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45 Years of Tasty Tradition In Every Scoop
In The Beginning
Originally an old Cuban dairy company with almost 100 years of history, San Bernardo Ice Cream came to the United States to bring “the old flavors of home” to the throngs of Cubans taking up residence in Miami in the 1950s and 1960s.
San Bernardo Ice Cream was the local scoop shop and a mainstay in community for the original Miami-Cuban community that settled around Flagler and 12th Avenue (known as "La Sagüesera”) - long before there was a Little Havana.
With tropical delights like Mango, Coconut, Mamey, Guanabana, Guava and Anon - San Bernardo served giant cones, monster five-scoop sundaes and seemingly bottomless batidos (Cuban-style milkshakes) to the delight of Cuban immigrants and Miami natives alike. Sadly the last of the San Bernardo Scoop Shops closed in the early 1980s – but there are plans to bring them back!
In 1971 San Bernardo was acquired by Tropic Ice, then an Italian ice manufacturer in South Florida by way of Philadelphia. Tropic Ice maintained the San Bernardo Ice Cream brand and promptly expanded their product line to include the tropical flavors of ice cream San Bernardo was known for.
San Bernardo Ice Cream quickly expanded beyond Cuban Ice cream to bring specialty ethnic flavors of ice cream and Italian ices to the broader Latin community. The company began manufacturing products at their South Florida facility, where the family-owned company is headquartered. From there, they quickly expanded into more traditional flavors and helped introduce specialty, ethnic ice cream flavors, throughout the country.
At its height, San Bernardo Ice Cream had a retail presence in more than a half dozen states and was in more than 2,000 supermarkets in Florida, New York, New Jersey, California and Illinois (including Publix, Winn Dixie, Albertsons, Pantry Pride, Piggly Wiggly and Grand Union). San Bernardo also operated more than a dozen scoop shops running from South Florida to New Orleans.
In 1979 Bob Tammara started Food Marketing Consultants, Inc. as a food brokerage service to work with Tropic Ice’s sales force in locating new products and increasing distribution. Food Marketing was always a step ahead in spotting food trends. The resulting partnership between Tropic Ice and Food Marketing Consultants was instrumental in helping to introduce a wide variety of specialty, ethnic products to the Florida market place. These products included Zatarans, Chef Paul Cajun Magic, China Bowl, Bookbinders, Dove Bar, Snickers & M&M Ice Cream, Tuscan and Dannon frozen yogurt products and more.
In 2004 the distribution business was sold to Nestle, but Food Marketing Consultants kept the rights to the San Bernardo Ice Cream label and focused their attention on expanding the brand behind the scenes. For more than a decade San Bernardo Ice Cream has built a global brand in non-traditional food service areas. San Bernardo Ice Cream, frozen desserts and specialty products are currently served on more than 75% of cruise ships in the world, along with an ever-growing international network of food service and ice cream distributors.
The Road to Retail
In early 2012, San Bernardo Ice Cream decided to re-introduce the brand to consumers. With more than 150 flavors San Bernardo food service products are available in almost a dozen states and another half dozen countries. It did not take long for the company to re-introduce the specialty flavors.
The company re-entered the domestic retail market in 2014 for the first time in more than 20 years. Now their unique ethnic and specialty flavors can be found in restaurants and food service distributors around the country. Today San Bernardo Ice Cream’s Tropical Escapes® and Italian Escapes® can be found in more than 700 supermarket and grocery stores from DC and NY to Boston and St. Louis, including ShopRite, Safeway, Schnucks, Big Y, King Kullen, Kings, Bravo, C-Town, Key Foods and more.