|The name Häagen-Dazs is simply two made-up words meant to look Scandinavian to American eyes—although in fact, the digraphs “äa” and “zs” are not part of any native words in any of the Scandinavian languages. This practice is known in the marketing industry as foreign branding. Mattus thought that Denmark was known for its dairy products and had a positive image in the U.S. He included an outline map of Denmark on early labels, as well as the name of Copenhagen. His daughter Doris Hurley reported in the PBS documentary An Ice Cream Show (1999) that her father sat at the kitchen table for hours saying nonsensical words until he came up with a combination he liked. The reason he chose this method was so that the name would be unique and original.|
Reuben Mattus, a young entrepreneur with a passion for quality and a vision for creating the finest ice cream, worked in his mother’s ice cream business selling fruit ice and ice cream pops from a horse drawn wagon in the bustling streets of the Bronx, New York. To produce the finest ice cream available, he insisted on using only the finest, purest ingredients.
The family business prospered throughout the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s. By 1960, Mr. Mattus, supported by his wife Rose, decided to form a new company dedicated to his ice cream vision. He called his new brand Häagen-Dazs, to convey an aura of the old-world traditions and craftsmanship to which he remained dedicated.
Häagen-Dazs started out with only three flavors: vanilla, chocolate and coffee. But Mr. Mattus’ passion for quality soon took him to the four corners of the globe. His unique ice cream recipes included dark chocolate from Belgium and hand picked vanilla beans from Madagascar, creating distinctive and indulgent taste experiences.
The Häagen-Dazs brand quickly developed a loyal following. Its early success was created by word of mouth and praise. Without the benefit of advertising the story of an incredibly rich and creamy confection spread rapidly. At first, it was only available at gourmet shops in New York City, but soon distribution expanded throughout the east coast of the U.S., and by 1973 Häagen-Dazs® products were enjoyed by discerning customers throughout the United States. Then in 1976, Mr. Mattus’ daughter Doris opened the first Häagen-Dazs® shop. It was an immediate success, and its popularity led to a rapid expansion of Häagen-Dazs shops across the country.
In 1983 Mr. Mattus agreed to sell Häagen-Dazs to The Pillsbury Company, which remained committed to the tradition of superior quality and innovation on which Häagen-Dazs was founded. Since then, it has become a global phenomenon, available in 50 countries. But the same careful attention to quality that Reuben Mattus built into every Häagen-Dazs® product, remains today. Ice Cream lovers the world over now recognize the unique Häagen-Dazs logo as synonymous with the ultimate super-premium ice cream.
Since the beginning, Häagen-Dazs has sought to innovate and bring new frozen dessert experiences to its customers, including distinctive flavors such as Vanilla Swiss Almond, Butter Pecan and Dulce de Leche to name just a few. Häagen-Dazs was also the first to introduce the world to ice cream bars for a grown up palate, with the introduction of the Häagen-Dazs® ice cream bar line in 1986. Other super premium innovations followed, with Frozen Yogurt in 1991 and Sorbet in 1993.
To this day, Häagen-Dazs remains committed to developing exceptional new super premium frozen dessert experiences, releasing new flavors every year.