Cado avocado-based “ice cream” could be game-changer in non-dairy frozen dessert category
“Many people can’t have dairy or nuts or soy-based products,” which drastically restricts their options in the ice cream and frozen dessert aisle, but as long as they aren’t among the few allergic to avocados, they can enjoy Cado, which “is a completely new kind of ice cream,” said Meghan Dowd, who operates Cado Desserts along with her brother and mother.
She explained the high levels of healthy mono-unsaturated fats in avocados create the creamy texture that most people look for in ice cream-like frozen desserts, but it does not carry the same threat of an allergic reaction as more prevalent dairy-, soy- and nut-milk based frozen desserts.
In addition, the frozen dessert is certified gluten-free, lending it even more gravitas with allergy-sensitive consumers or those avoiding gluten for other reasons.
A better-for-you indulgence
The frozen dessert earns extra stripes as a better-for-you option because the high levels of mono-unsaturated fat found in avocados have been show to help lower bad cholesterol and contribute to heart health, Dowd said.
While Dowd was quick to add that the ice cream does not make any health claims, she noted that compared to dairy-based ice cream, it has significantly less saturated fat, which some research suggests contributes to higher levels of bad cholesterol and by extension heart disease.
Indeed, a ½ cup serving of Mint Chocolate Chip Cado has only 3 grams of saturated and 150 calories, compared to the same size serving of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Peppermint Crunch ice cream, which has 11 grams of saturated fat and 300 calories. Likewise, a ½ cup serving of Blue Bell Creamery Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream has 6 grams of saturated fat and 170 calories.
Cado also will appeal to more health conscious shoppers because each pint packs more than a whole avocado, which offers more potassium than a banana and delivers 4 grams of on-trend fiber, Dowd said.
A warm reception for a winter launch
The frozen dessert’s quiet November launch into Whole Foods stores in the Midwest may seem oddly timed for when many people eschew ice cream because it is too cold, but given Cado’s better-for-you profile, the winter launch could help it gain traction with consumers who resolve to eat healthier in the New Year and are looking for healthier ways to indulge.
Whole Foods’ decision to launch the frozen dessert out of cycle also bodes well for Cado, sending a message that the treat is innovative and eye-catching enough to justify slotting before the ice cream category comes up for general review in March.
As for the cold weather possibly dampening initial sales, Dowd says she eats Cado by a warm fire and it tastes delicious despite the chill outside.
Cado also launched at many independent health markets and select Hy-vee stores, Dowd noted.
She said the company would support the launch with demos, rotating promotions and on social media.
Overcoming flavor misconceptions
A significant marketing challenge the company may need to overcome could be confusion about the frozen dessert’s flavor, Dowd said. She explained that many people are confused by the idea of a sweet dessert made from avocados, which typically are sidelined as savory items such as guacamole.
“Many people are intrigued by the idea of an avocado-based ice cream, but they are confused when it doesn’t taste like avocado. But we are not making avocado flavored ice cream. Rather, we are making ice cream from avocados,” she said.
“We need to get the point across that people can enjoy classic ice cream flavors,” which is why Cado Desserts chose the traditional flavors of Mint Chocolate Chip and Deep Dark Chocolate, Dowd said.
The company branched out a bit in its flavor line up, however, with the addition of Simply Lemon, which Dowd said highlights the subtle taste of avocado.
Going forward the company plans to expand its flavor portfolio as well as distribution, Dowd said.