Whole Foods Market asked consumers to help develop its newest ice cream flavor.
Consumers chose from four new flavors: Frosted Animal Cookies, Midnight Double Feature Trail Mix, Almondmilk Birthday Blondie and non-dairy Cherry Chocolate Brownie. Almondmilk Birthday Blondie, a fun take on the sweet vanilla bar, came in first place, followed by Frosted Animal Cookies.
“We determined the top four options through research, studying trends and following our consumer’s ice cream preferences,” says Rachel Bukowski, team leader of product development at Whole Foods Market. “We also derived some inspiration from some of our iconic exclusive brands products, like our 365 by Whole Foods Market Frosted Animal Cookies and 365 by Whole Foods Market Double Feature Trail Mix.”
The new Almondmilk Birthday Blondie ice cream will hit freezers next year and will feature the company’s custom ice cream base.
“While there are a lot of key considerations for a new flavor, one of the biggest considerations is ensuring you have a delicious base for your ice cream,” Bukowski says. “We have a custom base for our ice creams that we developed hand in hand with our product development team, ice cream supplier and one of our third-party flavor houses. The base is totally unique to our Whole Foods Market exclusive brands and is basically the ‘starter’ for all of our yummy ice cream flavors.”
All ice cream and frozen treats, including dairy-free varieties, sold at Whole Foods Market are free from the more than 150 preservatives, flavors, colors and other ingredients the retailer has prohibited from food.
The company also is keeping an eye on several trends in the ice cream space beyond cleaner labels, including boozy ice cream, adding fruit and vegetable content for specialized diets and functional ingredients like prebiotics, probiotics, turmeric and spirulina, Bukowski says.
“The non-dairy plant-based trend is not going anywhere, and we are always on the lookout for exciting new non-dairy bases like oat milk, avocado and tahini,” she says.