Meet The Vegan Brand Reinventing The Dessert Aisle For All
PSFK interviews the co-founder of Dream Pops, a plant-based ice cream company that sells both DTC and via mass retail, about identifying an unmet consumer need, its weekly popup strategy and non-vegan positioning
- PSFK chatted with David Greenfeld, co-founder of the vegan dessert company Dream Pops, about how the brand was created, along with the methods like weekly popups used to market the brand as well as making home delivery possible.
- Despite the fact that it's a fast-growing market, Greenfeld says that the vegan food industry still has plenty of gaps to fill, making it possible for niche brands to find national success.
- Now available at supermarkets across the country and direct through nationwide shipping, Dream Pops is gaining traction without positioning itself for vegans.
PSFK: Where did the idea for Dream Pops come from?
The initial concept for Dream Pops came from a personal need. I previously worked as a banker and would spend countless late nights at my cubicle eating pints of ice cream, Häagen-Dazs bars and all sorts sugar-heavy snacks. At a certain point, I started to crash and began shifting to a cleaner plant-based diet with less dairy, sugar and processed foods.
While looking for plant-based and healthy alternatives in the frozen aisle, I was surprised by the clear lack of variety. A trip to Cartagena, Colombia accelerated the interest in ice cream, when I witnessed traditional paletas shops—popsicles made from all natural ingredients and fruit. I called my childhood friend and co-founder David Cohen, who had experience in food and beverage, and we began to conceptualize products in my mother's kitchen.
Shortly thereafter, I was fortunate enough to have an opportunity to move to Milan, Italy with my firm, where I lived for two years and was exposed to the birthplace of gelato. I was immersed in a culture devoted to ice cream and met our partners, a food scientist and a three-star Michelin chef, and we began working on a next generation ice cream bar.
What specific consumer trends played a part in the brand activation?
We built Dream Pops on the thesis that there were not enough plant-based ice cream options on the market that delivered on taste, functionality and a clean ingredient stack. We noticed friends, colleagues and the masses shifting away from their traditional dairy and meat products and substituting their consumer staples with plant-based alternatives.
Our goal is to reimagine ice cream for the next generation and rethink frozen snacking. We also have been very meticulous in our portion control and sizing. Consumers no longer want to commit to an entire pint, and rather want snackable, convenient options that fit into their daily lives, and that they don't regret post-consumption. Having a product that complements our core customers' routine is crucial as we want to create long-term brand loyalty.
How do you enable at-home shipping?
We use a company called Vericool, which is an eco-friendly styrofoam alternative. By leveraging their innovative packaging solution and dry ice, we are able to guarantee delivery in 48 hours with an additional 12-hour window prior to spoilage. We manufacture all of our products in-house and have a very diligent quality assurance program prior to our boxes leaving the warehouse.
You're primarily DTC, but you've expanded into grocery stores and other activations. How are you moving forward as a brand?
We initially built our brand around the power of collaborations. We typically have one to four pop-up activations weekly, and are constantly aligning with other companies that share our values across all verticals. We often find that the most powerful partnerships occur when you push the art of the possible, and find creative ways to leverage both communities, and value propositions in a thoughtful and meaningful way.
We release limited-edition flavors, SKUs, pouches and even non-food items with our brand partners. Our most recent collaboration was with Lokai, where we released a limited edition Dream Pops Lokai bracelet. For every bracelet purchased, we donated a Dream Pop to a child with lesser circumstances to pass along a little happiness and kindness on National Ice Cream Day.
How do you interact with customers?
My co-founder and I believe that some of our most valuable time with our customers is when we are demoing at grocery stores. It is so important to be on the front lines and listen to the feedback from each and every consumer. Collecting tens of thousands of responses from people trying your product for the first time can be a very valuable asset and provide insights that you could never attain from a helicopter view of the business. In addition, we spend quite a bit of time emailing, direct messaging and calling customers when they reach out to us.
Lead image: Dream Pops