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From ‘Swole’ to Swell: ProYo Rebrands

Meagan McGinnes

In an attempt to further bulk up its sales, high protein ice cream producer ProYo is doubling down on its most recent innovation — pints — by relaunching the line with a new look and a new name.

ProYo announced today that its high protein, low fat ice cream pint brand will now be known as Swell Ice Cream. The rebranding is an attempt to optimize the brand’s name and packaging to better connect with what CEO and founder Nathan Carey said are the core consumers of pints — women, families and “weekend warriors” — while not alienating the company’s existing base of athletes and male shoppers. At the same time, the company will discontinue its line of novelties to focus solely on pints.

After conducting an in-depth national consumer survey Carey told NOSH that he learned that consumers mistakenly believed ProYo’s pints were frozen yogurt — like its novelties — rather than ice cream. ProYo’s bold, black packaging, including with an oversized, front-of-pack protein callout, also resonated predominately with male consumers, who do not match the purchasing power of women within the category.

In contrast, the new look from Bright Design features a clean, oceanic blue package with smaller protein, sugar and calories callouts. Each flavor is highlighted in a photographed single scoop.

“Our consumer — which is the weekend warrior, the healthy mom and dad, the millennial and the hybrid athlete/healthy consumer — has always been our true focus but more so now we are really targeting all of those personas rather than just some,” Carey said. “The packaging in general has a softer tone… [and is a] better balance toward that core consumer yet still not neglecting the male consumer at the same time.”

The ingredients and formulations of the ice cream pints will not change, but the brand’s frozen yogurt smoothie tubes will be discontinued under Swell. One pint flavor, Blueberry Pomegranate, will also be discontinued under the Swell line.

Carey said the rebrand also gives the team a longer runway in terms of innovation. The company is launching two new pint flavors, chocolate chip cookie batter and cookies ‘n cream, which are expected to hit shelves with its existing retail partners in May, and hopes to expand into new categories like high protein pudding and smoothies in the future, according to Carey.

“When I look at the extension platform it’s really recreating the same mindset that we had done with the yogurt and now have done with the ice cream. I want to be able to deliver a base to somebody that they can tailor or customize the way they want,” he said. “My vision has always been to give people the opportunity to be creative and create their own finished product in an easy manner.”

ProYo has repeatedly changed its branding and product lineup since the company’s launch in 2012. While first the brand first took aim at the novelty set, it then rebranded in 2015 before the lure of the better-for-you pint category came calling in 2017. Though the constant changes may be indicative of growing pains, Carey said that said he believes this rebrand will set up the company for success — and he has reason to be confident. After its initial pivot to pints in the older packaging, he said the company saw 400 percent growth in only six months.

Over the past year, numerous brands shuddered at the rise of high-protein pint Halo Top, quickly working to create their own low fat or high protein product. Carey said Swell avoids being a me-too brand because its taste, texture and high protein content — over 30 grams per pint — is different than any other pint on the market. This new competition, he added, will be the biggest driver of change in the category moving forward– and he’s ready to ride this wave of change.

“With retailers now launching ‘me too’ offerings, like Kroger’s Simple Truth Low Cow, and existing brands like Breyer’s launching low calories options, it’s clear that this is a category that’s here to stay,” Carey previously told NOSH. “I’m inspired by this challenge.”

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