Walmart has scored an exclusive deal on seven new flavors of ice cream from Van Leeuwen Ice Cream, including Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. The flavors will rotate at 3,500 U.S. locations over a 10-week period.
In July 2021, Kraft partnered with Brooklyn-based Van Leeuwen to produce an ice cream version of its signature Macaroni & Cheese. The limited-edition variant led to loud objections from ice cream purists across social media, but the 6,000 pints sold out online within an hour.
The macaroni flavor returned in August in another limited-run, but the Walmart collaboration marks the first time the flavor is reaching stores. The other six ice cream flavors coming to Walmart over the 10-week run are Planet Earth, Pizza, Hot Honey, Royal Wedding Cake, Bourbon Cherries Jubilee and Wild Blueberry Shortcake.
This is the first exclusive rotation that Van Leeuwen is bringing to Walmart stores. It has plans to refresh the flavors later in the summer.
The collaboration takes a page from the “drop culture” trend pioneered in the streetwear category in the U.S. by Supreme and Nike. Hyped on social media, the limited-edition apparel and footwear releases often sell out immediately. Nordstrom, Macy’s and Target are among retailers known for their limited-time fashion capsules, but so far limited-edition exclusives have been a bigger sales opportunity in fashion than food.
Among other limited-edition collaborations between retailers and food/beverage brands:
- Mountain Dew Spark (raspberry lemonade flavor) was released exclusively at Speedway convenience stores in the summertime in 2020 and 2021 for a limited time before being released non-exclusively nationwide in 2022.
- Timed to Super Bowl LV, M&M’s Peanut Candy Pop Popcorn debuted exclusively at Sam’s Club for a limited time in February 2021.
- Starbucks’ Dark Chocolate Frappuccino in fall 2017 ran exclusively at Target for a limited time.
- In fall 2016, Kroger featured exclusive Swedish Fish Oreo Cookies for a limited time.
- Van Leeuwen Launches Seven Exclusive Flavors Nationwide – Van Leeuwen Ice Cream
- Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Ice Cream Is Back — This Time at Stores Nationwide – Food & Wine
- Pizza ice cream, Kraft Mac & Cheese among new ice cream flavors coming to Walmart – USA Today
- Will ‘drops’ yield more fashion buzz or busts? – RetailWire
- New M&M’s Peanut Candy Pop Popcorn Available Now Exclusively At Sam’s Club – Chew Boom
- Starbucks’ Dark Chocolate Frappuccino Is Exclusive to Target – Food & Wine
- DEW Nation, Revvv Your Engines – MTN DEW Spark Is Back At Speedway Stores With Supercharged Prizes – PepsiCo/PRNewswire
- Nabisco debuts Swedish Fish Oreos, only available at Kroger – WHTR