KANSAS CITY — Ice cream innovation — and competition — is heating up. As more brands launch light, low-calorie varieties aimed at health-conscious consumers, others are stepping up to serve decadent, full-calorie desserts marketed as indulgent treats.
In the indulgent category, Unilever P.L.C.’s Ben & Jerry’s ice cream brand is offering a new limited batch flavor called Gimme S’more! The frozen treat consists of toasted marshmallow ice cream, chocolate cookie swirls, graham cracker swirls and fudge flakes.
“The toasted marshmallow ice cream base adds a new level and depth of flavor," said Eric Fredette, flavor chef for Ben & Jerry’s. “We’re constantly looking at how we can take our flavors to the next level, and this was a great way to do just that.”
In the low-calorie category, Arctic Zero is launching Arctic Zero Light Ice Cream, containing 280-360 calories per pint. Made with rBST-free milk and cream and sweetened with cane sugar, the non-G.M.O. verified treats are available in seven varieties: cookies and cream, chocolate chunk, peanut butter and chocolate cookies, mint and chocolate cookie, vanilla bean, cookie and brownie dough and toffee crunch.
“Ice cream is a treat ... it’s made for people who are passionate about good food." — John Cox, Turkey Hill Dairy
“We heard our consumers loud and clear – even with indulgence, clean ingredients matter,” said Amit Pandhi, chief executive officer of Arctic Zero. “Sweeteners are a significant issue of concern and conversation for consumers. Many of the lower calorie ice creams in the category use questionable sweeteners like sugar alcohols that can cause bloating and digestion issues. Arctic Zero Light Ice Cream is naturally sweetened with cane sugar. We want people to feel good after indulging.”
Back in the full-calorie corner, Turkey Hill Dairy is debuting Decadent Delights, a new line of frozen treats featuring ice cream and fruit in either stick bar or cup formats. Decadent Delights bars are available in chocolate covered strawberry, coconut, tropical mango and cherry varieties, while Decadent Delights parfaits come in mixed berry, strawberry and lemon blueberry flavors.
“Ice cream is a treat, and that’s what Decadent Delights is meant to be,” said John Cox, president of Turkey Hill. “It’s made for people who are passionate about good food. Each flavor is brimming with fruit, which makes these an extra special treat for fans of fruit flavors.”
Also joining the light ice cream lineup, Wells Enterprises, Inc. is introducing Chilly Cow, a new light ice cream brand made with ultra-filtered milk. Available in half-pint sizes that each contain 190 calories or fewer, Chilly Cow comes in seven flavors: brown butter salted caramel, chocolate brownie batter, chocolate chip cookie dough, mint dark chocolate chip, Cookies N’ Cream, sweet cream peanut butter and vanilla graham swirl.
“We know that inside every health-conscious person is a person who still wants that soul-soothing ice cream experience — and the current, chalky-tasting light ice creams out there just aren’t delivering,” said Joshua Tubbs, brand manager for Chilly Cow. “That’s why Chilly Cow is here to save the world with the first light ice cream that actually tastes like the real thing.”