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Half the guilt, double the pleasure

Halo Top, a ‘better for you’ ice cream brand from US, lands in Korea

Ice cream and eating healthy have never quite gone hand in hand. But some alternative brands are trying to bridge the seemingly opposite ideas, producing low-calorie ice cream.

Among them is Halo Top, an ice cream brand based in Los Angeles, California. Founded in 2012, it boasts a “better for you” ice cream.

Halo Top
Halo Top

Created by two former lawyers interested in healthy lifestyles, a pint of Halo Top’s ice cream has 285 to 330 calories, one-fourth that of typical ice cream products. It contains much less sugar and fat, and is higher in protein.

After expanding its business to Canada, Australia and Europe, Halo Top has finally landed in Korea -- its first entry into Asia.

“We receive a lot of fan requests to launch in Korea, so it became one of our top priorities to make it happen and make sure that Korea was the first Asian country to debut Halo Top,” the brand’s Chief Operations Officer Douglas Bouton told The Korea Herald in an email. 

Halo Top's Chief Operations Officer Douglas Bouton
Halo Top's Chief Operations Officer Douglas Bouton

The COO and co-founder mentioned the “sohwakhaeng” trend here, which refers to young consumers’ willingness to spend for “small but certain” happiness. Halo Top intends to bring those small moments of happiness via ice cream.

“Our target audience is largely millennials in Korea who are trying to eat healthier, but without sacrificing on taste or flavor,” Bouton said.

Over the past few years, many brands have launched products billed as an alternative form of ice cream. Most have failed to win over the dairy dessert enthusiasts because they just do not taste quite as good. Though their products could imitate the sweet flavor with artificial ingredients, they struggle to re-create the creamy mouthfeel.

But for Halo Top, more than just using two natural sugar substitutes -- organic stevia and erythritol -- to reduce the sugar content, it uses egg whites and skim milk, creating that familiar ice cream texture.

At a press event Wednesday at a cafe in southern Seoul, the brand’s international public relations managers introduced the products it would be launching in Korea.

Only three flavors -- Birthday Party, Peanut Butter Cup and Sea Salt Caramel – are to be sold in Korea at first, but it hopes to launch more flavors and products in the future. The three flavors are its bestsellers.

Though the brand also has popsicles and dairy-free pints, it has no immediate plans to introduce these products to Korea.

“Halo Top’s brand is approachable, fun and far from anything corporate. We don’t take ourselves too seriously (since it is ice cream after all), and our fans are at the forefront of our decisions,” Bouton said.

“We always want to produce the best quality and best tasting product for our fans at the end of the day.”

Halo Top’s ice cream can be found at local convenience store chain GS25 and on e-commerce platforms. At around 10,000 won ($8.50) for a pint, the price is similar to other premium ice cream products.

Currently, three scoop stores of Halo Top are located in LA, the city where the brand was founded. It does not have any plans to launch another scoop store soon.

By Im Eun-byel (

Korea Herald Youtube