The American dairy is one of the most competitive spaces in the food industry, long dominated by giants who have the scale to quickly and widely distribute a product with a very short lifespan, in a sector where consumer brand loyalty is legendary. Perhaps the most competitive product lines within this increasingly cut throat category are yogurt and ice cream, and yet two backyard brands, born out of the curiosity and imagination of a single young founder, have catapulted to the top, taking on giants like Yoplait, Chobani, Haagen Dazs and Breyers in just a few short years- -and all through the power of creative disruption.
Noosa Yoghurt was co-founded in 2009 by Koel Thomas, who discovered the creamy whole milk yoghurt, sweetened with passion fruit, while on a visit to her homeland of Australia. She returned home to Boulder, Colorado, made a deal with a local dairy, built a yogurt factory right next door, and began marketing Noosa in the US. Advent International acquired Noosa in 2014 to expand their production capacity, and sales this year are expected to hit 9.3 billion.
Halo Top Ice Cream is marketed as the ice cream that’s so good for you that you can eat the whole pint in one sitting. One
lived on nothing but Halo Top ice cream for 10 days and actually lost weight. Halo Top was invented in 2010 by former attorney Justin Wolverton who came up with the recipe while experimenting with his new Cuisinart in his own kitchen trying to come up with sugarless desserts to satisfy his own sweet tooth. From these humble beginnings, Halo Top has shot to the top of the freezer case in record time. Halo Top sales in 2016 jumped about 2,500% from the year before. And they did all of that without spending on any traditional marketing.
So how did Noosa and Halo Top manage to disrupt the American dairy in record time? Here are a few ideas: