Haagen Dasz

60 Years After Its Founding, Häagen Dazs Remains a Beloved Treat

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!
October 16, 2020
8 mins read

On June 1, the American ice cream brand Häagen Dazs, created by Reuben and Rose Mattus, celebrated 60 years of serving happy and satisfied customers. To celebrate, they released their Birthday Cake flavor: “Vanilla cake batter ice cream, classic yellow cake pieces with a chocolatey brownie frosting swirl and rainbow birthday sprinkles.”

Available at all of their stores, it was served in a choice of cup, cone, sundae or even a pint to go home. For customers who were unable to participate, Häagen Dazs also rebranded the cover of all of their ice cream tubs to look more celebratory for this one-time event.

The Story Behind It

When Reuben Mattus was 10 years old, he worked for his uncle selling lemon ice treats with his mom and eventually expanded it into a family-run business called Senator Frozen Products selling ice pops and chocolate-covered ice cream bars.

Thirty years later, Reuben and his wife, Rose, decided to start their own company. Reuben believed the previous name was partly the reason for his failure, and Reuben Mattus and Rose Mattus figured that having a foreign name would help sell their uniquely crafted ice cream. To give their brand a foreign twist, they decided to incorporate Dutch, as they were both drawn to the language’s charisma.


In 1960, Reuben Mattus made up the name Häagen Dazs and the couple embarked on their decadent journey in the Bronx, New York. When he began, he saw other companies that were cutting corners and pumping air into their ice cream, so he decided to take the smarter route and start his business on a sturdier base. He started with three simple flavors — vanilla, chocolate and coffee.

Reuben Mattus’ vanilla ice cream, enhanced by the flavors of Madagascar vanilla, contained hints of vanilla bean giving an exotic and elegant taste. The chocolate ice cream, made from the perfect ratio of “the finest cocoa and pure, sweet cream,” provided a delicious spoonful and left a deep and decadent aftertaste. The coffee ice cream, my personal favorite, was captivated by the essence of perfectly brewed Brazilian coffee beans and had a complex, creamy flavor.

After 36 years of searching, Reuben Mattus found the sweet ingredient that would introduce his next favorite flavor: strawberry. Six years after that, Reuben Mattus confirmed that he had found the juiciest red berry that would capture the hearts of customers all around America.

After that, Häagen Dazs’ popularity started to grow when their daughter started the first store in Brooklyn Heights, New York, in 1976. Later, they rocketed forward as Reuben and Rose Mattus introduced ice cream bars in 1986, immensely increasing the ir number of fans; it was soon followed by the creation of a frozen yogurt line in 1991 and a sorbet line in 1993.

Two years after finding his delicious star flavor, strawberry, Reuben Mattus was ready to bring in his next big hit, dulce de leche. Introduced first in South America, dulce de leche released its rich flavors, thick and creamy features and smooth finishing touch: “Inspired by Latin America’s treasured dessert, [the] ice cream is a delicious combination of caramel and sweet cream, swirled with ribbons of golden caramel.”

In 2013, Häagen Dazs became interested in different ice cream techniques and decided to start making their own line of gelato. The line contained seven flavors, including sea salt caramel and black cherry amaretto. It was called “La Dolce Vita.” The ice cream maker said that he hoped it would “transport consumers to Italy with every spoonful.”

After that, Häagen Dazs started distancing itself from products that contained genetically modified organisms. Today there are many flavors labeled non-GMO, including vanilla, chocolate chip, coffee, strawberry, pineapple coconut and more.

The Cherry on Top

Today Häagen Dazs is one of the most popular ice cream brands. Even as old as Häagen Dazs is, it has not failed to follow the recent trends and the requests of its customers. They have also included the Heaven Collection for people on diets, the Trio Series for ice cream fanatics and the Spirits Collection for alcohol drinkers. They’ve also provided flavors that do not contain milk for customers who are lactose intolerant.

The Heaven Collection is an array of flavors that are light yet just as creamy and contain less sugar and have fewer calories. The trick is “ultra-filtered milk, which delivers the famous Häagen Dazs texture and taste you know and love, but with the added satisfaction of 33% fewer calories and 25% less sugar.” The flavors available are Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel, Cold Brew Espresso Chip, Peanut Butter Chip and Strawberry Waffle Cone.

The Trio series, also known as the Trio Crispy Layers Collection, contains a selection of combinations that offer “an extraordinary combination of tastes and textures.” The flavors are Coconut Caramel Chocolate, Coffee Vanilla Chocolate, Lemon Raspberry White Chocolate, Salted Caramel Chocolate, Triple Chocolate, Vanilla Blackberry Chocolate and Vanilla Caramel White Chocolate.

And who doesn’t love a stress reliever? Häagen Dazs offers some of that stress-relieving antidote in their ice cream. For those who find relief in alcohol, Häagen Dazs has flavors infused with various drinks like amaretto, bourbon, Irish cream, rum and whiskey. There are also those that are stressed by ice cream itself, leaving them with an upset stomach. Don’t stress, however, because Häagen Dazs also has non-dairy options for those who are lactose intolerant. There are many flavors including Chocolate Salted Fudge Truffle, Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge and Raspberry and Mango Sorbet.

As one of America’s most financially successful ice cream companies, Häagen Dazs is rising by the day. Based on the U.S. Census data and Simmons National Consumer Survey, about 42.07 million out of 52.2 million Americans eat at least a spoonful of Häagen Dazs in a month. With that, we can say that Häagen Dazs, one of America’s biggest indulgences, is here to stay.

Laura Song, Biola University

Writer Profile

Laura Song

Biola University
Journalism and Integrated Media

Hello, my name is Laura and I am a junior at Biola University. As a child, I enjoyed reading Highlights’ magazines and that is when I became interested in writing. I am passionate about my writing and plan to continue writing after graduating.

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