Since açai was an unfamiliar flavor to us, we were not certain what to expect. Though the description on the carton suggests the flavors of blueberry and blackberry, most of our tasters picked up a very cooked blackberry flavor. One of our more progressive tasters, a frequent consumer of a popular brand of açai juice, simply said “it tastes like açai.”
A more complete description on the product website states: “The nutritious and complex açai berry offers this tantalizing sorbet notes of sweet blueberries, wild blackberries and a hint of grape, all delivered through a velvety, pear-like texture.” Although we had not thought to liken the slightly gritty texture to pears before, it does make sense and is more apparent as the product softens after a few minutes out of the freezer.
What is interesting to note is the website description was the only mention we could find of the health benefits. Nothing about that on the package. But, as we stated earlier, there is no need for that. We are already “in the know,” or should be, if we are buying this product.
As for other health attributes, the product has 120 calories per serving, just 2g of fat and zero saturated fat.
The packaging speaks loudly of a premium product within. A black banded label and a gold and regal deep purple carton are luxurious in their own right. And while the product is low in fat (typical for sorbet) and contains a gram of fiber, no attention is called to either of these facts.
Does the product deliver?
Haagen-Dazs is about delivering a premium experience. Even though ice cream is definitely a mood food, consumers would rather not hear how they should feel, but instead experience that feeling as they eat it.
Haagen-Dazs Reserve Brazilian Açai Berry Sorbet is for people “in the know.” People so hip and knowledgeable that the company doesn’t need to take up valuable space on the carton or even much on the website to educate them on just how good the antioxidant punch of açai really is. You are cool. You already know that. Instead, you are interested in what wine and cheese you might serve it with (the website actually suggests Gorgonzola in a whole what cracker and Lambrusco). The experience was of a premium sorbet -- better melt-in-your-mouth qualities than most sorbets, but not as premium as ice cream
How to make the idea bigger: One reason açai is so powerful is the color itself. More and more research indicates purple fruits and vegetables pack the best antioxidant punch. Depending on which test is being used, açai, blueberries and blackberries occupy the top spot in antioxidant power.
There’s also the “antioxidant cascade effect,” which indicates antioxidants are most effective when combined with other antioxidants. So often these fruits are mixed. While a single berry is important for consumers to intuitively relate antioxidants to the sorbet, adding more antioxidants via the cascade effect would heighten the health aspects.
Providing portion control sizes may be another opportunity to play off consumers’ ideas about health, yet still be able to deliver the premium melt-in-your-mouth experience.
Rating: The product does deliver on most of the promises for those consumers looking for an intuitively healthy indulgence. This gives people who want to eat healthy a way to experience some indulgence, without giving up anything.
Market potential: Great. This frozen dessert is at once indulgent, premium and intuitively healthy -- close to the Holy Grail for consumers.