Good Humor-Breyers, Green Bay, Wis., a Unilever company

CarbSmart products have done exceptionally well in both novelties and packaged ice cream. In fact, CarbSmart ice cream has a 65% share of the carb-claim category and CarbSmart novelties have 61.2% of the category.
The year was 1920 and a gentleman named Harry Burt had just created the Jolly Boy Sucker, a lollypop on a stick. Later, while working in his ice cream parlor, Burt developed a smooth chocolate coating that was compatible with ice cream. Unfortunately, the new combination was too messy to eat. Burt's young son suggested that his dad take some of the wooden sticks used for the lollypops and freeze them into the ice cream. The first ice cream on a stick was born. Soon afterwards, the company was named Good Humor, which came from the belief that a person's "humor" or temperament was related to the humor of the palate, or one's sense of taste.

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.

Welcome back Jell-O Pudding Pops! The Jell-O brand is owned by Kraft Foods, the previous manufacturers and marketers of Jell-O Pudding Pops. Now this popular novelty is back through an exclusive licensing agreement.
The Breyers story began a bit earlier. The year was 1866 when William Breyer hand cranked his first gallon of ice cream in the kitchen of his Philadelphia home. He used only the finest ingredients and marketed his all-natural Breyers ice cream to his neighbors, selling it out of a horse-drawn wagon. Soon the demand for Breyers ice cream outgrew the capacity of the Breyer kitchen. A retail ice cream shop was opened in 1882, followed by a wholesale manufacturing plant in 1896. In 1926, the Breyers Ice Cream Company became a division of the National Dairy Products Corp., which in 1976 became Kraft Inc.

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.

Co-branding with popular candy is big in the ice cream business these days. In 2004, Good Humor-Breyers rolled out a line featuring Mars candies such as M&M’s, Snickers, Snickers Cruncher, Twix and Twix Peanut Butter. The company also co-branded with its own brands, offering customers Fudgsicle chocolate fudge ice cream in a carton instead of only as a novelty.

Innovators in smart eating

Year 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.

In June 2004, Good Humor-Breyers introduced the first zero grams net carbs per serving ice cream and frozen novelties to its CarbSmart line of products.

"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.

New Popsicle Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream Shots are free-flowing vanilla ice cream beads with chocolate chip cookie dough beads and individual chocolate mini-chips. Consumers just pour the pieces into their mouth and enjoy.

Origins in indulgence, while vanilla rules

Even 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!