors.”

The April 4 press release from Hood said the company “has always been New England’s hometown dairy. These 18 rich and creamy ice cream flavors offer a delicious tribute to New England vacation icons, from the quaint B&Bs of Cape Cod to Vermont’s ski lodges and New Hampshire’s forests and lake retreats. Each ice cream flavor is crafted with authentic recipes from throughout New England, delivering the mouthwatering taste only found in those favorite New England hideaways.”

Hood’s Web site does list a number of generic New England iconic flavors such as “New England Homemade Vanilla” and “New England Lighthouse Coffee,” but there are no flavors specific to New Hampshire.

Rhode Island also does not appear to have a specific state-inspired flavor, although Hood’s press release does say that the Ocean State’s tourism board is among those contributing to the promotion.

Paul Maccabee, spokesperson for Hood, said the dairy company has been in discussions with New Hampshire tourism officials for the last two months, but a deal “just didn’t come together in time” to include a specific New Hampshire flavor. “This is a long-term project. I’m pretty hopeful that there will be something later in 2006 or 2007.”

Cimino said, “The door is open to work together when they develop a line that’s New Hampshire-specific.” – CINDY KIBBE

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