Halo Top is now the best-selling pint of ice cream in US grocery stores. But, a wave of backlash is building against the ice cream brand that markets itself 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, only has 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 reads.
However, some nutritionists are pushing back on the ice cream company’s claims that its ice cream is truly “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.'”
Nestle was just one of a number of nutrition experts who spoke to 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 sugar alcohol additive erythritol that Halo Top uses to cut back on sugar. According to Popkin, too much erythritol can cause diarrhoea and bloating, though Halo Top told Fortune that someone would have to eat three pints to be in danger of these symptoms.
Halo Top told Fortune that they found nutritionists arguments’ confusing and that 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.
Online, another wave of backlash has been brewing against Halo Top. According to some critics, the ice cream simply… doesn’t taste that good.
While Halo Top’s Facebook reviews are overwhelmingly positive, there are a few critics giving 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 2500% to sell 28.8 million pints in 2016. Now, the company is going to need to figure out how to battle backlash and cement its position as the No. 1 brand in ice cream.
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 have 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