Rita's - At It Again!

Posted by Lilly on March 17, 2016 at 4:40 PM

If you're one of the uninitiated, you're going to love this!  Every year Rita's, our biggest competitor, offers everyone a free small cup of their famous Italian ice on the First Day of Spring.  This year that falls on Sunday, March 20th.  It's a YUUUUGE event here in the Northeast!  I'm talking long, long lines, no matter the outside temperature!  If Rita's is new to you, it's worth it to go get a cup and sample their product.  They are the leader, after all... must be doing something right. 

As someone who has been attending this event for the past 4 years, I like to try any new flavor they might be testing.  Of course, it's really that my kids would disown me if we didn't get some.  The little traitors.  But kidding aside (sort of), this year Rita's is launching a new line of All-Natural Italian Ice.  I find this very interesting, as well as telling.  I see a trend in Italian Ice, and desserts in general, that has it moving closer and closer to the original recipes, which started out with water, sugar and fruit.  Not a terrible product.  But many manufacturers these days slap in stabilizers and corn syrup along with lots and lots of preservatives... essentially goo.  With the current state of health in our nation, many folks are searching for the least toxic treats for themselves and their little ones.  For Rita's it's probably coming full circle offering something that may have been more like their original product anyway.  For me, I'm a little apprehensive.  I stood apart from Rita's ice with my very natural, less sugar-laden product - something I got rave reviews over.  So I'll be interested in trying out this new line of natural ice and see how it compares to mine. 

Here's more info. on that new, natural line, from PRNewsWire.com:

Rita's Italian Ice, the world's largest Italian Ice concept with more than 600 stores across the country, officially announced the debut of a new product, All-Natural Italian Ice. The new Italian Ice line extension is made with simple, natural ingredients and comes in four delicious flavors — Pineapple and Strawberry, which are available immediately in all open stores nationwide, as well as Banana and Orange, which will be available by March.

"Our guests have always appreciated that our Italian Ice is made fresh daily using quality ingredients, but they were still looking for a natural option that offers the same great taste they've come to expect from Rita's," said Robin Seward, chief marketing officer at Rita's Italian Ice. "For a brand committed to happiness, it was important to evolve our product to fit our fans' lifestyles. We think Rita's All-Natural Italian Ice is going to be a hit with our loyal fans and new fans to come."

If you make it out to the Free Ice event, come back and share with everyone what you got, and what you thought!  Happy 1st Day of Spring!

Categories: Getting Started, Marketing

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Reply Lilly
8:19 PM on March 24, 2016 
Was I the only one??? Let's see... at Rita's Number 1, my kids and I all got Smores Italian Ice (a cream ice). It was very good, though I didn't taste the whole choco, graham crackers and marshmallow flavors. Still yummy. At Rita's Number 2 (hee hee), I got a combination of mango and chocolate. Very, very good, but too sweet for me, so I passed it to my son. No one got the natural ice, afterall. It was offered in Strawberry and Banana (not combined), and neither of those flavors are appealing to me. Maybe next time.
Reply Pat meyer
8:48 PM on March 28, 2016 
When I was back east this summer we did a round of taste testing, at least 6 different places. To be honest, Rita's tasted the closest to fruit, but like you, I felt it was too loaded with "stuff".
I don't remember their chocolate though, was it like a milk chocolate flavor or dark, or..? What do you suppose they use as a base? We use dutch process cocoa, but I questions if they do that at their price point.
Reply Lilly
8:17 PM on April 1, 2016 
Pat, you're right, some of their flavors are close to fruit, like black cherry with lots of real cherry pieces. I know from watching their videos that they do add real fruit to their proprietary mix, but my feel is the mix is pretty low-cost. Interesting combination to increase perception of the product. The chocolate is like a darker version of a Yoohoo. I don't taste any actual cocoa. What else did you sample? And I wish I could have met you during your NE trip!
Reply Coach Jay
7:30 PM on April 17, 2016 
do you mix flavors before shipping? Something like a rainbow but with specific colors?
Reply Lilly
9:06 PM on April 17, 2016 
@CoachJay, I don't make or ship Italian Ice, but I know that Famous Italian Ice in Philadelphia will mix custom flavors, if you agree to by a minimum order of 6 tubs. They also ship their ice, so you could try them. Best of luck!
Reply anniepeachie
9:33 PM on August 3, 2016 
I'd never heard of Rita's until now, and I've never lived near one or had anyone I know even mention them. But I looked up their prices online and they barely seem to charge $5 for a quart or even less in most locations. How the heck does that work?? I get they're a huge operation, but 32 oz for 5 bucks?? Dang, and I thought I was cheap charging $5 for a hand-packed pint and $10 for a quart, comparing to average concession prices. And this is all with sugar and real fruit? Wow.
Reply Joe Foster
3:44 PM on October 17, 2016 
I would like to get started in the Italian ice business, but I live in Oklahoma, how much cost in shipping a pallet of ice, and how long can it be stored in a freezer between events???
Reply Lilly
8:11 PM on October 17, 2016 
Hi there, Joe. Shipping is really hard to tell you. You would have to call companies who ship their Italian Ice nationally (listed on Wholesalers page) and they can calculate that for you. Depends on which carriers they use, how many miles, etc. Italian Ice can be stored for a long time, especially when done so at temps equal to or below zero degrees. But it depends on the manufacturers and the additives they put in, or don't. Some hold up to a year. Ask the Wholesalers that when you talk to them about shipping. I noticed you haven't joined IcyProfits, and it's no issue to read and comment. But joining gives you access to so, so much more information in the forums, and lets you see our photos, etc. No obligation to join, I swear! ;) Hope I was able to help. You're always welcome to contact me directly.