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Halo Top heats up the ice cream aisle

Popular L.A.-based ice cream brand brings four non-dairy additions to the Canadian market

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Canadians can now scoop up non-dairy versions of Halo Top ice cream.

L.A.-based Halo Top first launched in Canada in March with 12 dairy flavours. The brand’s non-dairy varieties then became the number-one requested item from Canadians, according to the company.

So, this month, the company brought four dairy-free and vegan varieties (made with coconut milk) to the Canadian market: Peanut Butter Swirl, Toasted Coconut, Birthday Cake and Chocolate.

The dairy flavours “took off so quickly that we wanted to get our non-dairy product line [in Canada] as quickly as possible,” says Doug Bouton, president and COO of Halo Top.

Since launching in the U.S. in 2011, Halo Top has been positioned as a “guilt-free” ice cream option. Each serving of both the dairy and dairy-free varieties (about four servings per pint) has 80 to 100 calories and only six to eight grams of sugar.

“For all ice cream eaters out there, we can be—and often are—the ‘every day’ or ‘every week’ ice cream because nutritionally, you can eat it a lot more frequently than the full-calorie varieties,” says Bouton. “So, there’s a huge market for Halo Top.”

There’s also a burgeoning opportunity in the non-dairy ice cream category. In the U.S., sales of non-dairy ice cream (in the last 52 weeks ended May 27, 2017), reached US$110 million, a 49% increase from the previous period, according to Nielsen. (Canadian data is not available at this time.)

“Non-dairy across all categories is a massive growth opportunity. It’s really driving growth within retailers,” says Bouton. “I think what’s changed is it’s not just lactose intolerant people who eat non-dairy. Now, it’s part of the healthy eating trend … It also hits the vegan movement, which continues to be an important trend in terms of health, wellness and treatment of animals.”

The dairy-free versions are available at select Loblaw banners, select Sobeys banners and Metro Ontario. The suggested retail price for a pint is $5.99 to $6.99.

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