15 Women-Owned Frozen Dessert Brands Leading the Way in 2022

Dear food- retailers, distributors, brokers, investors and last but not least, consumers; what follows is for you.


The intent is simple: introduce you to amazing brands, products and companies for you to choose from when making your next portfolio, investment or consumption choice. They all happen to be led by incredible women which you will be able to meet below.


Dear female-leader, this is also for you. To infuse your path with inspiration, insights and advice that will, hopefully, enlighten your way when faced with challenges.


This matters because, still to date,

  • Women represent just 20% of top-level executives at food and beverage manufacturing companies. Source here.

  • When pairing with a male co-founder, women-led companies secured only 15.6% of venture capital in the US in 2021. Source here. However;

  • That percentage falls to 2% when the founder is solely female,

  • A percentage which, by the way, has been in decline for the last two years, where it now equals 2016 levels.


Let’s face it, it is difficult for any brand, male or female-led, to succeed in the CPG world. The high entry costs, the fierce competition and the never-ending quest for the newest innovation are risky business realities that are faced and managed by all. But difficult should not mean unfair.


While female representation within the food industry may still be lower than we would like, thankfully there are plenty of incredible women out there who are working on changing that figure for the better.


Representation matters and we call upon you to join the momentum of International Women’s Day by choosing some of the top women-led brands in the ice cream and frozen dessert industry. Continue reading to discover some of the most empowering and inspiring women in the ice cream and frozen dessert industry today.


Lift as you climb,

Andrea

CEO, Innodelice Ecosystem



Read more about the following brands and the women behind them below:


NICKI SCHROEDER from HIGH ROAD, USA


Nicki Schroeder, Co-Founder of High Road Ice Cream, has been co-building the brand from scratch since 2010, turning it into one of the leading high-end dessert brands in the US and featuring on the Inc. 5000 list (a list showcasing the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in the US based on percentage of revenue growth) an incredible six-times! Read more about High Road here. When we asked Nicki about working in the world of ice cream, here’s what she had to say:

What do you love most about working in the ice cream industry?


I love that we are able to bring delicious, indulgent products to market in the foodservice, retail and private label channels. I love innovating in the dairy space, creating from-scratch products that excite the marketplace! With so many advancements in technology and ingredients - the dairy space is both challenging and very rewarding.


What do you think is the main challenge currently facing women in the ice cream industry?


The dairy industry comes with its own set of complexities (safety, quality, equipment, supply chain, team building, finances, waste, cashflow, etc.) and we have to command ALL of those things in ways that keep teams engaged and doing their finest work - in all of the lanes of the business). Additionally, women are leading robust family lives and usually managing their family’s schedules too - and it can be A LOT of pressure and anxiety. We must remind ourselves to breathe, recharge and take care of ourselves and use our voices to make sure we are taking care of our minds, bodies and spirits so that we can be optimal in all aspects of our lives.


What actions do you think could be taken to combat these challenges?


I recently took a class about Flow and how to manage my energy. The course helped me realize that our brains (men and women) MUST recover from daily challenges. We are meant to struggle (The cycle is Struggle, Release, Flow, Recover). In that recovery time, we have to take time to relax, reflect and process. I have found that taking that essential time to recover has helped me understand and accept my thoughts, feelings, and actions throughout the day. Instead of over-tasking my brain, I have worked to do less, but do it better. Listen and value the voice inside myself and use it to help grow.


What advice would you give to other women who want to enter the ice cream industry?


Do it! I believe we are here on earth to do challenging things with our time and leave an imprint on the people we work with and the things we do with our time. The dairy industry provides plenty of opportunities. There are many lanes to travel, knowledge to gain and areas to grow in the dairy industry.



JACKIE KWITKO from FRESSY BESSIE, Canada


Jackie Kwitko is the Founder and Owner of Canadian frozen dessert brand, Fressy Bessie who make healthy and delicious frozen treats that are 100% free of preservatives, additives, salt, sweeteners, and any artificial ingredients. Jackie has been leading the brand since 2014 so knows a thing or two about what it takes to build a brand in today’s frozen treat market.

What do you love most about working in the frozen dessert industry?


I love this industry because I can make a popsicle (we call ice lollies) out of fruit and find consumers who have food sensitivities, are vegan, are gluten free, it doesn't matter what their issue is, I know most consumers can eat fruit. I also chose not to add any sugar to our ice lollies as I believe fruit is sweet enough and that it would appeal to parents who are trying to bring up their kids as healthy eaters and to diabetics who don't want to eat anything artificial. So I love that anyone can eat our ice lollies and I love seeing the faces on my customers (young and old), who discover how much they love my ice lollies - emails that ask me about allergens (no we don't have any), and how astonished folks are how few ingredients are in our ice lollies (they melt slower than most popsicles as they don't have juice or water in them).


What do you think is the main challenge currently facing women in the ice cream industry? And what actions could be taken to combat this challenge?


We have been making our ice lollies for some years and have a dedicated consumer base but it's almost impossible to get an investor interested in helping us grow as they don't seem to have confidence that women can grow their company into something impressive.


