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Low-cal ice cream: Jude’s enters the market with new launch

American import Halo Top was stocked in UK supermarkets earlier this year, but a British brand is now attempting to scoop the competition.

3 September 2018
caloriesdessertfrozenice creamSainsbury'ssugarvegan

With Jude’s announcing a new range of low-calorie ice cream, Halo Top is the brand that comes to mind as a direct competitor.

Halo Top hit the UK in January and is stocked in Tesco and Ocado for £5, offering high-protein and low-sugar products. There are seven vegan options and flavours like peanut butter, sea salt caramel, toasted coconut, red velvet and oatmeal cookie. It also has the number of calories in a tub (240-360, depending on flavour) in a larger font than the name of the brand itself.

For Jude’s, the British family-run ice cream brand, its low-calorie launch comes on the back of its Little Jude’s Lollies, which were released in autumn 2017. The lollies contain less than 10% sugar – under half the average sugar content for ice creams nationally – and the range has been a huge success with kids, parents and retailers, said the company. Now, Little Jude’s Lollies is the company’s bestselling line.

This success has inspired the launch of its first low-calorie ice creams, containing no added sugar and coming in vegan flavours for big kids to enjoy.

Calorie counters

Just like Halo Top, Jude’s range is made using natural sweeteners stevia and erythritol, as well as the sugar content naturally found in cow’s milk, coconut milk and vegetable fibre.

While the flavours aren’t crazy ones like pandan, matcha or black sesame (as Food Spark featured in a story earlier this year), Jude’s range will come in four tastes: salted caramel, vanilla bean, peanut butter and vegan chocolate.

Available from October 23 for £4 at Sainsbury’s nationwide, Jude’s lower calorie and vegan flavours will sit alongside the classic range in new, pinstripe tubs.

The company has brought back its ‘iconic’ spoon, which clearly communicates the calorie content to shoppers looking for something lighter and also has a flag reading ‘no added sugar.’ Most of the range has 320 calories per tub while the peanut butter comes in a bit higher at 390 calories.

Chow Mezger, MD and son of Jude, commented: “We are incredibly excited to be launching the first premium, British, no added sugar ice cream range. The ice cream tastes amazing and we can’t wait for people to try it.

“The new range is designed to offer consumers’ choice. For those looking for lower calorie and no added sugar products, we wanted to offer ice cream with both outstanding taste and provenance. We use fresh British milk collected daily from the cows and the finest ingredients such a Madagascan vanilla, English sea salt and Sri Lankan coconut milk, which gives the vegan ice cream an incredible rich and creamy taste and texture.”

Challenger brand

Theo Mezger is actually the man behind Jude’s. He dreamed of creating the world’s tastiest ice cream and immersed himself in the study of the craft.

In his small dairy barn in Hampshire, he set to work and in 2002 he carried his first tubs across the field to the local pub. He named his company after his wife.

Theo taught his sons, Alex and Chow, all he knew about the art of ice cream making, and they now work with some of Britain’s top chefs to develop new flavours – which still have to pass a family taste test before being released to the public.

“Our dad fell in love with creating incredible ice creams. He literally studied the craft on his own in a barn and then he passed on all his expertise to us,” said Chow.

Now, Chow is on a mission to ensure that Jude’s grows to become a British challenger brand to the multinationals, including Unilever-owner Breyers, an American brand that launched a low-cal, high-protein range last year. The unseasonably hot summer for the UK has helped boost this ambition too.

At the start of July, Chow said May and June had both been record breaking months for Jude’s, while four times the standard volume of Jude’s signature salted caramel flavour was sold in the space of two weeks.

“The weather has also been fantastic for new flavour launches: normally it can take up to a year to establish a new flavour with shoppers. However, our new vanilla clotted cream flavour is already challenging salted caramel for the top spot,” he said.

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