Arctic roll
A couple of slices of Arctic roll, with strawberries
Place of originUnited Kingdom
Main ingredientsSponge cake, vanilla ice cream, raspberry sauce

An Arctic roll is a British ice cream cake made of vanilla ice cream wrapped in a thin layer of sponge cake to form a roll, with a layer of raspberry flavoured sauce between the sponge and the ice cream.[1]


The dessert was invented in the 1950s by Ernest Velden, an immigrant from then Czechoslovakia.[2] He set up a factory in Eastbourne producing Arctic Roll in 1968, and the dessert soon became a successful product.[2] During the 1980s, more than 40 kilometres (25 mi) of Birds Eye Arctic Roll were sold each month.[2] However, sales slumped during the 1990s and eventually the manufacturer of Arctic roll, Birds Eye, stopped producing the dessert.[2] The 2008 economic downturn saw the reappearance of Arctic roll as consumers increasingly looked for low-cost foods.[2]

While some consumers view the Arctic Roll as comfort food, others view it as old fashioned and the food writer Nigel Slater has even described it as tasting of "frozen carpet".[3] Nonetheless, Birds Eye reported "overwhelming consumer demand" for the dessert.[4] Indeed, from when Birds Eye started marketing Arctic Rolls again in December 2008 until April 2009, sales of the product were estimated at £3.5 million, or 3 million boxes (around 400 kilometres (250 mi) of Arctic Roll).[5] Commentators suggest that aside from Arctic Roll's low price, many consumers buy the dessert out of feelings of nostalgia.[5] A number of UK supermarkets sell their own brand versions of Arctic Roll, both chocolate and raspberry variants, and did so even when Birds Eye were not marketing the product.


The original Arctic Roll features vanilla ice cream and raspberry jam; Birds Eye also produce a variant using chocolate ice cream.[1]


  1. ^ a b "Arctic Roll - Birds Eye". Birds Eye. Archived from the original on 7 February 2009. Retrieved 28 February 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Arctic Roll makes a comeback". London. 2008-12-16. Retrieved 28 February 2009.
  3. ^ "Cool appeal for cult Arctic roll". Retrieved 28 February 2009.
  4. ^ "Arctic Roll returns to woo thrifty shoppers". Retrieved 28 February 2009.
  5. ^ a b Jacobs, Emma (2009-04-27). "Nostalgia: The retro brandwagon rolls in". The Financial Times. Archived from the original on 2009-11-01. Retrieved 2009-07-08.