What advice would you give to other women who want to enter the ice cream industry?

I tell anyone who wants to get into the business, to not be faint-of-heart - it's going to take hard work and determination to make a success of this business!



ALLISON MONETTE from O’MY GELATO, USA


Allison Monette (pictured) and Julie Bishop are the Co-Founders of dairy-free frozen dessert brand O’MY Gelato. They craft exceptionally delicious, and more importantly inclusive dairy-free frozen treats made with simple, recognizable ingredients that anyone can enjoy thanks to their allergy-friendly ingredient list. We asked Allison about her experience working in the world of frozen desserts and this is what she had to say.

What do you love most about working in the frozen dessert industry?


I love working with such a fun product- who doesn’t love ice cream?!?


What do you think is the main challenge currently facing women in the ice cream industry? And what actions could be taken to combat this challenge?


Access to capital is a challenge for any business starting out, and women-founded businesses receive just 2.3 % of VC funding. Targeted investment or secured lines of credit could go a long way in setting women-founded businesses up for success.


What advice would you give to other women who want to enter the frozen dessert industry?


Networking is SUCH a valuable use of time. Many people are willing to share their experience and connections with you if you put in the effort to build the relationship.



NATASHA CASE from COOLHAUS, USA


Natasha Case (pictured right), CEO and Co-Founder of Coolhaus, created the now-popular women-owned ice cream company in 2009 alongside Co-Founder and Partner, Freya Estreller (pictured left) with the goal of representing the positive change they wanted to see in the food industry.

What do you love most about working in the ice cream industry?


I love creating delicious ice cream and seeing the joy it brings. Personally, I’ve found that focusing on my passion has rewarded me in ways that are beyond any job title.


What advice would you give to other women who want to enter the ice cream industry?


I love to encourage women who own businesses to think big and find a way to spend most of their time and energy on the parts of the business that bring them the most joy and fulfilment. It’s so important that female entrepreneurs value ourselves and our time in spending effort on what it takes to grow a business. It’s time to stop putting ourselves last, and to know that we are fully capable of whatever we set our minds to. It's a win-win proposition.



JANE WOODHEAD from SPEAKEASY, UK


Speakeasy Ice Cream is Co-Founded by Jane Woodhead who is also responsible for all aspects of the finance and business operations under the brand. Speakeasy produces luxury alcohol-infused ice creams that are crafted in partnership with award-winning drinks companies. The result is a smooth, creamy ice cream that is winning over hearts and spoons all across the UK and Jane has shared some of her learnings from working in the industry below.

What do you love most about working in the ice cream industry?


You put a smile on peoples faces! I love running sampling and tasting events – the feedback and response is fabulous to see.


What do you think is the main challenge currently facing women in the ice cream industry? And what actions could be taken to combat this challenge?


The food sector is under a lot of pressure at the moment with rising prices of ingredients packaging, manufacturing costs and extended supply chains. This creates challenges for everyone in the sector putting added pressure on cash flow and funding meaning this remains a key priority for all. It is well documented that it is harder for women led businesses to access funding, however, with an increased focus on diversity and inclusion from funding sources this is starting to see small but clear shifts to improve this.


What advice would you give to other women who want to enter the ice cream industry?


I was completely new to the food industry and genuinely enjoyed the challenge of learning all the intrinsic parts of the sector from product development, brand design and activation and marketing right through to logistics and regulation. It's essential to build your network in this scenario – seek out the experts in each area – talk to them, understand the challenges (there will be more than you expect!) and don’t be nervous of questioning why things are done the way they are, and build relationships.


There are also numerous roles and routes to markets within the ice cream sector so I would also suggest looking at which would suit you best to fulfil your personal goals and priorities remembering you can build experience and knowledge along the way and evolve into different roles or paths as life changes.



BECKY CASTLE from SISTERS OF ANARCHY, USA


Co-Founders of creatively anarchistic ice cream brand, Sisters of Anarchy, Becky Castle and Bob Clark grow their own fruit on Fisher Brothers Farm in Vermont. This fruit, which includes lesser seen ingredients such as aronia berries, elderberries, and Marquette grapes, is used to produce their unique farm-to-pint/cone ice cream sold throughout the US. Speaking with Becky Castle from the brand, she shared her highlights and challenges from working in ice cream.

What do you love most about working in the ice cream industry?


I love connecting directly with customers. When I have the opportunity to scoop at our farm or at events, I love speaking with the customers about our flavors, the fun names that we’ve developed, and the story behind our brand. It is a great way to get direct feedback and build brand fans.


We also have a lot of fun with flavor development. Our farm has over 35,000 feet of fruit under cultivation. We grow blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, aronia berries, elderberries, and Marquette grapes. Nearly all of our ice cream flavors incorporate one of these as flavor elements. Recently, we’ve been experimenting with some unique vegan sorbet recipes as a complement to our dairy ice cream flavors.


Finally, our ice cream is named after our three children—the Sisters of Anarchy Ice Cream—whom we joke have always colored outside of the lines. I really value that they have an opportunity to learn about entrepreneurship first-hand.


