How A Rogue Low-Calorie Ice Cream Became America's Bestselling Pint
It seems too good to be true: Ice cream you can eat by the pint for less than 300 calories. That's as creamy as Häagen-Dazs and packs as much protein as eating three hard-boiled eggs. Oh, and it's low in sugar.
It's no wonder that bikini models and bodybuilders rave about Halo Top's 19 ice cream flavors, or that bloggers like Karen Ray of My Skinny Sweet Tooth keep their freezers perpetually stocked with at least five pints
"Oh my gosh, I have it three to four times a week," says Ray, of Louisville, KY, who regularly posts photos of the ice cream to her 18,000 Instagram followers. "When I found Halo Top, I was like, oh my god, I need to buy these up. I bought every single flavor and tried a little spoonful of each."
This fledgling ice cream company's a divine intervention for their diets. The majority of its flavors top out at a mere 280 calories in an entire pint, whereas other brands pack in that many calories per 1/2 cup serving.
You know that awful feeling when your spoon hits cardboard at the bottom of a tub and you realize you've eaten waaaay more than intended? Imagine the world without that guilt, where you can eat ice cream every night without worry. Halo Top's branding suggests heaven for a reason.
To be fair, the brand isn't the first healthy ice cream, but it's quickly become the bestselling pint in America, surpassing Häagen-Dazs and Ben & Jerry's. After launching in 2012, Halo Top's sales jumped 2,500 percent between 2015 and 2016, thanks to word of mouth and social media. The low-cal creamery pulled in $132.4 million last year.
IT ALL STARTED WITH ONE GUY WHO WAS REALLY SICK OF HIS JOB.
Woolverton's the CEO of Halo Top, and he spent years working out the recipe in his kitchen. The 37-year-old wasn't starting a business; he just wanted a snack. "I don't do well on sugar," says Woolverton, who's had blood sugar issues in the past. "I got into ice cream because I was really making it for myself.“
"Halo Top resonates with Whole Foods Market shoppers because they're not only making a great tasting ice cream, but they're also hitting several nutritional notes — high protein, low calorie, low sugar and low fat — while also meeting our quality standards of no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives," says Eric Cusimano, the global category manager for the Whole Foods grocery team, who oversees frozen goods. "Their success has created a whole new ice cream segment!“
The brand hit the motherlode with fitness bloggers and Instagram influencers like Ray
More than 100,000 photos have been tagged with #halotop on Instagram, and in some cities where the brand is harder to come by, fans will post their "hauls" of Halo Top, when they buy many pints at once.
However, The experts have strong feelings about Halo Top, as well — but they're not exactly positive.
"This is just repackaging more chemicals and more fake food. It's the same bull crap!" says Boise, Idaho-based nutritionist Christy Nickel. "I absolutely do not let my clients eat this. It's still junk food. It's just less junky.“
Block calls the famous Halo Top packaging "misleading" and "sneaky," noting that the giant numbers for protein are per pint, and the sugar is per serving. "You have to eat the entire pint to get that [20 grams of] protein," she notes
But what a delicious dependency.
As with so many other wonderful vices in the world, the answer to the Halo Top question may be "moderation." No one should be eating a pint of ice cream every day, even if it's not as bad, as sugary, or as fattening as typical ice cream.
Like diet soda instead of regular soda, you know you shouldn't, but it's better than the alternative.
And that, it seems, is the secret to "healthy" ice cream's success.
Do you like ice cream? What do you think about the "Halo top"? share your opinion in comments:)
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