- Facebook/Halo Top
Halo Top is now the best-selling pint of ice cream in US grocery stores. But some observers are taking issue with the ice-cream brand’s marketing its product as “healthy.”
Fans have embraced Halo Top for its promise that customers can scarf down a pint of ice cream and still be healthy. Vanilla, for example, has only 240 calories – for the entire pint.
“We know it sounds too good to be true, so don’t just take our word for it – dig in and see for yourself just how good healthy ice cream can be!” Halo Top’s website says.
Some nutritionists, however, are pushing back on the ice-cream company’s claims that its ice cream is “healthy.”
“Marketing ice cream as healthy is an oxymoron if I’ve ever heard one,” Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University, told Fortune. “This fits perfectly in the category of ‘just because it’s a slightly better choice does not mean that it is a good choice.'”
- Facebook/Halo Top
Nestle was just one of numerous nutrition experts who spoke with Fortune in an article published Thursday to tear down Halo Top’s self-proclaimed health benefits.
One professor of nutrition, Barry Popkin from the University of North Carolina, questioned the company’s use of erythritol, the sugar-alcohol additive that Halo Top uses to cut back on sugar. Popkin said too much erythritol could cause diarrhea and bloating, though Halo Top told Fortune that someone would have to eat 3 pints to be in danger of these symptoms.
Halo Top also dismissed the nutritionists’ concerns more broadly, telling Fortune shoppers know they’re buying a “lower-calorie version of full-fat ice cream.” The company didn’t immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
Another wave of backlash has been brewing against Halo Top online, with some critics saying the ice cream simply doesn’t taste that good.
Halo Top ice cream is terrible. Anyone who suggests otherwise is an idiot.
— chaps (@UncleChaps) August 4, 2017
I feel bad for people who always rave about Halo Top. Clearly they've never tasted actual ice cream.
— Christina (@lifthvyprincess) August 4, 2017
Stop calling Halo ice cream and stop eating it
— roxane gay (@rgay) August 3, 2017
While Halo Top’s Facebook reviews are overwhelmingly positive, a few critics have given the ice cream just one star.
“I’ve had so many ice cream brands and this was legit the worst,” one person wrote. “My dog took 2 licks and walked away. Seriously. Never going to try again.”
Halo Top was something of an instant success last summer, with sales rocketing by 2,500% for 28.8 million pints sold in 2016. Only time will tell, however, whether the concerns of the nutritionists interviewed by Fortune start to reflect in sales of what is now the No. 1 brand in ice cream.