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UCLA Anderson Professor Andres Terech Talks Halo Top Success In LA Times

ucla halo top

Halo Top, the healthier alternative to standard ice cream, has ousted Ben & Jerry’s and Haagen-Dazs, and is now the number one selling ice cream pint in grocery stores. In an interview with the LA Times from Ronald White, UCLA Anderson School of Management professor Andres Terech spoke on whether Halo Top’s model is sustainable.

Halo Top’s founder, Justin Woolverton, another UCLA graduate, perfected the ice cream recipe in his kitchen with a $20 ice cream maker. Woolverton was working as a lawyer at Latham & Watkins when he started experimenting in the kitchen to create an ice cream that would fit into his diet. After establishing Halo Top, Woolverton got the product into Whole Foods and a few other chains via cold-calling.

“It took me a year to figure out how to really make ice cream. I had a good $150,000 in credit cards just to rack up. I mean, it was headfirst. It was a risk,” Woolverton said.

Woolverton’s team does not work in traditional offices, but rather a co-working space in the Fairfax District of LA. The team members generally do the bulk of their work from home. They alternate between getting together at the co-working space and communicating electronically. According to Cal State Northridge Professor and Interim Dean, Deborah Cours, the team’s technique is to outsource production and distribution so that they can focus solely on brand strategy. In this way, Halo Top’s success is widely considered a testament to building a strong brand.

Halo Top has also been in the news lately because of its completely bizarre Kubrick-esque commercial, which is both the year’s most frightening ad as well as its best.

Andres Terech, however, foresaw some issues with the Halo Top strategy. Terech says that, “there is an inflection point where having things under one roof and unique policies become more efficient.”

Terech received his Ph.D. in marketing from Anderson in 2004. His work on branding, pricing, and retail has appeared in publications like Case Research Journal and Harvard Business Review.

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