Jude's low-cal ice cream Minis

Each Mini is sweetened with stevia and erythritol and contains 95kcal or less

Fast-growing Jude’s is to make its debut in handheld to cash in on the healthier ice cream craze – in a category first, according to the family-run brand.

It will roll out its reduced-calorie Minis on 11 March exclusively to Sainsbury’s in a mixed multipack of Belgian Milk Chocolate, Belgian Milk Chocolate & Almond and Belgian White Chocolate (rsp: £4.50/6x50ml). Each is made with Jude’s vanilla bean ice cream sweetened with stevia and erythritol, and contains no more than 95kcal per serving (190kcals per 100ml).

The Hampshire brand would be the UK’s first to offer healthier handheld ice cream, claimed its MD, Chow Mezger. “We’ve witnessed the growing demand from consumers nationwide for lower-calorie ice cream that tastes delicious.”

Read more: Ben & Jerry’s doubles lower-calorie Moo-phoria range

Minis comes after Jude’s joined its category’s better-for-you ice cream trend in September with the introduction of four lower-calorie tubs promising between 64kcals and 78kcals per 100ml. In the same month, the brand reached a value in grocery of £2.8m, having added 46.7% after the hottest summer in 42 years [Nielsen 52 w/e 8 September 2018].

Last year, lower-calorie ice cream “generated much excitement for consumers” as the likes of Halo Top and Breyers Delights entered the category, said Kantar Worldpanel analyst Isabel Zakers. By early November, the two brands between them had been bought by almost 380,000 households.

“As well as targeting new shoppers, both brands are priced at a premium, which has helped to drive value into the market further,” Zakers added.

In depth: is low cal the new ice cream hero?