Welcome to the 47th edition of magazine B.
Häagen-Dazs is a brand of ice cream that first appeared in the Bronx, New York in 1961. Because the name sounds European, Häagen-Dazs is easily mistaken for a European brand. Founders Reuben and Rose Mattus, husband and wife, hoped the company would be associated with the artisan spirit of old Europe. The compoundword “Häagen-Dazs” doesn’t mean anything but is supposed to sound Danish, as Denmark is renowned for its dairy products. As the brand name continues to arouse consumer curiosity and is often assumed to be European, it seems the company nomenclature has been successful.
When Häagen-Dazs first appeared, ice cream was a product marketed mainly toward children. However, Mr. and Mrs. Mattus sought to expand the consumer base. To appeal to a wider palate, they increased the butterfat content and removed all preservatives, releasing three basic flavors: vanilla, chocolate and coffee. They also charged a much higher price, directly targeting more sophisticated customers. As the company grew, it developed distinctive plastic lids and colored packaging and launched a marketing campaign that conveyed an image of indulgence, and thus succeeded in expanding its market from children to adults. “In the 1990s (the first time I encountered Häagen-Dazs), they were like the Armani of ice cream,” says one customer.
This path has brought Häagen-Dazs more than just commercial success. Today, whether it’s a children’s treat sold at amusement parks or a cafe indulgence served alongside coffee, Häagen-Dazs is incorporated into many desserts in a variety of restaurants and eateries. It is now common to see people complement a scoop of Häagen-Dazs with additions such as whiskey or espresso. Much like Intelligentsia Coffee and San Pellegrino, Häagen-Dazs has established itself as a formidable name in the epicurean community. The concept of a “blue ocean,” or uncontested market space, does not apply exclusively to new or sparsely populated industries. If you can reinterpret an existing product by creating a slight variation that opens up a new market, then you have in essence created a blue ocean. That is what Häagen-Dazs did by expanding the possibilities of the ice cream business. To achieve true success, rather than blindly chasing trends, it is important to pause and reflect on one’s circumstances and environment.
In one of this edition’s interviews, a French dessert chef makes an interesting comment on how the French view food: “The reason why they insist on smaller portions is their fundamental philosophy of ‘eat only as much as you can taste.’” For the French, after three mouthfuls of the same food, the palate becomes dulled. The same principle applies to desserts. Whether it’s a small luxury to savor after a meal or a moment of indulgence after a hard day, we hope that a scoop of Häagen-Dazs will enhance your taste for life.
Taehyuk Choi, Editor in Chief