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Four-year-old Zachary Allen, left, and Caleb Rogers, 5, slurp up ice cream during a contest at Snelgrove Ice Cream in September 2003. The event was held to celebrate Snelgrove's 75th anniversary.

The once-popular Snelgrove Ice Cream brand will be melting away over the next few weeks.

Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream, which acquired the Snelgrove operations and brand in 1989, said this week that it will stop producing Snelgrove-brand products, and consumers likely have only until March or early April to find them on store shelves.

Dreyer's spokesman Gary Lay said Snelgrove ice creams simply did not fare well, especially when compared with the Dreyer's options. Last year, the company produced about 300,000 gallons of Snelgrove ice cream for Utah and southern Idaho from its Salt Lake City facility — about the same level of production as 15 years ago — while shipping out more than 7 million gallons of Dreyer's.

The Salt Lake plant had pumped out Snelgrove ice cream for 79 years.

"We reformulated the (Snelgrove) packaging. We tried to revitalize the brand," Lay said Wednesday. "It's a great, great brand and great ice cream. Dreyer's recognized that, and that's why they purchased it.

"But it's also been linked with a generation. What we have found is diminishing demand for Snelgrove, coupled with the fact that Dreyer's has so many more varieties of flavors, and it appeals more to the Utah younger market than Snelgrove did. That was the ultimate outcome."

Founder Laird Snelgrove worked as a consultant for Dreyer's until his 2003 death. The Salt Lake facility will continue to produce Dreyer's products.

"We were committed to making it work," Lay said of the Snelgrove brand.

The company had invested in new packaging and had put marketing and dollars toward it. But the drop-off in sales became a steady decline.

Ending production "was a very difficult decision," Lay said. "We had a great attachment to the brand. It was not something we threw out the window overnight."

Research and development workers at Dreyer's will consider whether to continue with the top Snelgrove flavors under the Dreyer's label, he said.

Prior to Dreyer's acquiring it, Snelgrove not only operated the plant at 850 E. 2100 South but also had ice cream parlors there and elsewhere that sold its dairy delights. Those eventually were spun off to independent owners who continued selling Snelgrove products.

But the Snelgrove legacy won't entirely disappear. Dreyer's said it will honor Laird Snelgrove with a scholarship in his name at Brigham Young University.

Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream Holdings Inc. and its subsidiaries will continue to manufacture and distribute ice cream and frozen dessert products. Brands that it distributes or manufactures include Grand, Slow Churned, Dibs, Haagen-Dazs, Nestle, Starbucks and The Skinny Cow. Dreyer's premium products carry the Dreyer's brand in the West and in Texas, and the Edy's brand in the rest of the nation.