TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Blue Bell ice cream is a southern staple.
Blue Bell has been making ice cream in Brenham since 1911. The beloved brand has many ice cream flavors available year-round, such as Homemade Vanilla, Cookies ‘n Cream, Dutch Chocolate and Banana Pudding. Along with those, they have “rotational” flavors they bring out for a limited time.
The company started releasing rotational flavors in 1969. The first was “Homemade Vanilla,” which actually started as a limited-time offering before moving into year-round availability.
Some of Blue Bell’s other limited releases have included crowd favorites like Peachy Peach, Salted Caramel Brownie, Cookie Dough Overload, Strawberry Lemonade and more. Right now, they boast limited flavors such as Oatmeal Cream Pie, Tin Roof, Butter Crunch and Cotton Candy.
When it comes to finding or choosing new flavors, Blue Bell looks to their customers, the company’s public relations manager Lauren Lewis explained.
“We get a majority of our ideas thankfully from consumers,” Lewis said. “They send us emails and phone calls daily telling us what they think the next Blue Bell creation should be. So, we compile all of those consumer requests, family recipes, desserts we might have seen and then our internal research and development team are the catalyst for creating those flavors.”
From there, the selected flavors may go through a two-to-three year process before getting to the shelves.
“Where can we find suppliers that have the best quality ingredients? From there you go to sales and marketing side, so you look at carton designs. What color is it going to be? What kind of campaign are we going to create around this flavor?” Lewis said, explaining the production process.
Blue Bell then relies on their production teams in Texas, Alabama and Oklahoma to get the new ice cream out to their 65 distribution centers across the United States so customers can enjoy each new flavor.
“It’s not just making ice cream, there’s a lot of parts and a lot of people involved, but that is what makes it Blue Bell ice cream,” Lewis said.
Some flavors don’t see the light of day right away, but they are never counted out. Sometimes it takes five or even 10 years for Blue Bell to get a flavor in circulation.
“Sometimes flavors are put on the back burner. Either we couldn’t find a supplier or other times maybe market research just deems that it’s not a flavor that we want to sell at the time,” Lewis said.
Lewis said to not count out unreleased or discontinued flavors from years past, as they could make their way back on your freezer shelves eventually.
“Even for flavors we’ve made before, we might discontinue them, we might bring those back at a later time,” Lewis said.
Every year, Blue Bell comes out with three to five new flavors and will announce them on their social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter the morning of each new release. You can also get the latest scoop on new releases from their website.