- Halo Top Ice Cream is the #1 selling pint of ice cream in the U.S., beating out iconic brands like Ben & Jerry’s and Breyers, according to Business Wire. After launching in 2012, Halo Top has seen tremendous growth, including a 2,500% increase in sales last year.
- Halo Top, which touts its low-calorie, high-protein and low-sugar content, sold more than 17 million pints in 2016. Each container contains 240-360 calories and 20 grams of protein.
- Its founder, former attorney Justin Wolverton, came up with the idea of Halo Top while trying out sugarless ice cream recipes in his home kitchen.
Halo Top’s meteoric rise to the top of the highly competitive ice cream field is a clear reflection of the public's demand for healthy, simple and clean food. Shoppers want the products they consume to contain a shorter list of ingredients they understand and recognize, factors they consider as meaning the item is better for you.
The rapid success experienced by startups such as Halo Top are the exception to the grocery success story, not the rule. Dominant food manufacturers like General Mills, which owns Haagen-Dazs, has the deep pockets to invest in developing, distributing and marketing a low-calorie ice cream. They also could take the hit if the product was a flop. Most start-ups don’t have those luxuries, which makes their success stories even sweeter.
Halo Top founder, Justin Wolverton, discovered an underserved demographic by being part of it. He wanted a sugarless ice cream that tasted good. The product he invented appeals to consumers with its low-sugar and high-protein content.
The incredible success of Halo Top is all the more impressive when you consider Wolverton didn’t take the traditional road when it comes to advertising or packaging. Wolverton took a new approach with simple wording and boldly stating the low number of calories on the front of the container. Other ice cream companies have since introduced similar products. Breyers, for example, has responded by rolling out its own low-calorie, high-protein ice cream varieties called "Breyers delights" that also prominently feature calories per pint on their packaging.
Unlike the brands owned by large conglomerates, Halo Top also doesn’t use a main ad or media agency. Halo Top controls its own social media outreach and digital ads —a practice that has been remarkably successful.
A quick stroll down the ice cream isle of most supermarkets shows Halo Top is not alone in trying to cater to a health-focused ice cream eater. Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt also boasts natural ingredients, but hasn’t developed the same following as Halo Top. Edy’s Slow Churned light ice cream has been around for years, but has more sugar and less protein. The likelihood that a new product would knock Halo Top from the #1 selling spot is unlikely in the near future, but not unthinkable down the road.
While Halo Top is flying high now, will it still be in demand in five years, or be replaced by another Halo Top-like brand? As demand for organic, healthy food options increase, Halo Top likely has staying power. As it looks for new avenues of growth, the ice cream maker may double down and go for the pricey organic certification to attract even more health-focused consumers.