Target takes on Halo Top with its own low-calorie, high-protein ice cream
- Target is introducing its own Halo Top-esque ice cream from in-house brand Archer Farms, according to Bustle.
- There are six flavors, including cookie dough, chocolate pecan pie, caramel maple bourbon pecan, mini donut, chocolate peanut butter and mint cookies and cream, the web site said. The low-cal, high-protein dessert is available for in-store purchases only, and the store will continue to sell the popular Halo Top.
- This is not the first Target ice cream introduction this year. In March, the store’s Market Pantry brand released an ice cream called Unicorn Magic. Candy Hunting described it as having "a pink fruity base with a sour blue raspberry swirl, a frosting swirl, and glitter candy bits." Market Pantry offers other flavors such as monster cookie, caramel waffle cone and cherry chocolaty cake.
Target is betting that new and fun ice cream flavors and brands will bring people into stores and inspire impulse purchases as shoppers wander the aisles.
At least one of the moves seems to be paying off. AdAge reports that partnerships such as one with the Ice Cream Museum could be a reason why Target has seen its strongest performance in more than a decade. Store traffic grew nearly 4% in the first quarter of 2018, while revenue jumped 3.5% to $16.6 billion compared to the year before. Initiatives like the Ice Cream Museum show Target is willing to look for fresh ideas and partnerships to differentiate itself from its competitors.
As for its new low-cal, high-protein ice cream, Target is attempting to ride the success of Halo Top. Millennials apparently like the bold packaging and health benefits of this indulgent dessert that promises fewer calories, less sugar and higher protein. But as more food producers copy Halo Top, can they all be successful? One of the factors in Halo Top's runaway success was the brand's ability to effectively read the market and offer a product that other ice cream brands didn't, Inc. noted. That fresh idea, along with clever social media branding, helped the dessert skyrocket from zero to market dominance within five years.
One must wonder how successful new brands will be in a copycat market. Ben & Jerry’s has introduced a new line of low-fat, low-calorie ice cream called Moo-phoria. 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 recently.
The Breyers delights packaging design features a large spoon design in the center featuring calories per pint. The protein content also is listed in the bottom right hand corner. It will be interesting to see how Halo Top reacts to this marketing when the line rolls out in August, and if the lure works on consumers.
Although Halo Top remains king, Target’s new ice cream could be a worthy competitor if the price is attractive and consumers determine the taste and health benefits compare favorably.
Target is smart to keep Halo Top on its shelves even as it rolls out its own low-calorie, high protein line. But if the Target brand catches on, it could mean trouble for Halo Top and other upstart brands going forward. This initiative could serve as a blueprint for Big Food and retailers looking to recapture lost market share from trendy young companies widely viewed as being more in touch with the wants and desires of American consumers.