DMK, Rosen and R&R are companies hardly anyone knows. And yet almost every German has licked their creations, sold in the frozen food aisles at major supermarkets like Aldi, Lidl and Penny under flowery brand names like Gelatelli, Grandessa and Mucci.
An equally surprising and titillating personnel change has now created turmoil in the consumer products industry: Gottfried Kirchner – who sold Rosen Eiskrem, Germany’s biggest manufacturer of ice cream, to Deutsche Milchkontor, or DMK – is now taking a job as head of German operations for a British company, R&R Ice Cream, the biggest competitor in the industry.
The changeover comes at a bad time for the Bremen-based dairy products maker and Mr. Kirchner’s former company. DMK’s ice cream division is ailing, and the company hasn’t even identified synergies from the Rosen purchase yet.
R&R is taking advantage of the company’s current weakness to launch a counterattack, with Mr. Kirchner’s support. It’s a high-stakes battle for supremacy in the frozen food aisles of Europe’s largest supermarket chains, a business worth billions.