Brio Ice Cream Ready to Roll at Winter Fancy Food Show

As always, among the coolest products at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, California, will be ice cream and frozen desserts. From Arctic Zero Fit Frozen Desserts and Brio Ice Cream to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, Steve’s Ice Cream, Mikawaya’s Mochi Ice Cream and much more, there will be plenty in store to see and sample.

This, the first in a series of articles previewing exhibitors with innovative products bound for the aisles of Moscone Center January 17-19, provides readers with the “inside scoop” on Brio Ice Cream. Key personnel from the Montpelier, Vermont-based company will hold forth at Booth #2736.

brio mobile

Coincidentally, Ben & Jerry's co-founder Ben Cohen and Earth's Best Baby Food co-founder Ron Koss were coworkers at a residential group home for teenagers during the 1970s. Both had grown up in New York, had curly hair and wore glasses. 

During the 1980s, Ben and his partner Jerry Greenfield built the Ben & Jerry's ice cream factory in Waterbury, Vermont. During that same decade, Ron and his twin brother Arnie built their Earth's Best Baby Food factory in Middlebury, Vermont. 

Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream and Earth's Best Baby Food became success stories. Earth's Best has since provided organic, healthy food to millions of babies, and Ben & Jerry’s has evolved to become a subsidiary of the Anglo-Dutch Unilever conglomerate with international distribution.

And now, to take the story full circle, Ron and Arnie Koss are working on a “healthier-for-you” ice cream called Brio, a word of Italian origin that is defined as enthusiastic vigor, vivacity and verve. In the parlance of ice cream lovers, it translates to rich and creamy like super-premium brands – but with some important differences. Brio is nutrient-rich while containing 50% less fat and 20% fewer calories than comparable flavors of super premium brands.

"Our goal was to transform ice cream into a healthier food choice," said Ron. "Rich, creamy ice cream is one of life's pleasures. Our vision was an ice cream that would delight your taste buds, just like the super-premium brands do – and also be good to the rest of your body."

The Koss brothers assembled a team of talented flavor developers (who, as it happened, had formerly worked for Ben & Jerry's) along with nutritionists and dietitians. Among their tasty creations, available in 14-ounce pints and recently introduced 3.6-ounce single-serve containers, are five offerings: Tropical Mango, Coffee Latte, Spring Strawberry, Mellow Dark Chocolate and Vanilla Caramel.

brio ice cream

Brio contains no artificial sweeteners, flavors or colors. The range is made with fresh whole milk from Wisconsin dairy farms, and it's 100% rBST-free. From Madagascar vanilla and organic sea salt caramel to real cocoa and coffee, strawberries and Alphonso mango, all ingredients are non-GMO and certified gluten-free as well as kosher. 

"Brio is an upgrade from ordinary ice cream; it lets you forget the regret," said Arnie.

A serving has just 160 to 170 calories, which amounts to 25 percent fewer than comparable super-premium offerings. And there’s half the total fat and 65 percent less saturated fat and cholesterol.

Each offering in the line has only 17 to19 grams of sugar per four-ounce serving, which is less than one would find in many fruit-flavored yogurts. A low-glycemic sweetener blend delivers sustained energy, while no alcohol, erythritol or monk fruit are used in the recipes.

"We like to call Brio 'ice cream with benefits,' for all the ways it helps nourish your body," said Ron. 

Protein-conscious consumers will appreciate the six grams of protein from the whole milk and whey that are found in every serving. Brio is also rich in calcium, magnesium and vitamin D.

And in an era when people are realizing that "healthy fats" are a smarter choice than "no fat," Brio offers an optimal balance of Omega 3-6-9s, which help consumers absorb fat-soluble nutrients.

In all, Brio has 24 essential micronutrients and is antioxidant-rich. A serving also includes two grams of prebiotic fiber.