The ice cream’s makers, identical twins Arnie and Ron Koss, are veterans in the healthy and natural category. They came up with Earth’s Best Baby Food back in the 1980s. “What we do is we see opportunities in the food world where transformation and change is ready for the category,” said Arnie Koss, Brio’s president.
What they did to baby food—creating the first organic alternative—they wish to do in the frozen section with Brio. “We saw a stagnant category, and we really wanted to do something special,” Koss said about ice cream.
The product has been on the market for around a year, sold mostly in Hawaii where Arnie Koss works, but the true fruit of their labor—a final formulation that includes probiotics and brand new packaging and branding, was launched at the Expo West 2016 show in March.
The latest product comes in single-serve 3.5 oz or 14 oz cups, and is packed with antioxidants, electrolytes, vitamins and minerals. It also has Ganeden’s strain Bacillus coagulans GBI-30 6086, which it markets as the only probiotic Bacillus that has FDA GRAS status.
Years to perfection
Putting in all the nutrients wasn’t exactly a wave of a wand. “We had to overcome coloration issues, and we had to overcome off-flavors, and textures,” Koss said. “It was an avalanche of challenge, but we worked really hard to keep all the nutrition in the ice cream, and still produce something that tastes really good.”
They worked closely together with Ganeden, and took frequent trips to Cornell University to develop a formulation with which they were satisfied to bring to the market.
Today there are six flavors: Very Strawberry, Dark Chocolate, Vanilla Caramel, Tropical Mango, Café Latte, and the newly launched Madagascar Vanilla. The products will be rolling out in more stores in the Northeast, such as Giant and ShopRite, and stores in Texas, such as Randall’s and Central Market.
Koss also said that they are focusing expansion in the food service industry, having been stocked in the freezers of the University of Hawaii, they are looking to serve more educational institutions around the country, and possibly hotel chains.
“We had great success at the [National Restaurant Association] show in Chicago,” Koss said about exhibiting Brio at the food service industry’s largest show. “We really think the category is going to grow, and we want people to see ice cream as more than just a sweet treat, that it can be healthy.”