The shop behind the wildly popular White Rabbit candy ice cream is in a sticky situation with the China sweets maker

Facebook / Wanderlust Creamery, The Straits Times

In February, Asians who grew up eating the White Rabbit milk-flavoured candy were intrigued when Los Angeles ice cream shop Wanderlust Creamery said it was turning the iconic candy into an ice cream flavour.

Photos of the white-as-snow ice cream in custom-made White Rabbit candy wrapper cones took social media by storm, as Asian millennials reminisced the good old days when the Chinese sweet was practically a part of their diets.

The idea turned out to be a marketing win for the ice cream parlour, which sold over 100 gallons of the flavour in just 24 days, Adrienne Borlongan, chef and co-founder of Wanderlust Creamery, told Business Insider in an email interview on Feb 25.

Borlongan, who is of Filipino descent, told Business Insider that to make the ice cream, the company uses the “actual White Rabbit candy, dissolved right into our proprietary base of other dairy ingredients”.

But as word of the unique treat spread to China, social media users there began to wonder why the ice cream was not available there.

Their queries soon caught the attention of Shanghai Guan Sheng Yuan Food – the Shanghai-based parent company of White Rabbit which has been producing the candy since 1959 – prompting it to clarify that it had never given permission to Wanderlust Creamery to use its product, Zhoudao, a news website by the Shanghai Morning Post, reported.

It reportedly added that it is currently looking to get in touch with Wanderlust Creamery to investigate if any copyright infringement had taken place.

In response to this, Wanderlust Creamery said in a statement provided to Business Insider: “We have also been careful in trying to avoid creating any impression that our ice cream flavor was sponsored or otherwise authorized by Shanghai Guan Sheng Yuan Food.

“However, the unexpected excitement of our customers, social media, and the news media have been very difficult to control,” the parlour said.

Wanderlust Creamery also clarified that it did not serve its ice cream in cones plastered with White Rabbit wrappers, as seen in photos on social media. Instead, that was the work of some customers who purchased the ice cream, it said.

The store said: “We would like to make clear that Wanderlust Creamery does not now, and has never, used the White Rabbit logo or the White Rabbit candy wrapper design in serving ice cream to customers in any of our stores.

“However, some customers have brought their own White Rabbit candy wrappers to wrap their purchased cones of ice cream for their own social media photos,” it said.

The ice cream maker has also reached out to Shanghai Guan Sheng Yuan Food to “discuss forming a mutually beneficial relationship in an effort to further introduce the iconic White Rabbit Candy to the American consumer through our artisanal ice cream”, the statement added.

Not the first to use White Rabbit candies in ice cream

White Rabbit candy-flavoured ice cream is not a new thing.

The sweet is so popular in Asia that the novel flavour has been introduced at other ice cream parlours before.

Last year, Singapore’s Sunday Folks briefly introduced their own version.

Malaysian ice cream shop Inside Scoop also started serving White Rabbit candy-flavoured ice cream in February.

And earlier this week, Creamier Handcrafted Ice Cream and Coffee in Singapore also announced in a Facebook post that it was giving out free scoops of its “Little White Rabbit ice cream” for preview at its Tiong Bahru outlet.

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