Modern consumers are typically more willing to spend their money on a brand with a strong backstory and purpose, a practice which is starting to drive change in the food industry and shape the brands of tomorrow.
The future of food will feature more inclusive and diverse brands that celebrate and empower learning from shared cultures. This is reinforced by recent research shared by Agility PR that revealed that “millennials are more likely to choose one brand over another if that brand demonstrates inclusion and diversity”.
We had the pleasure of recently speaking with Natasha Case, CEO and Co-Founder of COOLHAUS who shared more about the company’s goal to drive positive change in the food industry through the creation of a more inclusive and diverse ice cream brand. Continue reading to learn about COOLHAUS’ adventurous flavors and limitless innovation horizons in the ice cream world.
Driving Positive Change in the Food Industry
Wife-and-wife duo, Natasha Case and Freya Estreller founded the COOLHAUS ice cream brand in 2009 after they felt under-represented as millennial women, women of color, and members of the LGBTQ+ community by the other ice cream brands on shelf at that time. They decided to do something about it and create their own women-owned ice cream company to represent the positive change they wanted to see in the food industry, and inspire other diverse foodpreneurs to live out their dreams as well.
Natasha’s background in architecture and design is what initially led to the adoption of the brand name, COOLHAUS, after a friend suggested they call one of their ‘Sammies’ after Dutch architect, Rem Koolhaas, who is known in the industry for creating innovative and striking structures, similar to what Natasha and Freya were hoping to do with their ice cream products. They liked the idea so much that it inspired their whole brand name instead of just one product.
Once launched, they started testing out their ice cream creations in a postal van-turned ice cream truck at a large US music festival. Their products quickly went viral after proving a popular choice by the Coachella festival crowd and the pair have since grown the brand into one of the top women-led ice cream companies in the US, appearing on over 6000 grocery store shelves across the country, including WHOLE FOODS, where they are in the top 5 (of 65) novelty brands in the entire WHOLE FOODS portfolio.
The COOLHAUS Founders quickly realized that scaling the event catering business model they had initially planned for was going to be difficult which led them to create their very own flagship store and Innovation Center in Culver City, California. This Scoop Shop is now where they conduct consumer testing and feedback sessions to ensure higher success rates with their core range and novelty products.
The COOLHAUS Collection
The COOLHAUS portfolio, which currently consists of Cones, ‘Sammies’ and Mini-Sammies, Pints, and Mini-Cups, with both dairy and dairy-free varieties available in some formats, attracts a broad range of customers. Families are driving the demand for their mini sizes, while young, urban millennials are the core customers for their Pints, Cones, and Sammies.
“Our dairy-free range was created using a very unique recipe of pea protein, brown rice, and cocoa butter. We have realised that it takes a lot of consumer trust to know that a brand can do both [dairy and dairy-free] options well, and we are lucky to have built that trust with our customers.”
Best-known for their novelty creations, the COOLHAUS team pride themselves on designing fun, adventurous, and out-of-the-box flavors. Some of their most innovative speciality creations to date include:
Classic Mini Ice Cream Sammies: Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream sandwiched between two chocolate chip cookies.
Dairy-free Horchata Sammies: Horchata rice milk & cinnamon frozen dessert with snickerdoodle cookies.
Birthday Cake Sammie: a cupcake frosting ice cream with hints of sweet vanilla, sandwiched in between soft and sweet rainbow sprinkle cake cookies. The sugary jimmies are also dyed with natural turmeric.
Cookies & Cream Cones: cookies & cream ice cream cone with a chocolate cookie swirl topped with white chocolate in a chocolate cone.
Street Cart Churro Dough Cones: brown butter ice cream cone with cinnamon sugar churro dough and chocolate chip swirl.
Dairy-free Cookie Dough Sammie: cookie dough chocolate chip frozen dessert in a chocolate chip cookie.
Carrot Currency Cake: designed in partnership with Black Girl Ventures, this is the first ever ice cream pint created to fund the next generation of black and brown female business owners. The flavor is a carrot cake batter ice cream with cream cheese frosting swirl and candied pecans.
Take the Cannoli: Italian mascarpone ice cream with chocolate covered cannoli shells.
The COOLHAUS team understood from the beginning that marketing was going to be a powerful tool in their brand growth. The brand initially set out to create truly innovative products and flavors that would appeal to their target market, but also have the potential to go viral.
Their collaboration with Ritz Cracker was a great example of one of their viral hits after they created a peanut butter and Ritz cracker-marbled ice cream pint. French’s Mustard ice cream was another winning combination in the viral marketing space proving that COOLHAUS novelty creations are consistently winners.
What’s Coming up for COOLHAUS?
COOLHAUS are placing their future focus on creating cleaner labels and using even more natural ingredients, just like the turmeric that features in their Birthday Cake SKU. The reason behind this is to strive for more inclusion in the ice cream and frozen dessert space so that no matter a customer’s food preferences, they can enjoy something from the COOLHAUS range.
A large quantity of their product range is already non-GMO certified but they are working on getting the remaining products certified as well.
The team are always brainstorming new novelty ideas and have some bite-sized novelties planned for the near future. Additionally, they are specifically looking into more gluten-free novelty options to add to their existing gluten-free pint portfolio.
How can the INNODELICE network support COOLHAUS’ growth?
Coolhaus are looking to partner with more US retailers and food brokers who are interested in supporting women and LGBTQ+-led brands. There has been a change in the food industry in recent years with companies and consumers alike looking to invest in brands like COOLHAUS who have a strong backstory and purpose.
They are also interested in collaborating with more brands and suppliers for the creation of new novelty products. COOLHAUS suppliers and partners can expect a lot of online and offline support in the way of marketing and promotion as they have a lot of exciting activities going on outside the shelf as well and are happy to tie in with other brands and partners where it makes sense.
New partners wishing to work with COOLHAUS should get in touch as early as possible to discuss collaborations. Natasha recommends at least six months before any planned launch date. The team welcome conversations primarily from the US at the moment, but are open to speaking with export market potentials as well, especially in the Middle East and also Asian markets.
How to start collaborating with COOLHAUS?
If you see opportunities between COOLHAUS and your business, we would be happy to facilitate an introduction and help you start that conversation. If you are interested in discussing potential partnership opportunities, reach out to Nicolas on firstname.lastname@example.org or Andrea on email@example.com and we will connect you.
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Founded by former executives in the Ice Cream industry, INNODELICE aims to create a worldwide ecosystem of solutions within the frozen dessert industry. Thanks to the relationships fostered by INNODELICE, manufacturers, brands, importers, distributors and suppliers can discover, buy and sell solutions to GROW their business. These solutions include co-manufactured and branded products as well as innovative and competitive ingredients, packaging and services. Our collaboration model generates lower costs and fewer risks for our participating partners while optimising their time to market. To learn more about INNODELICE, contact Nicolas MARIE (firstname.lastname@example.org), Andrea MONTREUIL (email@example.com) or visit www.innodelice.com.