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Americans’ continued focus on health and wellness means even frozen desserts must offer an edge – and manufacturers are responding with a myriad of options, including low-sugar, low-fat products. , high in fat, low in carbs, high in protein, plant based, packed with probiotics or superfoods, portion controlled – phew! – the list goes on.

Needless to say, while this long list of attributes offers a lot of potential, it also generates a lot of competition in a category that has been quite stagnant in recent years. So what should manufacturers focus their attention on to ensure an initial and repeat purchase? What else can they do to breathe new life into the category? And how do you stay ahead of the competition?

In this episode of FoodNavigator-USA’s Soup-To-Nuts podcast, we address these questions and more with the help of two innovative pioneers in the frozen novelty category: Michael Shoretz, Founder and CEO of Enlightened, and David Greenfeld, the founder of the Dream Pops startup.

Wanted: Healthy dessert

Ice cream and frozen desserts have a well-deserved reputation as being considered a pleasure and a treat given the large amounts of fat and sugar in traditional dishes. But, as consumer market research firm Packaged Facts notes, “today’s ice cream has the potential to deliver a lot more while adding a lot less.”

In fact packed 9eedition of its Ice Cream and Frozen Desserts report published in 2017, the research group points out that more than 85% of American households buy ice cream or sorbet, but that consumers are increasingly worried about the impact of what they eat affects their health. either by cutting back on frozen treats or looking for alternatives that are better for them.

This is exactly the experience that prompted Dream Pops founder David Greenfeld to create his line of plant-based, low-calorie frozen pops in 2016.

“I have a pretty ridiculous sweet tooth….[and] I really started to think a lot about what I was consuming on a daily basis and started to become a little more aware of my daily habits and food intake. And so I started to give up a lot of these products rich in sugar, dairy products and fat ”,said Greenfeld.

But when he went to the store, he couldn’t find any alternatives that met his health and taste requirements, he said.

After researching and chatting with colleagues and friends, Greenfeld said he realized the next wave of innovation in frozen desserts would be plant-based, which he said increased by 20-30%. year on year and is estimated at $ 4 billion. Marlet.

With that in mind, Greenfeld designed Dream Pops made from coconut milk, but he didn’t stop there. It also added superfoods and adaptogens to provide consumers with additional health benefits.

What’s inside Dream Pops isn’t the only thing that makes them unique – their size and shape also helps them stand out on the shelves and expand the opportunities for using frozen novelties. .

Lollipops are geometrically shaped to fit consumers’ mouths perfectly, and they are smaller than the average frozen dessert at just 100 calories, making them ideal for snacking.

Because the products are frozen with liquid nitrogen, they have a smaller ice crystal, which means they melt more slowly than most frozen desserts, which reinforces the idea that they are a treat. to take away.

Broaden the target audience

Just as Dream Pops Expands the Way Consumers Can Enjoy Frozen Treats, the More Mature, Healthier Brand Enlightened Ice Cream Grows whocan enjoy frozen desserts with the launch earlier this week of their Keto Collection.

Company founder and CEO Michael Shoretz said the progression of the better-for-health movement towards ice cream and frozen desserts has opened up a lot of room for innovation and growth in a very mature category, especially for companies that recognize that “healthy” means different things to a lot of different people.

He explained that the list of ingredients to avoid and diets to follow is constantly evolving and thus creating new consumer demands. A key example is the fast growing, high fat, high carbohydrate ketogenic diet that took the United States by storm in just a few years and inspired Enlightened to launch a Keto Collection this week.

The collection includes seven pints and four bars, each serving of which contains less than 1 gram of sugar and only 1 gram of net carbs. Additionally, the company notes that it is made with real cream to provide the high fat content needed to help maintain ketosis in the diet.

“Instead of using sugar, which is usually the second or third ingredient in ice cream, we chose to use monk fruit and erythritol, which is the same sweetener system we use. in our range of traditional ice cream. ”he added.

While many brands across all categories are embracing the keto trend, Shoretz said this line is not about making a quick buck. Rather, it is about responding to consumer demand.

“We have noticed a rapid increase in demand for keto options or very low carb options from our consumer base,”This is why the company responded with a lightning innovation to the production run which was squeezed from the first quarter of 2019 to distribution to over 8,000 by the end of the fourth quarter, he said.

Small innovations can have a big impact

While Enlightened and Dream Pops significantly break the mold of frozen desserts, Shoretz notes that not all innovations need to be big and flashy to make a meaningful difference for consumers and impact the category.

“One aspect of innovation and growth that we don’t often talk about, but I think it’s really essential for continued success, is iteration – improving current products. So it’s not just about always coming up with something new, which is exciting and can make the headlines, but I think it’s just as important to find small ways to improve your current products.he said.

For example, Enlightened improved the formula for its spoon ice cream after consumers complained that it was too hard when they took it out of the freezer. The changes made it more enjoyable and a better product, which made consumers more loyal.

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