When patented innovation meets addressable opportunity, the outcome is often positive. It’s one of the reasons that Beckon co-founders Gwen Burlingame and Katy Flannery launched their brand of lactose-free ice cream, and why they continue to see a long runway for growth.
Initially entering stores in 2015 under the name “Minus the Moo,” Beckon products are made via a proprietary process using a base of six ingredients including fresh milk and cream, and contain no gums, stabilizers or artificial ingredients. Promoted as “unbelievably delicious and surprisingly lactose-free,” the ice cream is sold in a variety of flavors and formats, including pints, quarts and a recently launched line of snack cups. Beckon is positioned to reach the 25% of Americans — and growing — who are lactose-intolerant, a percentage that is three-times that of the gluten-intolerant population, according to the company.
Available nationally at Whole Foods and Sprouts, Beckon is now making in-roads at conventional grocery store chains and preparing for a significant distribution expansion in 2022. While its current road map looks bright, the company has had to navigate a variety of challenges to get to this point, including executing a complex rebrand and dealing with the sustained lack of investment in female-owned CPG brands.
In an interview featured in this episode, Burlingame and Flannery discussed those pain points, the brand’s origins and how they identified and sought to meet the needs of an underserved lactose-free community. They also explained why respect and humility were keys to a successful brand revamp and why the entrepreneurs are encouraging industry professionals to get mad when presented with a shocking statistic.
In this Episode
|0:39: Interview: Gwen Burlingame and Katy Flannery, Co-Founders, Beckon Ice Cream — After a brief chat about similar sounding words and names (including those of actors Christian Bale and Kristen Bell), Flannery explained to Taste Radio editor Ray Latif why her former job will also be her toughest and Burlingame spoke about why they operate “beginning with the end in mind.” The founders also recounted their days selling Beckon at local farmers markets and what they learned from early customers of the brand, their methodical retail strategy and the evolution of their pitch to buyers and how Burlingame convinced Flannery that Beckon needed a major rebrand. Later, they expressed their frustration about the decades-long problem of female-owned businesses being undercapitalized and why vendor and retail programs that support female-led companies are sometimes less accessible than they seem.|
Beckon Ice Cream, Ben & Jerry’s