Ben & Jerry's introduces low-calorie ice cream to compete with Halo Top
- Ben & Jerry’s is introducing a new line of low-fat, low-calorie ice cream called Moo-phoria, according to the company. The three flavors available in this initial launch are peanut butter dough, chocolate milk and cookies and caramel cookie fix.
- All of the Moo-phoria ice cream flavors are made with organic milk and cream, and contain no artificial sugar substitutes. Each pint has four ½ cup servings, which range from 140-160 calories.
- “Ben & Jerry’s tries to offer a little bit of something for everyone,” Dena Wimette, senior innovation manager at Ben & Jerry’s, said in a statement. “We’re excited to have an incredible new option for our fans who say they can’t be trusted with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s in their freezers.”
If imitation is the highest form of flattery, Halo Top must be feeling awfully flattered right now.
Ben & Jerry’s is the latest big ice cream brand to reformulate recipes to create a low-calorie, low-fat version that would appeal to consumers who have ditched their brand in favor of the upstart. It's also mimicked some of Halo Top’s packaging by prominently featuring the number of calories per serving on the front of the label.
As Halo Top is the number one selling pint of ice cream in the country, it would appear to be the powerhouse competitors are trying to catch up to.
Consumers who are fans of Ben & Jerry’s already may want to sample the new Moo-phoria line when it's released in supermarkets later this month. If the quirky ice cream maker can deliver on taste while cutting calories, it has a chance to win back some customers lost to Halo Top.
On the downside, some consumers may feel tricked by Ben & Jerry’s labeling. Halo Top features the number of calories in each pint on the front of its label, but Ben & Jerry’s healthier line lists the number of calories in a ½-cup serving. Shoppers would need to quadruple that number to get a more realistic idea of the nutritional impact they’re in for if they want to polish off the whole pint in one sitting.
Still, these calorie counts are close to half of what they would be compared to a regular tub of Ben & Jerry’s, which can easily contain more than 1,000 calories.
The better-for-you nutritional information should be enough to get some consumers to try the new Moo-phoria line, but other shoppers want more from their frozen desserts. Value-adds, such as protein or organic ingredients, sometimes are just as important, if not more so, than the calorie count.
Ben & Jerry’s can meet demand for some of these value-adds. The Moo-phoria line is made with organic milk and cream, has ingredients that are all non-GMO and Fairtrade certified, plus contains no artificial sugar substitutes. They’re just lacking added protein, which is one of Halo Top’s selling points. As for sweeteners, Ben & Jerry’s is only saying the new line doesn’t have any sugar alcohols or sugar substitutes. The back nutritional panel, which would include ingredients, isn’t available yet, so it’s unknown what Ben & Jerry’s is using to deliver a sweet taste without extra calories.
Unilever, which owns Ben & Jerry’s, launched a similar reformulation last year with another of their ice cream brands, Breyers. Yasso, a frozen yogurt startup, introduced low-calorie, pint-sized containers in eight flavors just a month ago.
Some may call these efforts "too little, too late," but if they’re able to deliver a similar product experience for a cheaper price, they have a chance of winning back some consumers. Ben & Jerry's has long had a reputation for its trendy names and flavors, as well as its tasty ice cream, so consumers may be more inclined to give the new low-calorie versions a chance. It's now up to Ben & Jerry's to keep them coming back with all the usual requirements such as price, clean ingredients, flavors and taste.