In 1930, a New York businessman and investor by the name of M.J. Meehan acquired the national rights to the company by buying 75% of the shares. The Meehan family owned Good Humor until 1961 when it was sold to Unilever's U.S. subsidiary, the Thomas J. Lipton Company.
Good Humor-Breyers was created in 1993 when Unilever acquired the Breyers frozen dessert operations of Kraft Foods. In the years just prior to acquiring Breyers, Unilever had been adding to it U.S. holdings. For example, in 1989, the company added Gold Bond, the largest U.S. frozen novelties manufacturer. And in 1992, Unilever acquired the Klondike Company. Unilever pulled all these units together into one company-Good Humor-Breyers-which this year is Dairy Foods magazine's New Products Company of the Year.
Innovators in smart eatingYear after year, Good Humor-Breyers surprises consumers with new products. Many in the industry, including Dairy Foods, recognize the challenges with such annual innovations.
"The ice cream and frozen novelties category depends on innovation for continued growth," says Dan Hammer, v.p., marketing and development. "Good Humor-Breyers' inspiration for products comes from consumers. That is true of all product lines-kids, healthy and regular ice cream and novelties. We also believe taste has to come first, which is true for all of our products, but especially for ‘healthy' products.
"All of our products are developed with input from consumers via consumer research, focus groups, in-home visits and observing consumers as they shop the ice cream aisle," Hammer adds. "We also keep our eye on emerging diet trends. CarbSmart™ is a great example. It launched in 2003, just as the carb-watching trend started to take off, and we have let it evolve with the trend.
Good Humor-Breyers is likely the most proactive frozen dessert manufacturer and marketer when it comes to providing consumers on-target, trendy, smart-eating options. In fact, this year, the company helped retailers create a better-for-you section, with a healthful product for almost everyone's needs-from diabetics, to fat-gram counters, to carbohydrate-conscious ice cream lovers.
It really started in 2003 when the company became the first to introduce a nationally branded ice cream made with 2% milk. Breyers® 2% Milk Light Ice Cream joined Breyers 98% Fat Free Ice Cream. On the novelty side of things, the Klondike® brand extended to include Slim-a-Bear 98% Fat Free Ice Cream Sandwiches, as well as no-sugar-added offerings.
In late 2003, Good Humor-Breyers debuted the Carb Smart brand. By the summer of 2004, low-carbohydrate ice cream under the Breyers brand and low-carbohydrate frozen novelties under the Klondike brand made their way into retailers' freezers across the country.
The company also markets a line of frozen novelties under the Slim-Fast brand, a Unilever brand of diet foods and beverages.
"We know that interest in a carbohydrate-controlled lifestyle is growing," says Hammer. "The original CarbSmart products are doing a great job of meeting the needs of casual-carb watchers. What's missing are products that meet the specific needs of serious low-carb dieters, those who are closely limiting their net carb consumption. Our new CarbSmart zero grams net carbs per serving products meet the needs of this group of consumers."
In the final weeks of this past summer, the company debuted Breyers CarbSmart Frozen Yogurt, which is the first nationally distributed retail frozen yogurt product that complements the low-carbohydrate lifestyle.
Another newcomer rolled out under the Klondike brand. Klondike CarbSmart Ice Cream Cones are real ice cream dipped in chocolate-flavored coating and rolled in peanuts.
With its popular line of indulgent fudge bars, ice cream bars and ice cream sandwiches for use in low-carbohydrate diets, Klondike CarbSmart has become the number-one selling brand of frozen novelties in the carb-claim segment, according to ACNielsen Scan Track data.
Overall, "Our CarbSmart products have done exceptionally well in both novelties and packaged ice cream," adds Hammer. "CarbSmart ice cream has a 65% share of the carb-claim category and CarbSmart novelties have 61.2% of the category." This is based on AC Nielsen data as of Oct. 2, 2004.
Origins in indulgence, while vanilla rulesEven though Good Humor-Breyers obviously caters to its smart-eating customers, the company knows there are a lot of folks out there who want to indulge when they eat ice cream.
"On the full-fat/indulgent side, we are always on the lookout for flavor trends," says Hammer. "For example, we noticed caramel paired with other flavors has been emerging in desserts at bakeries, restaurants and in food products. This year Breyers introduced All Natural Caramel Fudge, now one of the top new flavor introductions of the year."
Also new for 2004 are a variety of co-branded products featuring Mars candies such as M&M's, Snickers, Snickers Cruncher, Twix and Twix Peanut Butter.
When it comes to reigning flavors, Good Humor-Breyers likely has more vanilla SKUs (stock keeping units) than any other marketer. This is because the company has a vanilla for everyone's dietary needs and taste preferences.
"Vanilla is the most popular ice cream flavor in the United States," says Hammer. "Each of Breyers' product lines, from All Natural to CarbSmart, offers a vanilla. When you taste them side-by-side, they are not the same experience. A good example is All Natural Vanilla, which has a classic texture and ‘burst' of vanilla bean flavor. Extra Creamy Vanilla has a smooth, creamy texture and a subtle vanilla flavor. They are both best-selling vanillas, but their flavors and textures appeal to two different types of ice cream lovers."
So what can we expect from Good Humor-Breyers in the near future?
"We cannot reveal specific product information, but we can tell you to look for more indulgent, exciting and fun flavors in both full-fat and healthy ice cream and novelties," concludes Hammer. Keep up the great work Good Humor-Breyers! We can't wait to see what ice cream innovations will be next!