If you haven’t tried at least a spoonful of Halo Top from one of the low-calorie, high-protein ice cream’s golden-rimmed pints, you’ve probably been living under a rock for the past two years. (And if you haven’t binge-eaten an entire pint in one sitting, you definitely have more self-control than we do.)
But it isn’t until this week that the East Coast gets its first taste of the L.A.-based creamery’s soft serve, at a four-day pop-up in Manhattan.
The cult-favorite brand — so popular, its pints dethroned Ben & Jerry’s and Häagen-Dazs as the best-selling in U.S. grocery stores last year — has partnered with the Lower East Side’s Supermoon Bakehouse to hand out free samples of three “guilt-free” soft serve flavors from May 31 to June 3, according to a release.
New Yorkers have their choice of peanut butter cup (125 calories for a 5-ounce serving) or vanilla bean (113 calories) as long as supplies last at the trendy bakery known for its cheeky, holographic packaging and its signature croissant-muffin hybrid pastries.
Early risers have to be one of the first 150 to line up at 120 Rivington St. to claim a complimentary swirl of Halo Top’s new peaches-and-cream flavor, served in a plain cruffin that by no definition qualifies as “guilt-free.”
Halo Top’s cult status is pegged to Instagram-friendly branding and a marketing strategy that advertises its pints as containing about as many calories (280 to 360) as competitors’ contain in one or one and a half servings, not to mention 20 grams of protein. The ingredients that give the ice cream its caloric edge without compromising too much flavor are: stevia, for sweetness; plant-based prebiotic fiber, for texture and body; and air. (Three-quarter cups of air are whipped into every pint.) The gold foil seals encourage eaters to “Stop when you hit the bottom” and “Keep digging,” messaging that critics say sanctions unhealthy bingeing behavior.
Parent company Eden Creamery, launched by two former lawyers in 2016, opened its first scoop shop in a suburb of Los Angeles in November. It followed with a second stand this April.
Earlier this month, Eden Creamery became the defendant in a class-action lawsuit brought by a Queens man who alleges that he and other customers have been misled by Halo Top’s labeling and name, thinking they were spending $6.99 on full-fat, rather than light ice cream.