Frozen yogurt maker Yasso taking on low-calorie ice cream
- With an eight-flavor launch, frozen-dessert upstart Yasso has introduced pint-sized containers of its frozen Greek yogurt varieties.
- As consumers seek healthier frozen desserts, Yasso appears to be competing with low-calorie ice cream variety brands such as Halo Top and Breyers.
- Yasso says its pints are alternatives to other products that sacrifice flavor and indulgence for reduced calories. "Like we did in novelties, we’re coming to save pints, launching with eight out of this world flavors. Gone are the days of dessert with a side of guilt or even worse, sacrificing taste to meet calorie counts," the company said in a statement.
The move by consumers to curtail their calorie consumption while not sacrificing indulgence has opened up a market for upstart frozen treat makers such as Yasso. The new rollout features eight flavors with names like Mint Champion Chip, Coffee Brownie Break and Chocolate Pb & Yay. The desserts range from 100 to 150 calories per serving, with the figure displayed prominently on the front of the package..
“Packaged ice cream seems to have lost its way,” Yasso wrote on its website. “You’re now forced to choose between the new diet brands, all fighting for the lowest calorie count made possible by questionable sweeteners resulting in poor taste. Or you can choose the premium, uber indulgent offerings that sure taste good but can’t be enjoyed often given their nutrition profile.”
With something of a copycat label, Yasso seems to be positioning itself as a head-to-head competitor to Halo Top and Breyer’s low-calorie varieties. Although the calorie count isn’t as prominent on Yasso’s label as on Halo Top's packaging, it clearly is designed to be a selling point for consumers who no longer want to feel guilty about consuming an entire container of ice cream in one sitting.
Halo Top brand is the #1 selling pint of ice cream in the U.S., beating out iconic brands like Ben & Jerry’s and Breyers. After launching in 2012, Halo Top has seen tremendous growth, including a 2,500% increase in sales in 2016. Breyers has responded by rolling out its own low-calorie, high-protein ice cream varieties.
Yasso is using more packaging real estate to communicate what the dessert looks like inside. For some consumers, the image of the product on its label might be the deciding factor between it and the more traditional flavors in Halo Top's line.
Even as Halo Top has grown rapidly, some critics say its texture doesn’t compare to traditional ice cream formulas. But with yogurt as its base, Yasso may have produced a product that responds to the consumer's desire for creamy, good tasting, low-calorie desserts. As always, taste and mouthfeel will be among the most important factors that will determine whether Yasso's new products succeed and can grab share from other players in the novelty space.
Feeding off of Halo Top’s success, Yasso is positioning itself to be the answer to the age-old dilemma of healthy versus indulgence in desserts. Competition between these two upstarts, as well as legacy ice cream makers, could lead to more innovation in brands, perhaps prompting a renaissance in frozen dessert manufacturing with new varieties featuring plant-based milks and interesting flavor profiles. It also could further capture the attention of Big Food makers who could be more likely to introduce their own competing products or add a company like Halo Top or Yasso to the fold through an acquisition.