Haagen-Dazs is the world's best-known super-premium ice cream, but has come under pressure from the rapid growth of premium private label competitors and a shift away by consumers from high-fat food products. It effectively invented the category of luxury ice cream for adults. Before its creation, ice cream was almost always cheaply produced and cheap to buy, largely targeted at a family or kids' market. Haagen-Dazs ushered in a new age in which ice cream could be exclusive, prestigious, sophisticated and even sexy. It remains the best-selling brand in the super-premium segment despite stiff competition from other players, most notably Ben & Jerry's. Sales of both brands were affected in the 2000s by concerns over healthy eating and Haagen-Dazs' high calorific content. That prompted the launch of several low-fat variants. The ice cream is available in around 90 countries worldwide. Ownership is effectively split between General Mills and Nestlé. Although the brand is actually wholly owned by General Mills, Nestlé acquired an exclusive long-term license to manufacture and distribute Haagen-Dazs in its biggest market by far, North America in 2001, and performance there improved significantly during the course of the following decade. More recently, though, all traditional ice cream brands have come under intense pressure from low-calorie competitors, especially market disrupter Halo Top. At the end of 2019, Nestlé agreed to transfer ownership of its US ice cream operations, including Haagen-Dazs, into Froneri, an existing joint venture with private equity investor PAI Partners which has gradually taken control of the Swiss group's ice cream operations in various markets around the globe. Outside North America, General Mills also operates a chain of around 880 Haagen-Dazs ice cream parlours spread across 50 countries. In Japan, Haagen-Dazs is managed by a local joint venture with Suntory and Takanashi Dairy Co. Combined worldwide brand sales were estimated by Euromonitor at almost $2.1bn in 2015, putting it in second place behind Magnum among the world's top-selling ice cream brands. General Mills declared its own share of sales from super-premium ice cream to be $820m in fiscal 2020, with another $422m from its joint venture in Japan. Jennifer Jorgensen is VP & global brand director for Haagen-Dazs at General Mills.
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