What do you think is the main challenge currently facing women in the ice cream industry? And what actions could be taken to combat this challenge?


The biggest challenge for women in agriculture, ice cream (CPG generally), or any business is lack of access to capital. Women-owned businesses receive less than 5 percent of available investable dollars in the US. We’ve bootstrapped our company by starting a berry farm from scratch and building a farm-to-cone ice cream brand using the flavor elements that we grow and securing other key ingredients (cream and honey) from other farm partners.


At a certain point in growth, a business needs more outside capital to scale, but it is really hard to find and secure growth capital. Lack of necessary capital for scale translates not only to equipment purchases and working capital, but also to marketing spend. We are constantly trying to figure out how to punch above our weight in building brand awareness without as many marketing dollars as much larger brands against whom we are competing for retail shelf space and online orders.

What advice would you give to other women who want to enter the ice cream industry?


Ice cream is a crowded space so you need to really differentiate your brand. Before starting, I’d recommend really thinking about what is missing from the ice cream or frozen dessert world. For us, our differentiator is that we are growing all of the flavor elements and also use our brand platform as a vehicle for fun and for showcasing women pushing the boundaries doing amazing things in the world.



KIRSTEN SUTARIA from DOOZY POTS, USA


Family owned and female led plant-based ice cream brand, Doozy Pots, was Co-Founded by Kirsten Sutaria who has always had a passion for cooking and experimenting in the kitchen, a skill which she later turned into a food science career with a degree from Cornell University. Kirsten told us about her love for ice cream below and what she sees as the main challenges facing women in the industry today.

What do you love about working in the ice cream industry?


Ice cream is one of the most exciting foods to eat and to make! There are so many technical elements from chemistry to thermodynamics and sensory science that you need to understand to create great ice cream. One of my favorite parts of the job is seeing new products come to life from a concept or an idea to being on shelves in supermarkets.


Along with the excitement of the technical side of ice cream, it’s the people; colleagues and customers. I have worked in ice cream for 13 years and have met some of the most amazing and brilliant people around the world. From fellow R&D colleagues to team members in production I have learned so much and built great friendships. There is no greater joy than getting a nice message from a customer about their new favorite flavor of Doozy Pots or seeing someone enjoying a product I have worked so hard to bring to life!


What do you think is the main challenge currently facing women in the ice cream industry? And what actions could be taken to combat this challenge?


In my career I’ve often been the only female on the team and have felt like I need to go the extra mile to prove myself or make it to the next level. There needs to be more women in R&D and production. Working in these areas requires a strong understanding of sciences and engineering, two areas of study where women are underrepresented. Supporting girls and young women in their pursuit of STEM education is the first step into creating a more diverse and inclusive ice cream industry.


Science, math and engineering are not just for boys. I have worked with many amazing women in the industry and sharing those stories with young girls and women is key to inspiring the next generation. Encouraging and supporting growth for women in technical roles and providing progressive, innovative places to build a career can help break those barriers. More women in these roles will give companies a better balance of perspectives and will help to create innovative new products.


What advice would you give to other women who want to enter the ice cream industry?


Welcome, we need more women in this space. Women make the majority of food purchasing decisions for households so it’s vital their voices are heard within the industry to drive more diverse, relevant customer insights and to increase innovation. Be tenacious and make sure you have a seat at the table where your voice is heard and valued. One thing that has always stuck with me was when a production manager told me that the team liked working with me because I was kind to the team members and worked as an equal, not a superior, which was how some male colleagues behaved. You may find times you have to push harder to be heard, but always remember to lead with kindness as that will get you further.


 

We were very pleasantly surprised to find out just how many women-owned and led ice cream and frozen dessert brands there were out there when we started researching for this article! While we didn’t get a chance to hear from them all, we still wanted to share their success so in addition to those featured above, here is a list of more inspiring women-led ice cream and frozen dessert brands leading the way in 2022!



  • Happy Coco [Germany] was founded by Alexandra Weston with the goal of bringing tasty vegan and organic dairy alternatives to consumers while also respecting the global ecosystem by being climate neutral and sustainable.


  • Creamalicious [USA] is the brandchild of Chef Liz Rogers who is the Founder, President, and Executive Chef. Creamalicious ice creams are 2-in-1 desserts that pair fresh baked pastries with homemade ice creams.


  • Peekaboo [USA] Founder and mom of three, Jessica Weiss Levison learned that sneaking vegetables into her homemade ice cream pints was a great way to get children to eat more vegetables.



  • Snow Monkey [USA] is led by athlete, Rachel Geicke who is the brand’s Founder and CEO. After being diagnosed with Celiac disease in 2014, Rachel created her own dairy-free ice cream brand to cater to consumers who, for various reasons, couldn't or didn't want to consume traditional ice cream.


  • Sacred Serve [USA] was founded by Kailey Donewald who after a lifetime of suffering from severe cases of asthma and allergies found that a plant-based and raw food diet helped heal her symptoms so much that she is now on a mission to bring function into frozen indulgence by incorporating superfoods into her gelato.



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