Meanwhile, Nestle-owned Haagen-Dazs this month
expanded its one-year-old gelato line with new flavors including
caramelized banana chip and pomegranate swirl. The marketer, which
spent $16.2 million in measured media on gelato last year,
according to Kantar Media, has boosted the budget this year, said
Joy Richardson, Nestle USA's associate brand manager for
Haagen-Dazs. Sales reached roughly $40 million in the past year,
according to the brand.
marketers are chasing scrappy upstart Talenti, a privately held
gelato brand that launched as a stand-alone store in Dallas in 2001
and has grown into a national grocery brand with expectations of
more than $160 million in sales this year, including distribution
at 7-Eleven and Walmart. Talenti -- which
has visions of becoming the Chobani of the ice cream world --
recently launched its first-ever ad campaign, a digital effort by
Fallon Worldwide, Minneapolis that includes videos touting the
ingredients in Talenti's 26 flavors.
Gelato is typically more dense than regular ice cream
because it contains less of the air (known as "overrun") that is
added in standard ice-cream making. Also, gelato has more milk than
cream, which makes for less fat than regular ice cream. But beware,
this is not a diet food: the Breyers triple chocolate gelato flavor
includes 23% of the daily value of saturated fat per serving.
executives cited consumer mobility as one factor driving the trend.
"More and more people are traveling internationally. They are
getting exposure to these delicious treats," Mr. Soukas said. "They
come back, and they are looking for that similar experience."
Gelato shops are popping up all around the country, he added, "not
just in New York City anymore."
as of 2013, still had a relatively low consumer penetration rate of
15% and is mostly popular with upper-income consumers, as well as
younger buyers, said Beth Bloom, a food and drinks analyst for
Mintel. But all the elements are there for future growth, including
an "artisan treat feel" that more consumers are seeking, she
first tested gelato in the U.S. in 1998, but Americans were
apparently not ready yet and the effort melted. This time, the
marketer has been careful to balance classic Italian flavors like
stracciatella with trendy contemporary flavors such as sea salt
caramel. A TV ad that debuted last year by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners and
was shot in Rome, looks like a scene out of the "The Godfather,"
featuring an Italian couple fighting, only to take a brief loving
pause over some spoons of gelato.
Just a few years after Haagen-Dazs' ill-fated test,
Talenti was founded by Josh Hochschuler, who opened his Dallas
gelateria after falling in love with gelato while working for an
investment bank in Argentina, where he learned the craft from an
Italian gelato-maker in Buenos Aires. The brand began taking off
after it got an investment from executives at Phillips Distilling
Co., which is known for pioneering the luxury vodka category in the
U.S. with Belvedere Vodka, a brand it later sold.
"very much embodied what we saw in Belvedere from the very
beginning, which was a way to create a new category with
differentiated package and an extraordinary product," said Dean
Phillips, former CEO of Phillips Distributing and current chairman
and co-owner of Talenti.
comes in see-through pints and screw-off lids and is made with
ingredients including fresh milk -- rather than powdered -- and
pure cane sugar. The name is taken from Bernardo Buontalenti, a
16th Century Italian artist who legend has it was the
inventor of modern-day gelato. Gelato's true origins are
Even as Talenti spends more mass-market ad money, the
brand is trying to keep its grassroots appeal through one-to-one
our strategies is when you love us, we love you back. We very
actively monitor every single post to our social media sites," Mr.
Phillips said. At least once a week, the brand selects one fan post
and sends a custom response, which often includes a package in the