LE MARS, IOWA — When considering the top ice cream and frozen dessert manufacturers in the United States, names like Nestle, Blue Bell and Unilever likely come to mind. But the fourth largest producer of branded ice cream in the United States is Wells Enterprises, Inc., which is also the largest privately held, family-owned ice cream and frozen treat manufacturer in the country, according to Information Resources, Inc., a Chicago-based market research firm.

Wells Enterprises owns the Blue Bunny, Halo Top, Bomb Pop, Chilly Cow and Blue Ribbon Classics brands. The company also manufactures licensed brands The Cheesecake Factory At Home premium ice cream, SorBabes gourmet sorbet and Weight Watchers frozen novelties, as well as private label offerings.

Wells acquired Halo Top from Eden Creamery, LLC in September 2019 and has been churning out new products under the brand ever since. In January, the company launched a line of keto ice cream pints, and in early May the brand debuted Halo Top Pops, a larger version of the company’s snackable miniature ice cream novelties.

“Halo Top disrupted the ice cream category by providing a high-protein, low-sugar, low-calorie dessert that gave consumers a reason to purchase ice cream as a treat again,” said Michael C. Wells, chief executive officer and president of Wells Enterprises, at the time of the acquisition announcement. “Halo Top met a consumer need that no one else in the category was serving. We feel it is a good fit for the Wells portfolio as we look to broaden our offerings for consumers.”

The ice cream maker’s Blue Bunny brand has seen the most innovation over the past year. This month, the brand debuted Blue Bunny Load’D Cones, building off the success of Blue Bunny Load’D Sundaes, which launched in August 2019. Blue Bunny also recently added new ice cream flavors and Bunny Snacks varieties to its portfolio.

Founded in 1913 by Fred H. Wells, Wells Enterprises produces more than 150 million gallons of ice cream per year at two manufacturing plants in Le Mars. Wells distributes its products in all 50 states.

View slideshow of new products from Wells Enterprises.