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Frozen Dessert Is a Hot Business

Meagan McGinnes

While its products may be chilly, the freezer section is hot.

According to a 2017 Mintel report, ice cream and frozen novelty growth remained “solid if not spectacular” last year, with sales reaching $12.8 billion. That growth is not expected to slow down anytime soon.

While traditional segments like frozen yogurt and sherbet, sorbet and ices have seen sales decline, Mintel noted ice cream and novelty brands highlighting natural ingredients and innovative flavors, or embracing full-fat indulgence are in full demand.

Brands like Vice Cream, My/Mo Mochi, Halo Top and Snow Monkey are playing to those trends to see success– and they’re not the only ones. From Pro Yo to Breyer’s, brands big and small are innovating to make sure they are considered strong competitors.

Here’s the scoop on the latest in frozen dessert news.

Vice Cream Adds Publix to Double Store Count

“Unapologetically indulgent” Vice Cream may be just over a year old, but the brand is maturing in both its distribution growth and marketing initiatives.

The ice cream brand, which launched in 2016 in 20 Northeast Roche Brother stores, can now be found in 3,000 locations nationwide, including Harris Teeter, Ahold, and its newest retailer, Florida-based Publix.

“We target the young and the young at heart, which appealed to Publix,” Vice Cream founder and CEO Dan Schorr told NOSH. “We target the young, so we target South Beach, and we target the young at heart, like retirees in Naples.”

The distribution growth comes shortly after the company introduced three new flavors, launched a somewhat suggestive video marketing campaign and closed a second round of angel funding at$1.3 million. The April investment brings the company’s total raised funds to $2.1 million, according to Schorr.

As the trend of full-fat dairy has risen in popularity, retailers and consumers alike have responded to Vice Cream’s indulgent message.

“We came into the category saying that we believe super premium ice cream needs to be super premium again,” Schorr said. “It needs to be real and it needs to be high quality.”

My/Mo Mochi Grows Retail & Foodservice to Add Stores

It’s not all about pints in the ice cream aisle. My/Mo Mochi announced this month that its premium ice cream wrapped in traditional sweet rice mochi dough is now available in all Publix locations. The company entered retailers with its Westernized mochi line in early 2017 and will be in over 6,000 stores by the end of the summer.

My/Mo also offers retailers a more experiential option with its self-serve My/Mo mochi bars. The company’s coolers can be found in the bakery section of retailers like Whole Foods, Safeway, Vons, Kroger, King Soopers and Harris Teeter.

The Japanese style ice cream company is positioned for even more serious growth, according to Mintel’s report. Mochi and other globally-inspired ice cream, like Thai rolled ice cream, are seeing growth ahead of other novelty items. According to My/Mo, the mochi ice cream category has seen 122 percent growth since last year, and My/Mo holds about 70 percent of the category’s market share.

Each bite-sized mochi contains 110 calories, shifting the product away from being an after-meal dessert and to more of a snack. By doing so, My/Mo is able to better position itself to reach millennial consumers, who are known to snack upwards of four times a day.

“We’re thrilled to expand our retail footprint in the Southeast with the addition of Publix,” Russell Barnett, CMO of My/Mo, said in a statement. “It’s a true testament that our notion of mochi ice cream being the perfect snack is resonating – and fast. The scale of growth has been tremendous and it’s just the start.”

Halo Top Declares It’s the Best Selling Pint in the U.S.

Natural, low-calorie ice cream leader, Halo Top Creamery, announced last month that it officially beat out category leaders like Ben & Jerry’s and Häagen-Dazs for the title of best-selling pint of ice cream in American grocery stores.

Halo Top launched in 2012 and quickly gained popularity as a guilt-free ice cream that allows consumers to finish off the entire pint for under 400 calories. According to the company, Halo Top saw a 2,500 percent increase in sales last year and is on track for another record-breaking year.

“The reason we’ve taken the number one spot is simple: We have amazing fans,” CEO and Founder, Justin Woolverton said in a statement. “Our promise to our fans is to maintain the quality they expect from Halo Top and, of course, to bring them some exciting new things in the near future.”

The company soon clarified what “new things” consumers could expect. Halo Top announced the launch of seven new flavors last week, as well as its first seasonal flavor: pumpkin pie.

Snow Monkey Flaunts Functional Ingredients in Wegman’s

Want to eat healthy ice cream for breakfast? Snow Monkey’s executive team hopes so; they bet their entire business on it.

Since the company’s packaging updates, which emphasizes the brand’s functional ingredients, the company’s distribution has seen a rapid expansion.

The company announced the rollout of its 16-ounce pints at nearly 60 Wegmans stores along the East Coast earlier this summer along with several Central Market locations. With this expansion, Snow Monkey is now available across 11 states in 130 stores.

“It’s exciting to stretch into new regions through well-positioned local chains that really understand the needs and wants of their customers,” Katie Krell, director of impact and partnerships, told NOSH. “The new stores we are in are as much of a reflection of our desire to be closer to consumers looking for a ‘great for you’ option as they are a reflection of those retailers who are listening to their customers and giving them more of the healthy, functional foods they are looking for.”

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