‘If Mother Nature did not make it, we didn’t use it.’ Snow Monkey Superfood Ice Treat, an ice cream industry, was founded by two ice cream lovers, Rachael and Mariana in 2015. Rachael’s Celiac Disease, a food allergy, and Marianne’s discipline for food habits drove them to opening the ice cream industry. Furthermore, eating healthy foods wasn’t inevitable for them since they were both athletes at Boston University. Therefore, these founders used natural plants, protein, fiber and superfoods as their ingredients for making traditional ice creams with no sugar and fat additives. Paleo5 was their main ice cream product which was free from allergens. After, they had made their first sample, their friends had a taste of it and they were pleased. This made them realize that it would be profitable f they ventured into it as a business.
After Rachel and Marina, completed their course in BU in 2015, they joined the BU’s entrepreneurial center. They produced Snow Monkey’s minimum viable product (MVP) and continued to work toward proving their concept. While at BU, they competed against tech companies, and won grant awards adding up to $21,000. In 2016, they launched a Kickstarter campaign and raised nearly $40,000.
However, their lack of experience in the food business posed a great challenge for them. BU’s entrepreneurial center specialized in tech, not food. Rachel said, “Manufacturing the, ice treat was our greatest challenge. We went online to hunt for manufacturers, sourcing directories from every association we found. “14 The two of them started making calls to convince manufacturers to work with them. Moreover, changing the ingredients of an ice cream, required working with food scientists and changing the manufacturing process. Rachel and Mariana eventually found a few manufacturers and packers who agreed to help them in scaling up. They had to shift to Los Angeles to be in proximity to the manufacturers and buyers in January20 l 7, Snow Monkey was finally launched and hit the shelves of Whole Foods Market stores in the Southern Pacific region. (Stengel. G, 2019)
In September 2017, Chobani, the New York-based Greek Yogurt maker, chose seven food start-ups from around the country to participate in its second incubator class. To its delight, Snow Monkey found itself on the list.
Not only was Snow Monkey named as a Frontier in Food, it also won US$25,000 and mentoring from Chobani’s management team. Jackie Miller, Director of the Chobani Food Incubator, said, “We ‘re so excited to have Snow Monkey as part of the second class of the Chobani Food Incubator. Snow Monkey and the other 6 companies comprising this class represent the next frontier of food. These are mission-based companies looking to challenge big food and bring better food to more people. Chobani’s mentoring provided Rachel and Mariana the much needed insights into the industry. The Incubator helped Snow Monkey expand. By 2019, Snow Monkeys distribution had expanded to 1,200 retail locations. 17 In 2019, Rachel found a place in the Forbes 30 under 30 list.
Current Strategy Used.
Over the years, growth in the ice cream market had encountered challenging situations like competition from other categories (e.g. yogurt), consumers’ growing concerns about health and dieting, etc. According to Mintel, 2017, in his report, he stated that the consumers’ focus was shifting to “absence of negatives” which included GM021-free, hormone-free, preservative-free, and low calorie, as far as ice creams and frozen novelties were concerned. According to the reports of Technavio, growing health consciousness among consumers had led to a change in their demand. Thus pushing manufacturers to offer ice creams of smaller portion sizes with low levels of fat, and more natural ingredients.
According to a research by Mintel, consumers tended to buy 24 fewer ice creams as they considered these treats to be unhealthy, as opposed to too expensive. Since health attributes had gained importance, the ice cream market had begun to feel the heat from US consumers to provide “better-for-you” options. In response to this demand, companies had started offering such options in the form of Greek yogurt, smaller portion sizes, and better ingredients including vegetables, oats, soy, and non-dairy ingredients.
The approach used was based on how people would avoid ingesting unhealthy foods since it makes them vulnerable to diseases and also Rachel and Mariana’s athlete goal was to eat healthy foods. Rachel portrays that their team is hyper focused on building our ‘Tribe’ of consumers. Moreso, through experiential events, engaging the community and placing their all-female leadership team in the spotlight. She also says that her years spent in the entertainment and hospitality industries shaped this strategy because both are highly customer centric. Furthermore, she claims that the teams she worked on in both industries, dependably made decisions based on customer values, feedback and anticipating their needs based on evolving trends. There was a heavy emphasis on creating unique experiences, exceptional customer service and showcasing our offerings in a lifestyle context. These strategies have been highly effective at Snow Monkey. Consequently, building a Tribe that loves to engage with them beyond purchasing. (Laneeight, 2019).
3.1 Current Competitive Advantages
According to a Snow Monkey article, 2019, it clarifies that leading a healthy lifestyle is not only New Year’s resolution but a daily resolution. Now more than ever, modern consumers crave quick, nutritious snacks to satisfy those hunger pangs. Snow Monkey’s ice cream’s ingredients and texture is what makes it outstanding in the market. The ingredients are very nutritious. It is also available in five mouthwatering flavors. Moreso, packed with fiber and antioxidants, every pint carried 21 grams of protein and had only 390-405 calories. Not only did Snow Monkey encourage ice cream consumers to ‘eat no evil’ but also to indulge in the reinvented ice cream that was free of all major allergens, including dairy, soy, and nuts. Most ice creams in the market used artificial sweeteners to cut down on calories. The sugar, used in ice creams lowered the freezing point, because of which the ice cream alternatives melted faster
While traditional ice cream formulas froze to solid at very low temperatures, Snow Monkey’s formula froze at high temperatures between negative 5 and negative 10 degrees as their product had no added sugar and ho fatty substances like milk. In addition, no emulsifiers or artificial stabilizers were used in the ice cream to ensure that the ingredients could be distinct, and not become a frozen block.
According to a review from a snow monkey’s client, she defines the textures in her on way. The cacao treat, one of the ice cream flavors, the texture of the frozen treat was definitely like a sorbet – icy, but also silky and smooth. The flavor was like a very pure dark chocolate. There was no much sweetness, but for people who enjoy a dark or a bitter chocolate, that might be worth a try. Likewise, the passion fruit gave her some trouble. She claimed that the taste was dead on, very tat and flavorful and the texture was her problem. Unlike the cacao flavor which was pretty smooth, that it had an awful diet ice cream, chalky texture that she could not get past. (Roman. E, 2019)
Moreover, Alix Turoff, MS, RD, CDN, CPT at Alix Turoff Nutrition & Fitness claims that Snow Monkey’s ice creams are the first ‘ice creams’ in the vegan category that he has ever seen. More so, it doesn’t have a ton of iffy ingredients in it. In fact, the ingredients aren’t really anything you wouldn’t or couldn’t put into a smoothie at home.
“Millions of Americans want to be able to indulge without compromising their health or their fitness goals. Dietary restrictions and considerations are a key drivers to that,” portrays the National Month Ice Cream Survey (Malocheb. M, 2018). Therefore, diet restrictions and been keen on what to eat or not is a big advantage to Snow Monkey’s ice creams. It’s health benefits makes it very essential in daily diets.
Fleming. A, 2019, posits that there are a lot of low-calorie, dairy- free ice creams emerging, but Snow Monkey Superfood Ice Treat shuns any type of funny business. They go wild with healthy ingredients in their exotic ice cream flavors, and avoid sugar alcohols. Each flavor is sweetened naturally with fruit and fruit juice, and a few varieties have a touch of maple syrup added.
Consequently, Rachel said, “When someone samples Snow Monkey for the first time and excitedly raves about how great it tastes, how healthy it is, and that Snow Monkey is too good to be true-it’s gratifying and humbling to witness how happy our creation makes people.” Health has always been a first priority in every human being’s life. Snow Monkey’s ice cream plays a major role in a human being’s life by preventing allergens and giving their bodies the necessary nutrients. Furthermore it has even replaced the allergy reaction pills.
In July 2017, Snow Monkey announced the expansion of its distribution to Wegmans, Central Market and Nugget Market. With this, it was retailing in a whopping 130 stores domestically. The expansion came during summer when consumers indulged in ice creams to celebrate National Ice Cream Month.
Analysts opined that Snow Monkey would appeal to the vegan community more widely if the right strategy for creating a niche segment was used. With a target audience of superfood junkies, Snow Monkey was playing it smart by including its certifications and labelling front in its products.
Rachel said, “We are extremely excited about this because accessibility is one of our core values. We don’t believe that healthy food should only be accessible to the fortunate few, so by expanding into these bigger-box retailers at a competitive price point this early in our company’s lifetime supports our goal to revolutionize the ice cream.
During the lunch, Rachel said, “Snow Monkey is the only ice cream alternative that allows consumers to enjoy their favorite treat for breakfast, post-workout fuel, or indulgence without any of the guilt. We are continuously working toward our mission of reinventing America’s favorite treats, and the ability to appeal to additional taste preferences with the launch of our new flavors takes us one step closer.
The company was focusing mainly on expanding sales and was looking forward to aggressive distribution on shelves so as to continue meeting the needs of customers. Food analysis, however, felt that though the brand communicated clearly that it was a healthy alternative to other frozen snacks, it could be propped up even more. It could be argued that Snow Monkey “Was a strong enough differentiator to do just that. However, scaling it up on the already illustrative packaging could create a chaotic pint design. Perhaps the emphasis could be increased instead through social channels. Some experts also felt that Snow Monkey needed to make some dedicated marketing efforts to bring the ice cream to the American breakfast table.
Not everyone likes the flavors being sold at Snow monkey. Therefore, snow monkey should look forward to finding what flavors their consumers like a lot. Later, reinvent them to suit their customer’s satisfaction. Also, they should make it easier for their consumers to purchase ice creams online and Snow Ice Cream’s attendants make the ice cream deliveries to the various consumers on time. Finally, can ice cream be manufactured in a way that it serves as a mode of treatment for any disease rather than prevent an illness only?